Memorial Day

So I know Memorial Day is to remember those who died in service to our Country and fought for our freedoms but, to me, I’m having a hard day not thinking of losing Zachary all day. You see, as a kid, we would go to the cemeteries and decorate every family members gravesite. Not just those who died in service. We would go and walk across the cemeteries making sure each one was clean and had flowers placed in their vases. 

We don’t live in Oklahoma City anymore to visit our relatives graves there or in Perry and to be honest, I quit doing that with my parents when I got married.  It doesn’t change that I think about all our loved ones who have passed away.  I see people posting, “Remember, it’s for those who have served.” but for me it’s not. 

I can’t help but think he’s not home when he should be. I can’t help but pretend he’s still at college. I can’t help but feel the hole in my heart and the pressure in my chest when I try to hold it all together and get through the day. I can’t help but feel the hives that will have crept onto my chest by the time we go to bed. 

Today is another “first” holiday without the boy and I miss him. 

Slip and slide fun Zachary and Sarah 2010

Snacking in the fort 2010
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Still Connected

Since Zachary passed away, I feel this strong connection to the sky.  It’s a connection to the clouds, the sun, sunbeams specifically, sunsets, etc.  I used to never get emotionally moved by the sky.  Now, all it takes is a beautiful sunbeam and I can be moved to tears.  Tonight, as Jonathan and I were outside, I looked up to the sky and started to cry.  I think it is knowing that Zachary is on the opposite side of the sky looking down on us that does it to me.  It literally moves my spirit and moves my heart.  My heart bursts and it comes out as teardrops down my cheeks.  

Jonathan and I were talking about how we feel Zachary all around us.  Sometimes it can be the perfectly timed song, the button his cat will find and be hitting around on the floor, a penny in my path, his Hot Topic card in the middle of the floor after talking about going to the mall the night before. We feel him near. You may not believe in signs from loved ones who have passed but, I do.  I recognize them and I am thankful for them.  We have had too many things happen for them not to be from Zachary.  

May 24, 2011 storm season 

We also talked about moving on from the “Why?” as even if we knew why, it wouldn’t change that our son is no longer here. It wouldn’t change the broken hearts in our chest and the constant longing for our son who has passed away.  It doesn’t diminish all the anger I feel towards God right now but it does help eliminate one question. 

I cried during our whole conversation because I just miss him so. When we were finishing up talking, two little blonde haired sisters came riding up on the sidewalk and stopped before our driveway. Their parents were pushing a baby in a stroller about a house back. I started talking to the girls from the garage and told them they were being good girls waiting for their parents and asked if they got wet in the rain. Their parents caught up to them and when they were leaving I told them bye. They both said bye and as they got past our driveway, the little sister yelled , “Bye, I love you.” and continued to yell I love you as she rode down the sidewalk. At that moment and in that time, that was a perfectly sent message from the boy. That was a, “Mommy, I’m okay.” message. That was an “I’m still around you and thank you for acknowledging it” moment. That was a, “Mommy, I love you.”  I didn’t realize how much I miss those four words. “Mommy, I love you.”  

Zachary, I love you too. ~ Mommy 

Zachary being weather aware 

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Six months tomorrow

This was written last week. I don’t want to write anymore about my feelings and sadness over this past week but I don’t want to delete it and not share it.  It’s part of grieving and healing as much as a broken Mommy’s heart can.  

A boy and his dog

Class of 2016 Graduating Choir 
Well tomorrow is the day. Six months ago, Zachary Avon Jennings left this Earth for his trip to Heaven.  This has been an extremely hard week.  Words cannot describe the pain of not being able to hug and smell your child.  To be able to glance across the living room and see him sitting there watching YouTube on his cell phone cuddled under a blanket because his Daddy keeps the house so cold.  The six month mark is extremely hard.  I am at the point where conversations and scenes of that awful night pop into my head at the weirdest times and take my breath away.

The last time you see your child should not be with him laying on a hospital table with a police officer in the room because you can’t be left alone with him.  We had no clue of his cause of death and so they could not leave anyone alone with him. I will never forget running my hands through that long mess of blonde hair and sweeping it out of his face the way he hated when I did it. I will never forget looking down and noticing that he had on matching socks.  It seems like such a weird thing to remember but he had on matching socks and his shoelaces were tied, which was a miracle.  I will never forget looking down and still seeing grass in his leg hair from where he collapsed on the ground.  I will never forget seeing the little bruise on his nose from his glasses breaking when he fell because he was no longer there to catch himself when he fell and we weren’t either. I will never forget the smell of the top of his head. He still smelled of “sunshine”.  Sunshine is that smell of your kids head when they come in from playing outside and they just smell Earth and Sunshine.

We had texted that day before he passed away.  We had asked him to stay on campus until Friday afternoon as his college was paid for by scholarship but, we had to provide his room and board.  As any parent of a college kid can tell you, room and board is not cheap and we wanted him to eat his meal plan worth.  I texted him that Thursday telling him if he wanted to come home early that day he could.  It had been election week and he was stressed so I wanted him to come home.  He must have been having a good day because he wanted to stay on campus.  I take comfort  knowing that his boyfriend and I were the last people he texted at almost the exact time, 3:08 p.m.  My guess is that as soon as we got done texting, he got on his skateboard and was heading out for an afternoon of listening to music and riding his board.

One week later….I wrote this post last week before Zachary’s six month mark of passing and Mother’s Day. I made it through both. I don’t want to share anymore of my feelings as today is a good day. 

Rough Day

Today has been a rough day. I had a hard time waking up. When I got Sarah off to school and Jonathan off to work, I got my coffee, got back in bed and opened timehop. This precious picture popped up in my feed. This is Zachary getting ready to leave for Disney World for a week. It was the longest he had been away from us at that time. 

As soon as I saw the pic, the panicked and deep wailing of a Mother who has lost a child took over. I decided to just let it all out today. Since I was home alone, I got in the shower and let it all go. The shower is a safe space to just cry. I’ve met several other Moms in my grief group who say the same thing. It’s the most vulnerable place in the house and it just makes it easy to wail. You can just sit there and let the water wash everything down the drain. 

I got myself collected and made it to volunteer at the Equality Center 10 minutes late as I was just moving really slow. I had a good day there until a homeless trans youth came in. They had been adopted at age 11 , are an adult now and are currently in a homeless shelter in Tulsa at the age of 18 after living at Youth Services of Tulsa before that. 

The thought of someone actually kicking their child out for being LGBT+ makes me sick. I would give the entire world to have Zachary back and to see kids just disposed of by their parents for being brave by being who they are just cuts me to the core.  I just truly do not understand it and it makes me so so sad. I don’t think enough parents cherish the time they have with their children as it can all be gone in a heartbeat. 

My poor husband. It seems like at least twice a week when he comes home I start crying. I am so thankful he doesn’t take it personally and gives me support. It’s like when I see him my ability to “be strong” goes away and I crumble like a building being held up by its last support beam. He is my support beam that keeps me from completely caving in.  

He shared this pic today and it got me in the feels again. This is Zachary with a black eye and Fifth’s Disease taking their baseball pics. 

It’s just been a constant battle of fighting back tears all day long and I’m tired. Chances are though, I’ll get to bed tonight and won’t be able t sleep because my mind will be thinking of Zachary and our family life as a whole and what all we will miss and what all Sarah will miss. 

Every moment from the time I wake up till I go to sleep has a thought of “The Boy” in it and I just miss him so much. There are not enough words but it’s good to use the words I have to share it and get it out. 

Love and miss you Bubba ~ Mommy
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