This post has been a couple of weeks in the making. I contemplated not posting it and keeping it private but it is what it is. This is your warning if you don’t want to read it as it’s sad. 

April 30, 2010 – Strawberry Shortcake Fun 
I’ve had a rough past few days. I try to keep the mask on when it’s just Sarah and I at home but, as soon as Jonathan comes home it disappears and I cry. I cry in the middle of the night when everyone is asleep. It’s no wonder I’m exhausted mentally and physically. I think it may be because we are getting some things finalized regarding Zachary. We got the plaque for his bench approved and are waiting on the paperwork from Rogers State to officially get the Zachary A. Jennings Memorial Endowment Scholarship started.  The ME bill has passed the House and is back to the Senate for a final vote before the Governor’s desk. It’s just a lot that is getting done and it’s a reminder that life is still going on without the boy here. 

All I want is one more hug. One more chance to see his blue eyes and long eyelashes. One more chance to brush his hair from his eyes. When we got his ME report, some of his hair was 7″ long. I wish I could go back and cut a chunk off to have forever. It was a beautiful shade of dark blonde and gold. I didn’t think of it at the time in my state of shock. I wish I could smell him. It sounds gross but the smell of boy is something that is truly missed. I wish I could have another talk with him to hear his voice. I wish I could hear his phone playing YouTube as loud as he could while grabbing snacks in the kitchen. It used to irritate me but I miss his noise. I wish I could sing in the car one more time to “Call Me Maybe” or One Direction to embarrass his sister. I wish I could hear him rap all of the song “Fancy”. 

I have recordings off his cell phone where he sang bits of songs from Tally Hall. I listened to them the other morning because I wanted to hear him. I now listen to that band a lot. Knowing he was enjoying their music while in his dorm room brings me a little closeness to him.  I miss his messiness. I miss finding wrappers shoved into the couch as little reminders of him. I miss finding holy socks because with anxiety he had a tendency to pull one thread, and then another and another till the sock was destroyed.  It’s the small things that as a parent, you take for granted.  I cried over a shredded sock that I found today in the dreaded sock basket. I’m so grateful that my husband totally gets it. 

Anyway, this upcoming week will be a good one. I am volunteering and doing the Free Mom Hugs Tour stop in Tulsa in Zachary’s memory. 

I miss you and love you buddy. ~ Mommy 

#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy

First Easter without Zachary

As midnight approaches, I put Sarah’s basket together and I could feel the tightening in my chest start. This was followed with burying my face on the bed and then sitting in the toilet room and shutting the door to cry. Why I shut the door I have no clue. Jonathan knew exactly what I was doing.  Once I get myself together, I can feel the hives starting on my chest. I had to give in and take an anxiety pill as I can’t control the panic breathing and I don’t want to go into a full attack the night before Easter with Sarah awake. As soon as you think you are having a great day, BAM KAPOW, it hits with no warning. This won’t post till tomorrow as I won’t finish it till then. I just wanted to get some words out before bedtime. 

Easter I think three years ago. 

Sarah doesn’t want to dye eggs this year as that was her and Zachary’s thing to do together. Sarah went through her Easter Basket. I’ve just decided that every holiday we buy her something,  we have to buy something that would be in remembrance of Zachary. Today it was her own giant package of strawberry Twizzlers and I did two baskets for her as my heart couldn’t stand to only fill one.  We have spent the weekend watching movies as a distraction to the fact that the boy isn’t here. 

I spent the day cooking to keep myself occupied. When it came time to eat, I tried to clear off the table for the three of us to eat but it brought on tears so we decided to just sit in the living room.  Our table isn’t meant for three.  These small changes may become our “new normal” and that’s fine with me. There’s something too painful about sitting at the table with just three of us when one-quarter of the whole is missing.  It’s having the loss right in your face at moments like that that is unbearable. We will eventually get to where we can do it, just not yet. 

We are going to watch another movie before bedtime and then work on the sentences about Zachary for his Memorial Endowment Scholarship. We are also going to work on creating a Facebook page for donations to be made towards it.  We ended the night on Moana for Sarah as the day was for her. 

Well that’s Easter, baskets, food, movies and tears. 

Sarah, Easter 2017 

Easter 2016, their last one together. 

Love you Zachary. 


So one thing that you don’t think about with grief and losing a loved one to Sudden Death is the anxiety that comes when a loved one is going out of town, or riding on the school bus, playing in gym, driving across the state, etc.  I literally had a panic attack one day when Jonathan and Sarah backed out of the driveway to go to the store because I thought in my non-logical mind, “There goes my whole world.”  Your mind starts to wander and you start thinking the worst things can happen.  I think Jonathan’s plane will go down and crash land which has lead to crying and hives today.  It’s completely irrational yet emotionally I can’t help it.

It’s really an awful feeling.  I take medication to help but it’s always there lingering.  Zachary suffered from anxiety in the worst way.  His hands shook all the time from it. He would get into panic attacks and we would have to help calm him down. He would say things he didn’t mean which was hard to take sometimes. The last time he had one at home, he came down immediately and apologized and told me he never meant any of the things he had ever said to me in the past as it wasn’t him talking. Looking back, I hate that he had an attack but I’m glad it ended the way it did with hugs and tears.

What I never got to apologize to him for was all the times I said to him that he can choose his mood. What a phony I was. Until Zachary’s passing, I truly believed that. I would tell both the kids “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in.”  I wish I could take them all back.  I would rather say now, “I’m sorry you feel that way.  What can I do to help?”  We don’t try to stop and truly listen to our kids sometimes. We just try to put a band-aid on things and go along our way. The death of a child rips any and all bandages off and you are left with nothing but rawness that you can’t “think yourself away from to happiness.”

Tomorrow is five months that I haven’t been able to hug or talk to our son and the anxiety of getting through the day is already starting to creep up into my chest and causes it to be hard to breathe. I have lunch plans and dinner/movie plans so that will help the day pass. The thing is though, with every moment of happiness there is always the thought of “I wish Zachary was here.”   It makes it hard to “fake it till you make it.”  It feels nearly impossible. 

I’m so sorry son for all the times I told you to suck it up instead of just stopping and listening.  I’m sorry for all the times I made your anxiety worse instead of just slowing things down. 

If you have a kid with anxiety, slow down. Talk with them through it. We got Zachary therapy to help with his and hallelujah he was in a really great place mentally, emotionally and spiritually when he passed. We had never seen him happier than the weekend he was home before. I’m so thankful we had that weekend for us and for Sarah. 

Remember, you can’t always think yourself happy. You have to learn to let it go and feel it to get through it. Miss you Zachary. 

  Just Zachary being silly!
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy

So Much Potential

By the time this posts and I finish it, I will be talking about today as yesterday. Today has been really super hard. It started with a grief strike at 12:30 am and it has hung over me like a low cloud over a cartoon character following just them around. It has loomed all day constantly in my mind and on my heart. 
I happened to look at “On this Day” in Facebook before going to bed. I happened to see these two posts from April 5th, 2016. I will never forget the excitement and the pride beaming off Zachary this day. 

In typical Zachary fashion, it was like pulling teeth to get him to apply for a scholarship on the final day to apply. I basically had to stand there with him and make him fill out the application for the scholarship. He didn’t have to submit an essay for it so he got off easy there. We knew he met the ACT score requirements no problem. Fighting with him on turning in homework was always a struggle so his GPA wasn’t the highest but it wasn’t awful. Zach’s attitude about homework was that if he could pass all the tests with a 100% why should he have to do the daily work. 

We sent an email to the financial aid dept at RSU asking a question and we got an email back that stated he needed to come enroll so they could apply him for scholarship. We made sure to go the very next day we could get there and got him enrolled on his way to a Psychology Degree as he wanted to counsel other LGBT+ kids like him. 

We took his enrollment form to the financial aid office like they told us too. They had us sit and wait for his aid officer.  We went into her office and she said, “Okay, I’ll apply his Regional Baccalaureate Scholarship which is $6,000/year so $3,000/semester.”  Zach and I kind of just looked at each other.  The next natural question from us was, “So when will we find out if he gets accepted for the scholarship?”  She looked at us puzzled and said, “Oh, he already has the scholarship. We waived the GPA requirement since his ACT score was so high.”  We thought we had to enroll him first and then they submitted his application. 

Zach and I looked at each other and started hitting each other in the leg with excitement where she couldn’t see us while we kept side-eyeing each other and grinning.  When we walked out, we both jumped and danced on the way to the car. Of course, I got one of Zachary’s great hugs in which he always held on a little longer than most people so you knew he meant it. That was his hug style, just those few extra seconds with a little squeeze. We called Jonathan from the car and then Grandparents because he just couldn’t wait.  He was beaming with a grin from ear to ear. 

What hit me last night and today was the fact that we could go from so much potential on what his life would be to having him pass away completely and suddenly with no warning and boom, the potential is just gone.  We raised this wonderful, caring, kind hearted young man, we saw what he could become, and to have him just pass away from a cardiac arrhythmia caused by a rare cardiac fatty tumor is just still shocking. How does this skinny kid have a tumor in his heart that they find in old, heavyweight people upon necropsy?  You can see from the pic there wasn’t an ounce of fat on this kid. 

Logically in my head I know he has passed away and is in Heaven, but emotionally I still struggle with accepting that all of this has happened. How did this happen to him?  To us?  Why us?  What did we do to deserve this?  I know we will never have our questions answered till we get to Heaven but until then, it’s hard somedays not to dwell on it. 

I got up, went through the motions of my day and made it through another day. I was so thankful I went and volunteered because Toby at the Equality Center shared some super kind words with me and it helps to be around people. Sarah went to counseling and agreed to go to camp for kids in grief. I was super proud of her for agreeing to go. Jonathan had a good day and the world keeps spinning. Every life keeps going, including mine….even on days I just want to stay inside and ignore the world. 

(The pic above is of Zachary trying to walk around comes with Drunk Goggles on.) 
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy