Chris Carney should have been alive to see his son turn 2.
But tragically, he was killed in a car crash on Dec. 4, 2015, along with one of his childhood friends. Chris, a probation officer and former lead singer of the band The Prom Kings, left behind his wife, Disney Channel star Tiffany Thornton, and their sons, Kenneth James "KJ" Carney, 3, and Bentley Cash Carney, 2. In the months since her husband's death, Tiffany has found strength in her faith as she figures out how to live in a world without the love of her life.
Becoming a single mother hasn't been easy for Tiffany, best known for her role as Tawni Hart on Sonny With a Chance and its spinoff, So Random!. On the eve of Bentley's second birthday, for example, she was heartbroken after realizing her "husband/love of my life/best friend in the whole world/confidant/encourager won't be there with us." In fact, Feb. 29 was rough from the get-go. "I just felt 'off' all day, like no matter what I did I couldn't find total peace," she wrote on Instagram. "I know God is the supplier of peace in the midst of storms and I draw all my strength from my belief in Him, but some days are just harder than others and today was one of those days." Tiffany realized it would be "yet another momentous occasion where their daddy will watch from Heaven instead of sitting next to me here on earth. I know Heaven is the best place Chris could possibly be but moments like these really make me wish he was still here."
Tiffany also shed some insight into how she's coping three months after Chris' death. "It feels like I just saw him yesterday, then again it seems the days sometimes drag on in a torturously slow manner. So many of you have told me you are inspired by my strength so I hope that I'm not letting you down with my honesty tonight," she wrote. "It's just been a tough one."
The actress, who relocated from Arkansas to Texas, has found strength in her faith. However, she revealed on March 4 that Chris' death "still doesn't feel real" most days. As she told her Instagram followers, "I try to keep myself busy so that I won't constantly think about how badly I miss him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." Tiffany also recalled some of the things she misses most about Chris, like "the way he prayed, especially when he spoke in tongues," "the sound of his voice when he said, 'I'll love you forever and in Heaven,'" "seeing him cry in church when the sermon spoke to his soul," "his foot massages," "his kisses," "his hugs, especially when I'm feeling down," "the way he sang to the Lord," "cooking for him," "family nights," and other memories.
"Lord, I know you work all things together for good to those who love you. And I do love God, with my whole heart. Even in the moments where I can barely breathe from missing my Christopher, I take a breath and remind myself that God has a plan in all of this," the actress, 30, wrote in her Instagram caption. "And that in the midst of pain He will never leave me."
"Tonight I will do what my husband said: I will pray for peace. Not just for myself but for anyone who has had to endure this type of pain," she wrote. "Remember: it's all part of your testimony."
While Tiffany trusts in God's plan, she still struggles to understand why Chris is no longer with her on Earth. "I would give anything to be able to turn back time and beg you to stay home that night. I will never understand why you had to leave this world so soon," she wrote on Instagram March 9. "35 years old, it just doesn't seem like enough time. What do you do in Heaven? Are you busy all the time? Are you helping Jesus to prepare a place for me? For our boys? Do you get to swoop down and see us often? I have so many questions and my heart aches so deeply for you. This still doesn't feel real. I feel like you are just on some long vacation and I'll be seeing you soon."
Tiffany has found relief through reading Bible verses, particularly Psalm 147:3. "The only solace I find is in searching God's word for comfort," she explained. "I may never have all of the answers to the questions I have but I'll sure be ready to talk God's ear off when I get up there."
The actress isn't going through this tragedy alone, so on March 12, Tiffany recorded a video message for her 193,000 followers. "I just wanted to say hello to all of you guys and say a big thank you for all of your encouraging words and Bible verses and everything that you guys say daily," she said on Instagram. "It really helps in this process of grief, and I just wanted to tell you how thankful I am for you."