I’ll Be Seeing You

As one year turns to another, it seems appropriate to post this song. It has been sung by many artists including Frank Sinatra, Kate Smith, Michael Buble’ and Billie Holiday. This one by Jimmy Durante is one of my favorites. It speaks to the wistful longing of missing someone who is no longer here.

Jason, I will never stop missing you…today and every day…You are in my heart and in my thoughts always. I love you, my precious boy.

~Mom

 

I’ll be seeing you
In all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through

In that small cafe
The park across the way
The children’s carousel
The chestnut trees, the wishin’ well

I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In every thing that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way

I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you

I’ll see you in that small cafe
The park across the way
The children’s carousel
The chestnut trees, the wishin’ well

I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In every thing that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you

I’ll be seeing you
I’ll be seeing you

https://genius.com/Jimmy-durante-ill-be-seeing-you-lyrics

 

© 2017 Rebecca R. Carney

Reflections on a New Year

There are specific times of the year when I find myself thinking, “I can’t believe I’m facing another year without Jason.” Each of them has the significance of marking the milestone of another completed year. Jason’s birthday is one of them – he would have been 30 years old this year (though in my mind he will forever be 19). March 3rd is another (it’s coming up on 10 years since Jason died), as is the time period surrounding and including Christmas and New Year’s Day. I can’t believe Jason has been gone 10 years, that I have somehow managed to live my life for 10 years without him. I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think I could survive such a loss.

I can only imagine what Jason would have accomplished in the past 10 years had he not died. I can only imagine that he would have fallen in love, married, and had children. I can imagine that he would have… But that’s all I have – whatever I can imagine. I know he would have done things well, to the best of his ability, and that he would have made a difference in this world. It was in his character; it was who he was. He was such a gift to me and made a difference in my world every day. I miss my boy.

My process, as 2011 turns into 2012, has been to look back over the past 10 years since Jason died and ask myself these questions: Have I grieved well? What have I done that is noteworthy? What progress have I made? What could I have done differently? Would Jason be proud of me?

I guess I can’t really say that I have grieved “well” – if there is such a thing. I picture “grieving well” as forward progress over an acceptable amount of time. There have been too many other losses besides Jason’s death (friends, house, home, mom, moving multiple times, etc.) and too many complications to say that I have grieved particularly “well.” I have made forward progress, but it has been a difficult and circuitous route with many obstacles. Just when I felt I was reaching the possibility of a “new normal” or a more solid ground, I found that the earth was moving once again…and again..and pieces I thought were in place were knocked out. These earth-moving events or circumstances put me back to a place where I had to begin again in many areas. They created more wounds and scars. Although I hate labels, I would have to acknowledge that too many changes and events have made my grief somewhat “complicated.” There are many things that I wish had been different or that I had done differently. They are history, though, and something can always be learned from history.

On the other hand, I think that there can be an artificial expectation or standard of “grief journey” or “grieving well” that others (or we, ourselves) think we should live up to or attain – a path of progress from “crushed” to “back to normal” we should walk at a certain pace or within a certain time frame. We are expected to “grieve well” – to take our heartbreak and over time turn it into a success story. We are expected to recover quickly, to be strong, and to triumph over tragedy. I think this may be particularly true in the community of faith – it seems Christians who don’t bounce back quickly enough (suffice it to say I had very little “bounce” in me 🙂 ) are judged to be lacking in faith/trust or to have a problem in their relationship with God.

Have you ever noticed that most books and movies concerning grief are of the “tragedy to triumph” variety? Either that or they are analytical in nature. Those who struggle for a “longer-than-deemed-necessary” period of time with grief (for varying reasons) rarely write a book or talk publicly about it – no one wants to read it. We all like success stories. We want to BE one of the success stories.

I know this about myself – I have high expectations and I am hard on myself. I am learning that grief is whatever it happens to be for each person. It is affected by support or lack of support. It is affected by other losses and many other things along the way. Where I am now is where I am. I am who I am. I have walked through the experiences I have walked through, and they have made me who I am. The question is: What do I do about it now?

As I look forward into 2012 and beyond, I want to take what I have learned and experienced, and do something positive with it. I want Jason to be proud of me. I want to live a meaningful, purposeful life. I want to make a difference and I want to do the best possible job of it. I haven’t quite figured out how best to go about that. I have an idea that has been germinating in my heart for many years – a resource to help bereaved parents – but I don’t know how or when to get it up and running. I feel that it’s nearing time to take a giant step forward. (If you are of the praying variety, I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I contemplate this project.)

Anyway, enough reflections. I wish you all a Happy New Year. May your year be filled with the peace of God, may you feel His comforting presence close. May your journey be accompanied by those who stay by your side as long as needed and apply the salve of love and kindness to your heart and life.

 

© 2012 Rebecca R. Carney

Caution! Rough sea ahead!

I can feel it starting – that restless feeling, that vague agitation that seems to rise from the depths about this time every year.

This is a hard time of year for me. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. They march toward me in rapid, unrelenting succession. Jason loved doing fun things on Halloween. Carving pumpkins. Christmas surprises. Thanksgiving and Christmas were fun, family holidays. Traditions. Hearth, home, family. So much has changed.

All holidays and “event” days (such as birthdays, March 3rd, etc.), to some degree,  can trouble the water on which my boat of life sails and rock my boat in ways I may not expect. I used to feel like the waves of emotion and longing would capsize or sink my fragile little boat out there on the huge sea of grief. The waves aren’t as high and scary as they used to be, and I’ve learned to recognize why my boat is rocking and try to roll with the waves until smoother seas prevail. I’ve learned, however, that the potential for rough seas continues to lurk not too far below the surface.

When I was in junior high, our school had a living biology lab (pond included) out in back of the school that was surrounded by brand-new barbed wire. The site had a stile over the fence on the far right-hand side that we were supposed to use for access. Most kids, though, would separate the two rows of barbed wire and climb through at the most convenient location. The first time I climbed through the fence, as someone held the two rows apart for me, I didn’t get my left leg quite high enough and a barb on the lower wire sliced my left knee open diagonally from one side to the other. I ended up having nine stitches and still have a large, prominent scar on my knee cap. I also ended up being used as an example to the entire school of why we are supposed to obey school rules.

It surprises me that, even thirty-something years later, my left knee is still much more sensitive than my other one. When I bump it a good one, I cringe from the pain. It hurts! People notice the ugly scar; little kids ask what happened.

That’s similar to what happens the first time I see the Christmas displays go up in stores each year. I feel like someone just walked up and thumped me in the chest right where my broken heart resides. It hurts! It brings tears to my eyes. It brings front and center – smacks me right in my face – how much I miss Jason, all the things that were, and the things that might have been. All the things that could have been, should have been.

I take a deep breath and take a minute to recognize where my reaction is coming from. Sometimes just the recognition of why I hurt helps. Sometimes I have to leave the store and come back another time. Sometimes I just miss Jason too much to keep on shopping or going on like nothing happened. I need to stop, recognize what’s going on, and take time to think about Jason. Sometimes I need to cry. I need to take time to pay attention and carefully navigate the rough sea I’m on.

The impending approach of the ten year anniversary of Jason’s and Alina’s deaths, in addition to the approaching holidays, seems to be making me more reflective and emotional than usual. It looks huge to me. Ten years. How can it have been ten years? How can I have lived ten years without my precious boy? Have I lived them well? Have I made a difference? Have people forgotten him? Have I honored his memory adequately? Would he be proud of me? What can I do that’s meaningful to signify the loss that day represents? What can I do to bring something good and meaningful out of this terrible tragedy?

All I can do is the best that I can do. I’m taking the time now to realize there might be rough seas ahead and to think about how to navigate them to the best of my ability with the resources I have.

© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney

New Year’s Day

From my journal dated January 1, 2003:

New Year’s Day. A new year. A new day. The days all just run together for me. For me right now, they’re just another day without Jason.

My sister went home yesterday. I hope she had a good time. Joe and Doris always have such a good time together, and I’m very glad. They’ve been friends since I first met Joe. I told Jenna the other day how Joe used to call her Dorie Dew Drop and she’d call him Joey Baby. Seems like such a long time ago.

I know that she’s been really frustrated with me. I don’t know what she expected – probably that we would connect or relate as we once used to. Doris said something along the line that she missed Jason, but she felt like she was losing me, too. I don’t know what more I can do. Honestly, I just don’t have the energy.

I can see where she’s coming from. She really wanted to make sure I was okay. She wanted me to open up and talk to her. But I just can’t right now. I love her so much – but she can be such a poker and prodder. She always has a solution she wants to share. She wants to tinker around and “fix” me, fix things. Some things just can’t be fixed.

I don’t want anyone to poke or prod me or try to fix me. I feel like I need to guard my broken heart. I don’t want to fall apart. I’m afraid I can’t pull it back together again. I’m just weary. I don’t really want to feel very much; it hurts too much. I don’t want to go back and talk about everything we’ve walked through this past year; it takes too much energy. I just want her to accept me where I am, how I am. I can’t live up to someone else’s expectations. All I can do right now is one step at a time, one day at a time.

I’m just dreading life now that Doris is gone, though. It was good to have someone who really cared about us for a change, someone who wanted to be with us and do things with us. We don’t have anyone now. I am not looking forward to this empty year, this empty life. I feel like I don’t have anything to look forward to. What do I look forward to? March 3rd? The trial? An empty summer? Jason’s 21st birthday? It just looks like a very black year to me.

© 2011 Rebecca R. Carney