Mother’s Day 2021

I woke up Saturday morning in a funk that I had a hard time shaking for a good part of the day. At first, I didn’t specifically identify it and couldn’t figure out why I was so grumpy. Yeah, you’d think I’d realize by now. Mother’s Day was the next day.

Sometimes the day or days before an “event” – birthday, anniversary of Jason’s death, holiday, Mother’s Day, etc. – are harder than the actual day. Anticipatory grief takes the lead, I think, whether or not we allow ourselves to be consciously aware of the upcoming event. Since Jason died, I just want to skip over Mother’s Day entirely. It just brings up too much pain – pain of wishing I had been a better mother, pain of things that haven’t turned out the way I wish they had, pain of things and times long gone, pain of losing Jason.

I slept horribly on Saturday night. I laid in bed thinking about times when I could have done a better job as a mother, things I wish I had done differently. I woke up on Sunday morning and didn’t want to get out of bed. I stood in the shower and cried. I did the best I could at the time with what I knew at the time, but there are so many things I wish I could do over again, do better.

When I was in fourth grade, I remember our teacher asking us what we’d like to be when we grew up. The only thing I ever wanted to be was a mother, so that was what I said. For some reason, the teacher didn’t think that was an adequate answer and wanted me to think of something else, a “real” profession. Because both of my parents were teachers, that’s what I told him I wanted to be, just to appease his sense of what the “right” answer should be. But all I ever wanted to be was a mother.

My husband took me out to breakfast for Mother’s Day and, as the waitress wished me a Happy Mother’s Day, tears sprang up in my eyes and I could hardly speak. I’m sure she wondered what was wrong with me. She gave me a red rose when we got ready to leave, once again wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day – and once again tears filled my eyes. Roses always remind me of Jason.

My arms long to hug my precious boy. I long to have a close, fun, good relationship with our grandchildren. I long for good relationships with our children’s spouses; it would make things so much easier. I long for joy unshadowed by grief and regrets. I long to be close to family so we don’t feel so alone all the time.

My husband is a wonderful man. We went for a drive in the North Carolina mountains and explored. We talked about Jason and some fun memories of when he was a little boy. We talked about the girl we thought he might marry and how wonderful that would have been. We talked about how much we wanted good things for our kids and how we wish we had the power to make things better for them. We talked about a lot of things, but mostly just got away for the day. We ended the day going to our favorite Thai restaurant and then home to talk to our daughter on the phone and open the gift she had sent me for Mother’s Day. She is also a thoughtful, wonderful person and I love her with my whole heart.

Another Mother’s Day is in the books, and I’m glad it’s behind me. I will forever be thankful that I was given the gift of being Jason’s mom. I will forever miss him and wish he was here. My precious boy.

~Becky

© 2021 Rebecca R. Carney

Wishes…

I look at the pictures of Jason on my Nixplay digital photo as they rotate in the frame that sits right by my desk at work. Oh, how I wish I could go back in time to hug that precious little boy, tickle that cute little guy under his chin and hear his infectious laugh, play a card or board game with my lover of all games, bake chocolate chip cookies with my beautiful boy, sit and watch a movie, just BE together doing anything.

I love looking at the pictures, but some days the pain of his absence is almost too much to bear. Photographs and memories will never take the place of actually spending time with my precious boy.

I love you, my precious boy. I miss you with all my heart.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

My heart is not immune to the pain

IMG_1352After 18 years, you would think the pain would be less. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it’s just not. Some days the pain of Jason’s absence is excruciating. Yesterday was the anniversary of Jason’s death. I woke up in the wee hours of the morning and cried and cried. I went to work with puffy eyes, doing my best to pull myself together and do the best job I could.

For some reason, today has been worse than yesterday. I’ve been on the verge of tears all day. My Nixplay digital photo frame that sits right beside my computer monitor at work shuffles the pictures I have on it. There are pictures taken recently, but there are also pictures of my precious boy. I have recent memories and photos of things we’ve done, but I have no memories and no photos of Jason since March 3, 2002. Pictures are no substitute for the real thing. Pictures of Jason over the years make me miss him so much.  As I said yesterday:

Whatever memories and photographs we have of Jason are the only ones we will ever have. There are no graduation, wedding, birth of children, family or holiday celebrations or any other memories or photographs we will ever have of Jason past the date of March 3, 2002. The opportunity for additional memories and photographs died right along with Jason, along with his future. In our minds, Jason will forever be 19 years old.

Perhaps it’s the awareness that we are approaching the date when Jason’s absence from this earth will be equal to the time he was here on it. I long for the day when I will see him again.

It’s been a really rough year or so for us – my husband’s heart attack, difficult work issues, money issues, health issues, chronic pain issues that I’m dealing with, and more issues than I care to share. I feel an unsettledness in my soul that just won’t go away. I long for something to go right, a break from the constant struggle to keep my head above water and my heart right. I long to lay down in that pleasant pasture beside still waters to just rest for a while. I have no idea where that is or if it even exists. This rough and rocky road I’ve walked on for so long is getting very wearisome and shows no sign of ever ending until I step from this earth to join Jason.

I look at the pictures from when Jason was alive and realize I really had no idea how really great I had it at that time. I had a vague sense that God’s hand of blessing and protection was upon me and my family, but now I feel like I didn’t appreciate to the fullest how wonderful that was until God removed his blessing and protection from me and Jason died. I had no idea the hell we would be required to walk through when Jason died and in the years since then. We’ve had too many days when it’s just a plain struggle to get up in the morning and keep on going.

18 years. Can it really be 18 years?

I miss you, my precious boy, more than words can say.

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~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

 

Longings

Jason David Carney

July 29, 1982 – March 3, 2002

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I wrote this last year and wanted too share it again. 18 years. I can’t believe it’s been 18 years. I miss Jason as much – if not more – than I did on that fateful day he was taken from us, March 3, 2002. My heart breaks with his absence every single day. My arms long to hug him tight. My eyes long to look into his beautiful blue eyes. I long to see his beautiful smile, to hear his musical laughter. Oh, how I miss you, my precious boy.

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March 3, 2019

I’m going to be honest. This is a really rough time of year for me. Tomorrow is the anniversary of Jason’s and Alina’s deaths at the hand of a drunk driver.

“Anniversary” is such an out-of-place word to use when talking about the death of a child. “Anniversary” is usually used in conjunction with a happy occasion. If a person says, “It’s my anniversary,” there is an automatic assumption that that person is celebrating the number of years he or she has been married. It’s a happy occasion commemorated with dinner and gifts and congratulations.

I know people use the word “anniversary” when talking about other things, too, though. 9/11. War events. Floods. Mud slides. Not every anniversary is celebratory.

For the first couple of years, I hated the 3rd of every month, beginning with that first March 3, 2002. It marked a horrifically agonizing, lonely, and excruciatingly painful time – Jason had been gone one month, two months, three months. At the two year mark, I sort of switched to years. Two years, two and a half years, three years. It sort of reminded me of the way I marked the ages of our kids when they were little – giving their ages as so many months and then switching to so many years. Instead of marking the celebration of life, it marked the number of agonizing days we had walked the earth without Jason.

Jason has now been gone 17 years. I can’t believe it’s been that long. It seems like forever ago…and yet yesterday. I still tend to rebel against even the thought of it. I remember that day as clear as a bell, every single thing. My heart is still so broken. I miss him so much. Grief lasts as long as love does – forever – and we will forever have a Jason-sized hole in our lives. He had so much of life to live, so much to give. As one friend said, “The world is a darker place without him in it.”

I hope you will take time to remember Jason and Alina tomorrow, the lives they lived and the people they were. We, their families, are the “keepers of the memories.” I’m sure each and every bereaved mother or father would say that one of their greatest concerns is that their child will be forgotten as the world moves on without them.

If you would like to honor Jason tomorrow, you could play a game of chess (Jason’s favorite game), bake and share some chocolate chip cookies (Jason loved to bake chocolate chip cookies), give someone some flowers (Jason generously gave flowers to those he loved), share an act of kindness (Jason was the most kind and loving person I have ever known), be nice to a stranger (Jason knew no strangers), hug your family and friends tight (Jason gave awesome hugs), listen to Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata or Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “A Mad Russian’s Christmas” or many other songs he loved.

If you are so inclined, you could take time to write down a favorite memory or two to send to Jason’s and Alina’s families. No matter how long or how many years it’s been, we would love to hear them. Our address is 2154 Emma’s Grove Road, Fairview, NC 28730.

Julie Lindsey, a homeschool mom, generously gave and prepared a scrapbook for Marie and me. She asked us what we would like in them. I had asked that the scrapbook contain photos I didn’t have and written memories about Jason from those who knew him. It just happened to be around the time when people were writing victim advocate statements to present to the court for the sentencing of the young man who killed Jason and Alina, so most of the efforts went to writing letters to the court. I am very thankful for those who wrote to the court and have copies of all of those letters. It was a lot to ask for at that time.

Whatever memories and photographs we have of Jason and Alina are the only ones we will ever have. There are no graduation, wedding, birth of children, family or holiday celebrations or any other memories or photographs we will ever have of Jason past the date of March 3, 2002. The opportunity for additional memories and photographs died right along with Jason, along with his future. In our minds, Jason will forever be 19 years old.

Thank you for taking the time to remember Jason and Alina. We appreciate it.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

My Dream

I don’t dream much – or, at the very least, I don’t remember my dreams.

I haven’t dreamed of Jason in a very, very long time, but I dreamed about Jason last night.

I dreamed that Jason came home to visit us from college. I was so ecstatic to see him – beyond ecstatic. I couldn’t stop staring at his face. It was so wonderful to see his face again. He seemed concerned or worried about something, so he wasn’t his usual cheerful, smiley self. In my dream, I was waiting for him to smile his beautiful, sun-shiney smile. I took his face in my hands and just smiled at him for a long time until he didn’t look worried any more. He couldn’t stay long and had to get back to school.

In my dream, I sat down on the floor against the wall after he left and cried and cried. I was so sad that Jason had to leave. I was so sad that our daughter and other son lived so far away from us (which is true in real life). I felt so alone (which is also true in real life).

I woke up crying. I miss my boy so much. I miss his smiling face. I miss everything about him.

~Becky

© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney

When memories are all that are left

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I uploaded this photograph on Monday, Jason’s birthday, as my profile picture on Facebook. Every time I see it, it’s as though he’s looking right at me, ready to reach out and give me a hug. I miss Jason’s hugs. I just want to reach out, pull him close, hug him so tight and never let him go.

The photograph was taken when he was 14. I loved his beautiful, curly hair at this age. He stood right between childhood and manhood, with one foot in each. He would still playfully plop down on my lap as I sat on the couch, yet he still wanted to get a summer job to earn money like a grownup.

I wanted to keep on making memories with this awesome son of ours, but that’s something I will never have a chance to do. Whatever memories I have are all I have left. They will never be enough.

Missing you, precious boy.

Jason David Carney 7/29/82 – 3/3/02

© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney

A picture is worth a thousand words

 

I have written about feeling like an empty box. I have written about how I dreamed about how the weight of grief had made me ugly. I have written about the hole Jason’s absence has created in my life.

As much as I have tried to express in words how grief makes me feel, I have found these images to express so clearly how I have felt on the impossible journey of grief. A picture is truly worth a thousand words. I don’t know how to put into words how much I miss my boy.

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Jason David Carney

July 29, 1982 – March 3, 2002

~Becky

© 2019 Rebecca R. Carney

(I have tried to find photo credit for these much-circulated photos, but have not been able to do so. If you know who took these photos, please let me know so I can give proper credit.)