“best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

I used to never cancel plans and I used to never be late. I hated being late places and usually tried to get there five minutes early. I used to never cancel plans either as I thought it was rude and inconsiderate. One thing I’ve learned in dealing with grief is “best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. 

You see, that’s the thing about grief. You absolutely have no control over when it is going to hit or how hard it is going to knock you on your rear.  I thought Zachary’s Birthday would be absolutely horrendous and it turns out, due to anxiety, it was the day before. My husband called me when he got a break from work and I was in the shower doing the deep sob that I think only a Mom of Loss knows. 

I thought I would be able to make it to hang out with my “Free Mom Hugs” group at OKC Pride and got hit when I woke up with the deep sobbing. It exploded all over by face, my eyes, snot on my husband’s shoulder, etc. After it hits like that, I am completely exhausted and then it takes all day to “keep it together” for the rest of the day. I started crying again when I saw my Mom.  

I had plans to go to my nephews house beforehand to see him and park at his house and walk to Pride, I didn’t even make it to see him. It literally paralysis any desire to want to be social.  I’m trying to get through this without having to take Valium as I don’t want to be numbing my way through it. I was able to make it today without it, the day before Zach’s birthday not so much. It was ugly.  

We were supposed to go to Christmas Eve service and dinner with our neighbors, didn’t make it. I spent the afternoon bawling. Thankfully my neighbor is a therapist so she completely gets it. She actually thinks we are doing really well which seems crazy to me because I don’t feel that way. 

I run late because grief brain (it’s a real thing, google it) makes me forgetful and I don’t pay attention to the time. Or, I realize beforeI’m  supposed to walk out the door that I forgot to put deodorant on or I forgot to brush my teeth. Sometimes it is literally the most basic things you forget.  It also is not intentional, it is literally how my brain functions. 

I saw in one of my grief groups someone post that they asked people to give them till five minutes before to cancel a function.  I think that’s a little too late. All I am asking is if I have to cancel on you or if I am running late, please be patient. It is in no way intentional and it is in no way a personal slight against anyone. I just literally never know when I’m going to get hit so I ask for patience and understanding. ~ Love Tamra

Sarah dressed up in Zach’s clothes when she was six. She even put in his glasses! 

Zachary’s favorite t-shirt gift when he was 16 from Sarah. He was wearing his fav t-shirt when he passed away. 

Zachary’s Birthday 

So I thought I would blog for Zach’s birthday starting the day before. I’ll just write a sentence here and there so it may not always make sense but I’ve kept this blog to be honest about grief in hopes that it helps someone who happens to stumble upon it. 

10:39 am. 

Jonathan had to leave for work early so I got him off and fell back asleep. When I woke up, I’m having a hard time getting out of bed. I already have hives rising on my chest which is a sign of anxiety. I’ve taken my daily anxiety medication and went ahead and took a Valium as theyare for  emergency purposes and I believe this first birthday without the Boy is an emotional emergency.  I realize that staying in bed all day isn’t feasible as I have a daughter to get ready for church camp next week so that means laundry, laundry, laundry so I get up, have a cup of coffee and fake my fake my way. 

11:43 am

I just got off the phone with my Mom. The tears started to flow because it is still not fair and will never be fair. Zachary is such a good soul so I still grapple with why it had to be him.  I try hard to not ask the why question but it pops up. Sometimes I reread his ME Report and Police Report to remind myself that there is nothing anyone could have done. His heart just stopped due to a rare tumor. I try to remind myself of the country lyrics of “If I die young” where they sing “I had just enough time”.  I guess he had just enough time. 

12:45 pm

Jonathan calls while I’m in the shower. As soon as he asks how I’m doing I say fine but then admit I’m lying and start to bawl. His advice, take another Valium and sleep in Zach’s bed for a bit. Sarah and I have errands to run so that won’t work. 

8:32 pm

Sarah and I ran to the store and to get cupcakes for Zach’s birthday. I tried to talk to her about tomorrow and she doesn’t want to talk about it. Sometimes as parents we have to choose our battles. Today, I’m just letting her veg in her computer and take it easy. 

I cooked dinner and actually took my time prepping it instead of hurrying through. Jonathan has to work late so I had the extra time. I have managed to eat a lemon bar and a large bakery cookie today which isn’t good.  I know stress eating is bad for me, especially with sweets. I have managed to keep it together with the help of Valium as I have to be here for Sarah. 

11:36 pm

Jonathan made it home from work earlier and as soon as he stepped in the door some tears started. I try my hardest not to let that happen as it isn’t fair to him to have to be he strong one every day.  We are watching a movie to waste time while we talk. I keep checking “On this day” on Facebook just waiting so I can see all of Zachary’s birthday pics from years past. 

1:12 am

Everyone is now asleep.  I will lie here in bed to I can sleep.  The tears haven’t come at bedtime yet which I’m surprised. I think if I just turned off the tv they would come but I’m exhausted and can’t sleep. 

4:23 pm

Well I’m starting later than I wanted to start blogging today. We woke up and I had a few tears. I made sure to take my medicine. We ate cupcakes for breakfast and frozen pizza (which Zachary loved) for lunch. We did manage to go to Lowe’s to look at trees for the backyard. We ended up finding some called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. It seemed like a perfect fit. Nothing else would do after finding them.  We made it back home, a few tears came but I’m okay. 

We are having a Marvel Movie Marathon in honor of Zachary. He loved superhero movies so it just seems appropriate. 

6:30 pm

Cedrick came over and we got to see Melissa which is a bonus.  He ate dinner with us and watched some movies. It was nice to have him over. Sarah came downstairs and ended up talking and laughing a lot.  This made me happy as she had been in a funk all day. It was good to see her playing around, putting makeup on her cat, flipping around in the couch, etc.  Cedrick went home around 10:30 pm and we got ready for bed. 

I don’t do it every night but, a lot of nights I end my night with a kiss on my hand and placing it on Zachary’s urn on the fireplace. Some nights it just seems fitting. 


I’ve come to realize that the anxiety the day and evening before is actually harder than the actual day for me. I know it comes purely from anxiety and I take medication to help with that. Any and all spelling errors are due to Valium. I’m not ashamed to admit it. 

I miss the boy dearly but we made it through another day and another holiday. I do not want to die however; every day that passes is one more day I’m closer to seeing the boy again. We have a lot of living to do before then and I can only remind myself that Zachary would not want me miserable. 

Love you Buddy ~ Mommy

Fathers Day

The year Zachary was born, he was born on Father’s Day. In typical Zachary fashion, he waited till almost the last minute to make his arrival. He had 16 minutes left in the day before he made his entrance.  He came out with his cute little conehead with blonde hair ready to great the world. 

I was supposed to have him on June 23rd, 1998. I went to the doctor the Friday before and he assured me I wouldn’t have him that weekend as our doctor was going out of town so he wasn’t worried. I started having contractions Saturday so we went to the hospital. They weren’t bad enough so they sent us home. We went home and went walking car lots trying to induce labor. That is something Jonathan and I have always liked to do. Sunday morning I was still having contractions and although they weren’t that bad, they were the time spaced apart so we went to the hospital. 

They hooked us up to all the machines to watch Zachary for a bit. Every time I would have a contraction, his heart rate would drop. It turns out, he had the cord wrapped around his neck.  They had to go ahead and induce us and put a monitor in the top of his little head to keep a close eye on him.  We were in the hospital all day Sunday waiting for him to come.  We were at the point if things did not start to progress, they were going to do a c-section.  Sure enough, after some time I dialated and we were able to have him. 

I could not to this day tell you the name of the doctor who delivered him as we had never met her before. I would have to read it off his birth certificate. We did have excellent care. 

I will never forget the moment I set eyes on that little bundle of boy. He made me a Mother and Jonathan a Father on Father’s Day. I have never been able to top that gift. 

During the days we were in the hospital, we had family and friends come by if course to see him as we were the youngest of our friends to have a kiddo. 

This years Father’s Day was a hard one. We tried to keep things the same as usual but it wasn’t. We had one big missing spot from the house. We went to see Wonder Woman as that is something we normally do on Sunday mornings for holidays. We try to make sure we save an empty seat beside us for “Zachary’s seat.”  

Zachary’s birthday is tomorrow and I’m not sure how that will go. We are getting cupcakes as I can’t bring myself to bake. I tried to stop and look at trees with Sarah and she couldn’t do it so we didn’t.  We are planting two trees for his birthday. I am thankful that Jonathan is able to take off work to stay home with us as I don’t think I would be able to make it through the day without him. I’m volunteering today instead of my usual Wednesday so I don’t have to get out of bed till I want to.  We may not even make it out of the house and that is perfectly okay. Sometimes hunkering down to grieve is better than spending the day keeping yourself busy as the grief never goes away. It is always there right beneath the surface of everything we do. Love you Zachary. 

Zachary’s 1st birthday pic. He was sitting in a pair of his Daddy’s jeans. 

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

Money Money Money Money

Our daughter Sarah is spending the week at her cousins’ house so I decided I really needed to do some cleaning out of my desk, drawers, etc. I wanted to have the space and time to cry if I needed to without having to hold the tears in because Sarah is here. When I have to do that, I end up breaking out in hives on my chest which are no fun.  

While cleaning out I found some difficult things to look at but also some funny things. I wanted to share a funny thing today as enough of my posts are sad. 

Zachary had a way of spending money. He would have it spent before he received it. I think it was before 6th grade started, we made a trip to the Outlet Shoppes in OKC. He knew there was a skateboard store there called Zumiez.  He had always just been given skateboards that came as a whole skateboard from Target or Walmart. I believe our neighbor Eli had given him a skateboard deck that he wanted to buy wheels for. 

When we woke up the morning to go, we found this note folded up and slid under our bedroom door. On the back it says, “Mommy and Daddy” with an arrow pointing to tape that was holding the note shut. 

When we got to the Shoppes, we ended up just paying for him to build himself the perfect skateboard he had always wanted and we let him keep his cash. He was absolutely soooo excited. 

Even as he grew up, Zachary liked to spend money before he got it. Every paycheck from when he worked was spent before he received it.  He came home every weekend when he was at Rogers State. It wasn’t a very far drive and the University doesn’t have a lot of activity on the weekends. What we didn’t know at the time, was that every time he came home Jonathan would give him cash. Jonathan didn’t know that every time he came home, I would ask him how his checking account was and I would transfer money directly into his account.  That little stinker was getting money from both of us every weekend and we had absolutely no clue!!! Three nights before he passed away, I had transferred him money so he and Cedrick could eat out.  When we looked at his checking account, he had used his check card at Walgreens for the last time and spent $10.08. We can only imagine that he bought himself three large packs of Strawberry Twizzlers. 

I love you buddy!  May you always have a good skateboard to ride, all the Dr Pepper to drink and all the Strawberry Twizzlers you want in Heaven. Love you ~ Mommy

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

Weekend Update

This weekend was a great weekend. We were supposed to have rain all weekend and it stayed away for all of our events. My mood was good (which is surprising considering what all we had going on).  I’ll just start day by day. 

Friday was the day for Zachary’s Memorial Bench Dedication. We were supposed to have rain the entire day and it held off. It ended up being a beautiful day. We have been truly blessed by the Rogers State University Hillcat family. Dr. Rice got up and said a few words followed by Jonathan, Sarah, and I unveiling the bench. This was followed by my husband, who never ceases to amaze me with his strength, saying a few words and then we just spent some time talking to friends and family who were there. We had quite a crowd show up which is such a wonderful feeling knowing so many people love and support us. This was followed by a few family and friends coming back to the house for a bit and hanging out. 

My Mom and I left from the ceremony and dropped Sarah off at Camp Erin before going home. Camp Erin is a grief camp for kids ages 6-17. She was so excited for camp she talked the entire way there. 

Saturday, Jonathan and I slept in till 12:30 pm. I guess Friday was more taxing on us emotionally than what we thought. Once we got up we were just lazy until I got ready to go march in the Pride Parade with my “Free Mom Hugs” Moms. I cannot thank Sara Cunningham enough for getting me out of the house to participate.  I could truly feel a little of Zachary’s presence in every hug I gave out. There was something so soothing to my soul at the end of the day. I think I got more out of it than the people I gave hugs to. 

Zachary last year at his one and only Pride Parade. I wore his wristband when I went. 

Sunday we got up early and went to pick up our camper. I was not prepared for what an emotional experience the closing ceremony was. We watched 75 of the bravest kids I have ever seen get up on stage and either talk themselves about their loved one who had passed away or they performed in skits talking about their emotions. I don’t know if there were many dry eyes in the room by the time it was done. We are so thankful Sarah got to experience this camp so she knows she is not alone.  She talked about going back next year as soon as she was in the car and gave us the run down of every day she was at camp. 

Home again home again!  

This weekend was a great weekend of celebrating the life of “The Boy” and doing things in his honor as well as taking care of Sarah and making sure she is getting all her emotional needs met. There were tears shed at home from coming down off the emotional pull that you don’t always realize is there behind everything we do. I’m thankful I have a husband who goes and gets me a handkerchief when these moments hit. I am so thankful for his love and his broad shoulders which carry the weight of it all at times. 

Sarah has a busy rest of the summer planned as she has sleepovers with cousins, church camp, and softball season coming up. In everything we do, there is always the thought of Zachary and we miss him. 
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt