Another year separates us, my love. Obviously the worst part of grief is not having you here with us. Having accepted that because I had no choice, a close second is a fading memory. There are days that you're so far away that what I remember feels like I only remember because I've written it or already spoken it. There's nothing new anymore and there hasn't been for a long time. My recollection of you comes from photographs I have. I wish there was a way to have more. All I am left with to do is make sure to keep you an active part of my life, so you're always here with us.
We recently watched, Disney's Coco. It was all about family and remembering and celebrating those who have passed on. One of the characters moved on from the land of the dead because there was no one from the living world to remember him. The theory is, you die for good when there's nobody left to carry on your memory. It was such a sad thought and it made me think of you. As long as I am here, I will always remember you and carry on your story. I don't want you to ever be forgotten.
Every year, around this time, I am heavily reminded that you're not forgotten. I am often humbled by the love and generosity of my friends, family and even my students. Right after your birthday, a few of my former kiddos stopped by to let me know that they care and that they were celebrating you. I was given beautiful cards, donations, cake, a painting, flowers and they all wore the color blue for you.
Hayley, my friend's daughter, decided to hold a book drive in your honor. She collected a lot of books, that will all be stickered with a remembering Zachary message to help carry on your legacy and spread awareness of child abuse.
Liam even wrote a darling poem and he talked about his big brother in it. It melts my heart and I'm so proud of him. He didn't ever have to meet you to love you. You're an inspiration to us all. You are what drives me to spread awareness in your name. We decorated the Blue Ribbon Tree at my school for the 7th year in a row and we collected nearly $1,000 for Marley's Mission to help give hope to children in need. Then to cap off the month of April, my big-hearted friend, Sheed, decorated the yoga studio with blue and he got us some blue balloons and finished class with a reading of a poem on how to love children.
I am always so touched to receive kind notes, and tearful hugs from people. I appreciate the thoughts, words and prayers. It makes me feel loved and it adds a little bit of fuel to my fire to help me make it though the darker times.
Just last weekend I celebrated a big accomplishment. I graduated college with my Master's Degree in Education (Blended and Online Learning in Schools). Kenzy and Liam both told me how proud they were of me. Kenzy especially showered me with the warmest sentiment. She said she sees me as a role model and she wants to be just like me. I hope I make you just as proud. I want my kids to draw inspiration from me and I want to live up to the title of mom, for all three of you.
So here we are, one year later, and you're just as loved, just as remembered and just as present. I love you more than I can try to fit into words. You and your siblings are why I breathe.