It has been a while since I last posted.
One of my son's close friends died peacefully in his sleep, at the age of 19, a few weeks ago. He had been born with an undetected, enlarged heart. Zachary was an athlete, a health nut and an advocate for taking care of his planet. He was also one of the most life-loving, passion-driven, amazing young men that you could ever meet. He inspired his friends to grasp life to its fullest and always had a tone of love and happiness in his sweet, sweet voice.
This has been hard for me to cope with on so many levels. My boy is hurting. His freinds are hurting. The family, who we all love and adore, are hurting beyond anything I can remotely comprehend. My heart is aching for everyone around me. In a tribute to Zach, I am using my little blog voice to try to cope with this. Bear with me. I am not a poet. I am not as elequent with words as my son. But I do miss him so and feel I need to voice my thoughts somewhere.
To little Zachary, the child that whizzed into our lives at the age of 10. A whirlwind of smiles and activity. Always moving, always planning, always thinking of ways to grasp life and go.
You ate chili con carne 'til it came out your ears, every day at school lunches. Daniel was amazed. Your Halloween escapades were loved by your friends. What a sight to see our gang of boys in the latest scary costumes of weapons and gore tromping out for a night of trick or treat. And then there was the tobasco incident. Oh, my. You thought it was a good idea to snort it up your nose. I just stood in amazement - how did you ever even think of that? I never knew what would come next with you, Zacky. Unpredictable. Full of so many ideas.
At some point, somehow, you grew up. You left that crazy-fun boy to live in our fondest memories of childhood storytelling. I looked up and you were tall and thin and flying like the wind with the cross-country team, blonde hair flowing freely. You were born to run like that, Zach. This was the "you" you were looking for. We all knew you found your place there. Up in the beautiful Oakland hills, exploring all your capabilities.
I blinked my eyes and my boys were all wearing caps and gowns. Celebrating the end of an era and the excitement of what was to come. I took a moment to tell you all how proud I was of you and how much I loved you. It was a corny-mom moment at Daniels graduation party. I am sure I embarrassed everyone, but I am so glad now that I did it. At least you knew how I felt. I have one last snapshot of my "kids" together for me to remember forever.
Your buddy's trekked the mountains for 3 long weeks in celebration of adulthood, all but you. Following your own dreams, you chose to travel the world. Backpacking across Europe all summer, doing all the things you wanted to do, but always checking in with your boys. You were with them on that mountain, Zach, - in spirit - because they needed you to be there too.
Returning from Europe, you chose to do the trek yourself. Following the John Muir Trail, just as your friends did, taking in the beautiful vistas of the California Mountains, sharing the experience your closest friends had lived. Only, you did it alone. Once again, you amazed us all.
Somewhere in the running, the backpacking, the trekking of your planet you found your biggest passion. You decided to take care of our world. You followed your heart to Kentucky and spent your short college life teaching others to be kind to your precious earth. You touched so many people with your passion. I know there will be many of us that will try harder, better and wiser to love our earth because of you. We vow to look at life differently now. That is your legacy, Zachary. You were here. You did make a difference. You made a difference in all of us. Each moment will be more precious, each mountain more majestic, each raindrop more amazing for all of us that loved you. And I promise to do my part.
I hurt so much inside for everyone that loved you. But selfishly, I hurt too - because you brightened my day every time you walked in my door. Every time you told me how you were with your sweet, thoughtful voice - wearing those crazy kelly green dockers. You were one of the special ones, Zacky, one of the really good ones. I think God must have had bigger plans for you. To be our planets' caretaker. To watch over our earth and bring us hope for better days... That must be it.,, How else can I justify you leaving us for having too big of a heart?