Another amazing month!
At the very beginning of the month we drove up for a fun trip to Pennsylvania. Kenzy has been really excited about running so we signed up to run the Color Mania Run with Mandy and Betsy! It was Mandy's idea to make a team name in honor of Zachary. We called ourselves, Zachary's Blue Angels.
On the morning of October 12th we ran another 5k with my friend Colleen. We decided to sign up to run a race with her and her boys because she's doing her special Remembering Zachary running project. Due to the weather the race was cancelled, but we got up early and ran anyway. If you know me you know that running is not my thing. What pushes me to do it is Kenzy and Zachary. Kenzy is great at it and loves it so I want to run to support her. However Zachary is what keeps me pushing forward while I run. I don't want to give up for him. I know getting up to run was the last thing I wanted to do, but while we were running I was so happy and proud. I had a moment where I looked back at all of us, Colleen and her boys, and Kenzy and I, and I smiled. We were out there running to Remember Zach.
Later in the day was the Remembering Zachary Benefit Concert. To say it was amazing is an understatement. I cannot put into words how thankful I am to Cathy for organizing such a memorable and beautiful event. My family was so excited for this day. Liam woke up the morning of the concert and he got dressed immediately! He picked his nicest shirt and told me that he wanted to wear it so he would look his best for his big brother, Zachary. Kenzy also picked out her blue dress. I love how my family wore their blue to support our little angel.
When we arrived at the concert, we helped set up. I brought pictures and displays that have been made for Zachary. It was very touching to see his things laid out. It was sinking in that this day especially for him. It's hard to explain just how I felt. My life is forever changed because he's not here with us as each day passes, however I was given the best gift. I was able to have a day that was just for him. A day to celebrate his life and raise awareness in his memory.
I know there was this unspoken nervousness that we all felt. So much planning and practice went into this day. I know Cathy and I wanted it to be perfect for Zachary. We had no idea how many people would show up. As the time approached, my heart smiled as I saw more and more people come through the church doors. I wish it was something that every single family member and every single friend of mine would have been able to see.
As the concert started I sat there with my family and my best friend Mandy. I had the tissues ready. From the very first note to the very last note I was awe struck. The amount of talent that each performer had within them was remarkable. Some songs were sung by the whole group, some as a duo and some solo. Each song was more beautiful than the next. There were two in particular that brought me to tears. One was sung by Ashly. She sang You Raise me Up, by Josh Groban. WOW. Everyone makes connections to songs differently and we all picture different moments in our lives. Music has always been a release to me. When Ashly sang this song I cried tears of sadness and joy. I know that my little man is gone from my arms but he will never be gone from my heart and our lives. I know that strength I have within me is because of him. I want to be great at everything because I want him to point down from heaven and say, "That's my Mom!"
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.
The other song that got me was Somewhere Over the Rainbow. It was played on the piano and sung by such a talented guy. This song reminds me of being young and happy. When I see rainbows in the sky I think of my Zachary. I always stop for a moment and smile and imagine he's sent it for us to enjoy.
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
Really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
Away above the chimney tops,
That's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?
After the concert was over, Cathy and I were so very excited to pass out gifts that were made especially for this day. Thanks to Nunzi Allegrucci and Gene Talerico, we had beautiful shirts made with the Marley's Mission logo on the back and Remembering Zachary on the front. There are two things that I will cherish about these shirts! First it was seeing Zachary's name and Marley's Mission tied together. I love my friends at the Mission and I am always grateful when I see how Zachary and I are connected to them. The other thing that I loved was that the hand-print that was printed on the front of the t-shirt was Zachary's actual print. I knew when he passed away that I needed to have his print. It is one of the last physical things I have from him. It makes me so happy to know how many times we have been able to incorporate his print into the special things we do. It's a physical piece of Zachary that was with us on that day.
One of my favorite moments was when a young girl ran up to me after the performance and she gave me the biggest hug. I didn't know her, but it was a very special moment. I love seeing how Zachary continues to touch lives.
I am so thankful to all of my friends who were able to attend. Having your support means so much to me. I wish I knew every single person who was there so I could say another very big thank you for being a part of this memorable day.
Thank you a million times more Cathy for doing this for me, for Zachary and for my family. Plus the most exciting news was that this benefit concert raised a little over $1,300 for Marley's Mission!! How incredible!
In other amazing news, I became a God mother this month! One of my dear friends had a baby on October 18th. Well he didn't but his wife, Debi did. :) They surprised me a few weeks before he was born and told me that one of his middle names was going to be Zachary, after my little man. Kieran Padden Zachary Brown. What a gift! Never expected that! What was even more amazing was the package that arrived in the mail that afternoon. I got a special little onsie that asked me to be Kieran's God mother! Tears. I was beyond excited to call and accept. I cannot wait to meet this sweet little guy and hold him. I already love him to bits.
Another special treat came at the end of the month! A great friend of mine sent me a picture of her son from his football practice. He played his last game of the season and painted on his face was the letter "Z"!! Ben and Zachary would have been great friends, I just know it. Ben is a year younger than what Zachary would have been. It is endearing to see someone so young remember by Meatball. He wore the letter on his face and said he played the game for him. Like Ben's mom said, there's more to life than winning. Ben's team didn't win that game, but playing for him was what counted!
In other updates, Elisa reached out to me and asked me for some book titles that we love. I love how she's choosing to remember Zachary. She said how much she loves to read books to her children, so this project is very meaningful to her. I am looking forward to continuing to follow along and hear about the updates along the way. :)
As I've always said, I cannot wait to see what the next few months hold! Karen, my sister in law, let me know that she's got an idea, but she doesn't want to tell me just yet! Can't wait to find out. Such a great year!
<3 Zachary's Mom
Click on the picture to view other pictures from this month