12 years... roughly 1/3 of my life, Zachary has been gone. We should be together. I should have three kiddos in my arms and I should be listening to him laughing with his siblings. It's wrong. It's not fair. It's tiring. However on the other hand I look at the gifts he's given me. The people I've met because of him, the kind acts that have been done in honor of him. I have always struggled with a divided heart. It's part of grief. I know it's normal, but I hate it.
I want to be honest and share the parts of me that struggle. The past five days I've shared Zachary's story. I'm dedicated to sharing his story so that his legacy continues. 12 years in and I always wonder who is sick of hearing my words. I know there's times that I'm drained and tired of writing them. But then I remind myself that I don't get to be any of those things. I get to carry this grief forever because that's my job. I'm a mom of an angel. The little boy who I was given to protect, I couldn't. My 14 month old baby boy knew what it was like to slowly fade away. Isn't that among our greatest fears? I couldn't stop it, or fix it. So now I get to cry and hurt. Working through the pain as it comes is the least I can do for him and I don't get to complain.
His loss has made me paranoid. I'm afraid to say silly statements like... "I wish my kids would stop growing and stay little forever." I have a 15 year old and a 9 year old who keep getting older and I just want to rewind time. If I say those words though, then I'm afraid it will cause something bad to happen, because I asked for it. It's crazy. I know it is... but I still can't do it.
I get so angry. My heart hurts and feels like it's going to explode. My body still has physical pains from grief.
I have a very hard time trusting anyone. They could be Mother Theresa, I don't care. My senses didn't tell me that anything was wrong in 2005, how can I fully trust them now.
My emotions are all over the place. Sometimes I can cry over the slightest things that bring me right back to the core of my pain, while other times I feel like nothing, just blank. I don't always have the appropriate emotional responses. I wonder in those moments if it's because I've felt it all that I just don't know how to feel anymore.
Sometimes, well more than sometimes, it's hard to have fun. I smile and then I'm reminded Zachary isn't here to smile with me. I laugh and am reminded he's not here to laugh with me. It's unending and it makes it really hard to fit in.
NOTHING I will ever do will give him back to me. I try and always remember him and keep him an active part of my family, but at the end of every amazing thing we accomplish, I still don't get to have him. That feeling is like a dagger to the heart.
I need to control as much as possible in my life. It's very difficult to let things go. I get anxiety over the littlest of things. If my daughter and I go somewhere and my husband and son go somewhere else, I get nervous. What if something happens and I'm not there.
Zachary's loss has made me all sorts of things; nervous, anxious, scared, and helicopter parent to name a few.
I have the most amazing people around me. I love and cherish every single person who has been there to support me and my family. I feel blessed to have people in my life who are always there to help hold me up.
Just in these last few months I can think of so many things that have happened. My beautiful neighbor , Kerri, began her LuLa Roe adventure as a consultant and about 3 1/2 minutes into her business she was already trying to raise awareness for child abuse and remember my son. She "Blued" the block with blue ribbons and pinwheels, collected donations for Marley's Mission, and decorated my house so I'd smile each day. She shared Zachary's story and in turn brought more amazing people into my life. Krystle, someone I've never met, sent me a beautiful card in the mail with a special Jamberry nail set she created called Remembering Zachary. I was also introduced to Hollie, who gave up her time and came to help Kerri with a special fundraiser that would benefit the organization that I love. She's shown me nothing but love and support.
Lauri, a mother of one of my students and a friend who I've had the privilege of working with, found these special pinwheel earring that she had made for me. Grace, my student, and Lauri gave them to me in April so I could wear them and show my awareness for child abuse. <3
Jennifer, another parent of one of my students, reached out and told me that she and her sweet family would be running a race in honor of Zachary for CASA. They called themselves Zachary's Heroes. How can I ever thank people enough for the things they do for me in honor of my Zachary. I couldn't join them this year but I promised that I will be there to run the race with them next year.
My school and students are so supportive. Each April I get to spread awareness at my school through decorating a Blue Ribbon Tree, raising money on a special PJ day and decorating the walls with pinwheels. This year April, from Marley's Mission, and her children came to speak at my school. I love having the opportunity to teach children about showing awareness and giving what you can to support others. On their own, other kiddos decided to raise money to support Marley's Mission by having a lemonade stand or by going door to door handing out flyers and telling the story of the Mission. Some students even made me the sweetest gifts and because they know me so well they are decorated in blue or with blue ribbons. My students absolutely fill my heart!
Laura, my dear friend, sent me a care package for no reason. Just because she's got the biggest heart. The words she wrote in her card meant so much to me. I am thankful for the people who I have in my life. She saw these arrow earrings and knew they had my name written all over them. I wear them and I am filled with hope. Something so simple gives me the power and strength to keep moving.
Jayme, my friend from high school, surprised me with a package. She had seen a magnet of a mommy and baby hippo and she said her heart told her to get it for me. I see it and think of my Zachary. It's stuff like all of this that blows me away. Everyone is so caring and thoughtful.
Then there's my kids. Man, I have the best kids. They agreed to another photoshoot to make me happy for Mother's Day. I have a new picture with all of my babies. They also gave me the sweetest cards. They are so supportive of me and they are never angry about the time we take to love and remember their brother.
I am grateful to have this website and my writing as an outlet. I proudly look back and get to see all of the ways that Zachary has been remembered and how his legacy continues to live on in all of the people who help me spread his story. I don't get to have Zachary, but he has put so many people in my life. There's no way to know what life would look like if he was still here. I wish there was a magic wand that could give me Zachary back and I'd get to keep everything and everyone I have now. Since that doesn't exist, I have to have faith that I am on the right path doing the best I can. When the struggles surface, I do my best to work through them and just keep Marching Forth.
I have so much to be thankful for, but I still miss that little face. Love you Zachary. Sending hugs and kisses to heaven. <3