Remembering Zachary Project- January


Some days seem to creep by while others fly. January was a little bit of both. Sitting here to write my January reflection, I feel like January passed like a speeding train. However I can think of a few days that I felt like I could hear the second hand ticking on the clock.

Emotions caught up to me this month. After eleven months of doing this project I guess it was bound to happen. Zachary is on the forefront of my mind. He is loved and celebrated even though he’s been gone for almost 9 years.  I’ve learned that grief will forever be an acquaintance of mine. It never goes away. Some days the grief is manageable. It comes in the form of a few tears and a little sadness. I’m very used to this feeling and I’ve come to grips with the fact that it is normal for me, for all grieving parents.  However there are a few days a year that the grief comes on like a collision, a very bad one.  This grief comes in a different package. It’s intense crying, chest hurting, head exploding, heavy breathing and a deep desire to destroy something in hopes that it will help release my pain.

This time it was on and off for an entire day. After cuddles with my husband, phone calls to great friends, lots of talking, heavy sobbing, resting, and a little running… it passed.

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I realize that no mother will ever get over the loss of their child. I also realize that the sadness will always be a part of my every day. I accept that. But I’ve chosen to stand in my grief and embrace it. I don’t want to hide from it, ignore it, or push it back. My tears are love and strength.

I came across a quote this month that I love. It’s perfect. I know that I’m not the best writer. I love when I read a quote or listen to a song and the words resonate.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.
— Washington Irving

Earlier this month I woke up to a very wonderful surprise on Facebook. Sheila and I had just become Facebook friends. I had met her and her son a year ago at Marley’s Mission’s pre-gala party. Timmy, a young boy, was selling his beautiful photography. He went to the Mission and took some pictures. We talked for a little bit and we bought two pictures. The proceeds went to the Mission. Come to find out, he takes pictures all around the Scranton area and when he sells them he always donates the money to different organizations. He has a website called Camera for a Cure. To be that young and to have the desire he has to help others is so special. Well Sheila shared Zachary’s website on her FB page and she said that in honor of Zachary’s 10th birthday, she and Timmy would be making and donating 10 Jared Boxes. I had never heard of this project before. We looked it up and my heart just melted. Jared boxes are small shoebox sized boxes filled with goodies for children who are chronically ill in the hospital. The boxes help bring some joy to children while they are going through such difficult times. It was incredibly thoughtful of them to join in on this project and do something special in Zachary's memory.

As a family we were inspired as well. We like to support the other projects that have come out of the Remembering Zachary Project. We went shopping too. We each grabbed a plastic shoebox and picked out goodies to fill the boxes with. I watched as my kids each thoughtfully picked out toys for their own boxes. Liam chose to buy for a little boy about his age, Kenzy chose a girl a little younger. Bill and I both bought for a boy around Zachary’s age. It was very meaningful for me. I don’t often think of Zachary while I’m shopping for gifts. I imagined what he would like if he was nearly 10 years old. All the boxes are packed and awaiting delivery to our local hospital. We’re so glad we were able to learn about The Jared Box Project and make a few of our own. Thank you Sheila.

In just a few short weeks we will be in Pennsylvania for Marley’s Mission’s Gala. It is an event we look forward to each year. Not just because I get to dress up pretty or because I get to spend the evening with great friends, but because a small part of the night is carved out to honor my son. The Remembering Zachary Award is given to a special individual who is recognized for their passionate effort to bring greater awareness to child abuse. This year the award goes to Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Kathleen Kane. Since being in office she has stepped up to the plate to protect the children of Pennsylvania. Nearly 120 arrests have been made through the enhanced Child Predator Unit, over 5 times the number of arrests from the previous year. It is clear that she is working to make it safer for children in Pennsylvania and it will be an honor to present Zachary’s Award to her. It is humbling to know that Zachary’s Award will be displayed in her office and she will continue to Remember Zachary too.

There’s just one month left in our year long project. It wraps up on Zachary’s 10th Birthday, 3/4/14. We are already starting to plan his birthday and make it an extra special day for him. I’m looking forward to what February holds, there are several amazing projects in the works.