Nine Months

So the last few weeks have really been a struggle. I’m really really great at putting on a brave face for the world to see. I put on my make-up.  I dry my hair.  I get dressed.  I smile. I crack jokes and laugh.  I wear jewelry.  Really though, I just want to stay in bed with my eyes shut and pretend the world isn’t moving on without our Zachary.  

School is getting ready to start. We are taking a family vacation that Zachary was supposed to go on with us. People are moving forward in their lives and moving on and we are getting ready to hit the nine month mark of Zachary’s passing away. 

One part of the struggle is seeing life still going.  Seeing kids be excited about starting college. Parents posting pics of their kids moving to the dorms. I was one of those parents last year. I was a completely different person last year. I will never be that Mom again who moved her kid to the dorms full of hopes and dreams for them. I will now be the Mom who has an anxiety attack over her daughter not feeling well and having to go to the doctor. I can only pray that these get better as Sarah gets older. I know when she moves into dorms, I will completely fall apart.  I will constantly have that fear of something happening to Sarah. I try not to let her know as that is a lot for a little girl to handle and not fair. 

Another part of the struggle is hitting the nine month mark.  As a Mom, we get to carry these beautiful babies for nine months and keep them from everyone else.  We get to enjoy being pregnant. We get to enjoy carrying that life inside us and share in that life before anyone else.  We get to feel them move before everyone else. We get to share their hiccups. We get to have the fear of giving birth only to have it be the most beautiful thing in the world as soon as you see that precious face for the first time.  When you see that face and hear that cry, everything disappears. You become a Mother after nine months. 

I never in my entire life thought I would be grieving the loss of my son after he passed away of natural causes at 18 years old. It’s amazing how much you change as a pregnant mother and how much you change as a grieving mother at the nine month mark. At the nine month grief mark, I can cry at the drop of the hat. I get overwhelmed with not only sadness but, I get overwhelmed by things that are beautiful. I’ve cried over how pretty a cat is. I’ve cried over a dragonfly dancing around my car. I’ve cried over the beauty of the sky, the sun, clouds, sun rays, rain.  I’ve cried at the perfectly timed song. I’ve cried glancing at our daughter across the room and had my breath away at her loveliness. It truly changes how you look at everything. 

I do also have my moments where I have a flash and my breath is taken away and I collapse in tears with the horrible deep down sobbing Mom cry that is probably one of the worst sounds in the world.  Thankfully, this tends to happen when I am alone and a lot of times, in the shower. I think it’s the vulnerability of the shower that makes the tears flow so easily.  I have my moments where a glance at his pic will do me in. A simple pic in TimeHop can knock the wind out of my sails but, I wouldn’t trade having pics of those memories for anything in the world. 

I will never be sad that I got to be his Mommy. 

So today, I’ll wake up. I’ll drink my coffee. I’ll shower. I’ll put on my face. I’ll dry my hair. I’ll get dressed and I’ll smile even though my heart is breaking. 

Zachary’s smile after getting a set of braces off. 


Staycation at the Philbrook. 

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

My first birthday without the Boy

Yesterday was my first birthday without the boy, Zachary.  In true Tamra anxiety fashion, I had a very hard time the two days before my birthday and had a good day (Valium helped) on my birthday. I am not ashamed at all to admit I still have to take Valium to get through some events. When you are a parent, sometimes you have to depend on prescribed chemical help to get through a day for your surviving child and spouse. 

My day started with a call asking for Zachary Jennings as soon as I got out of bed. We have not received a single call asking for Zachary since he passed away in November.  I was momentarily taken aback and angry and cried. When I get angry, I cry. I cried and let the poor girl on the other end have it. I’m kind of embarassed today over being rude to her as being rude is not in my nature.  This caused me to get back in bed and let some of the tears out so I could start my day. Thankfully, my husband was able to turn it around and help me see the joy in hearing his name said by someone else’s lips. 

Sarah made up her mind that she was making me a cake from scratch this year. This is her very first  attempt. Jonathan took her to Hobby Lobby for cake decorating supplies and to the grocery store to buy every ingredient so she would be set. They spent the night before baking the cake and making the frosting. It had to set overnight to cool and she finished icing it on my birthday. The results are amazing. It is probably one of the best cakes I have ever eaten and that is not just the Mom in me talking. It is wonderful. 

Jonathan and Sarah gave me three days of birthday presents and made my day truly special.  I did cry when there were only two people singing me Happy Birtjday and my birthday wish was spent on my daughter wishing she goes through life with a healthy heart.

I don’t really believe in praying for things that much anymore. We prayed our asses off on the way to the hospital and it did no good.  I can only make wishes. I don’t believe God specifically intervenes to save one persons life over the next persons life. I dare anyone to say that to my face. I would probably punch them right on the kisser.  I don’t know really what I believe God ha does anymore. I do believe in Heaven as I know our son is there. I just don’t really know exactly how involved God is in life. 

I waited awhile to post this because I’ve been in a funk. I even contemplated just deleting it. Oh well, life goes by and the presence in front of me is more important than finishing a blog post. 
#suddencardiacarrest #cardiacarrhythmia #suddendeath #grief #grieving #mourn #mourning #childloss #lossofchild #mamabear #compassionatefriends #imwithyoumommy #lgbt 

Grief is weird, sad and strange.  

So I’ve decided that all the charts showing grief going down and coming back up in one fluid line are junk.  In the span of one hour, I can go from laughing, to crying in grief, to crying that something is so beautiful. It has happened the last two days but has ended up with tears over how beautiful and precious life is. 

The first day, I cried over how pretty Thelma kitty is. Thelma is Zachary’s cat. The kids rescued two kittens from our neighborhood playground in the freezing cold a couple of years ago and they have made their way into our hearts. Thelma chose Zachary as hers. Louise chose Sarah has hers. I was sitting on the bathroom floor watching Thelma love on Jonathan and the tears started to flow. The tears weren’t necessarily because I was sad.  They were tears at seeing how much love had been projected onto Thelma from Zachary. It was seeing his love still living on in a cat who is finally becoming more social with us. 

I am so thankful for my husband. He can take a moment of tears and change it into a moment of “craughing” (cry/laughing). As I was sitting on the floor, he asked “Are you seriously crying over how pretty a cat is?” to which I responded in the most stuffed up nose, tears coming down my cheeks “yes but no.”  It is unexplainable really what has caused this shift. 

It happened again yesterday. We were babysitting a family members toddler when I started to cry.  Leighton has blonde hair and blue eyes just like Zachary and Sarah when they were little.  She looked up at Zachary’s picture over the fireplace and said Bubba several times. I wasn’t necessarily crying because I missed the boy but, I was crying at how beautiful it is to have a toddler who had never met Zachary recognize him as a Bubba. Leighton has an Uncle who also passed away young and his mother has a picture of him hanging over her fireplace.  Sarah called Zachary Bubba when she was little.  

The tears also came when Leighton was laying on me while she slept. I started crying at how good it felt to hold and love on a small one. How, at that moment, you are literally holding a precious child’s life on your chest.  The warmth and sweatiness of a child sleeping on you has to be a little slice of Heaven and I cried. 

I cry at how beautiful the sky is.  I cry at how beautiful a baby bird is when really they look like ugly old men. I cry at the loveliness of a cat. I cry at the warmth of a baby on my chest.  I cry when I glance at my daughter and see a glimpse of the girl she was before her brother passed away.  

I cry at the thought that I got to be a Mother to the  most beautiful boy in the world for a little over 18 years and I would not be the same person I am today without his loving back.  He made me a Mother and that is a beautiful thing. He taught me how to play.  He reminded me how to dance like no one is watching. He amazed me by his incredible knack for knowing every word in a rap song. He made me laugh.  He was mine. 

To you Zachary Avon Jennings, I thank you for letting me be your Mommy.  Love you Buddy ~ Mommy 


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

And she danced!

We celebrated our first Fourth of July without Zachary here. I woke up crying, cried on my husband, got myself together and had a day. We went next door to spend the day with our neighbors. This is the second year we have gotten together with their family friends. They cookout and then we all put our fireworks together and make quite a show for the kids. 

It just wasn’t the same with Zachary here. Jonathan and I were talking about when he was a baby and didn’t like loud noises. His first two fireworks celebrations were spent watching from the car as he did not like loud noises. Even as a toddler and throughout his childhood that never changed. Not until he got to be about 10 and then things weren’t as bad.  

(Zachary’s last “Friendship Pagoda” from last year. It was a stinker like Zachary and didn’t rise all the way until it was helped along.) 
So we got ready and went to our neighbors like we did last year.  We got through eating just fine, Sarah was having a blast swimming and everyone was having a great time.  

We corralled the kids out front and lit fireworks. Our neighbor boy who is so sweet kept coming over to make sure I was okay as he knew the night was going to be hard on me. He is very intuitive for a 12yr old. The night went on with me breaking down at one point and having to excuse myself for a bit to let it out. I was able to collect myself and go back out with Jonathan and Sarah. 

Sarah has always been our serious child. She hates to be embarrassed, hates it when Jonathan, Zachary and I dance in front of her, hated it when Zachary and I would sing as loud as we could in the car, etc.  She would never ever dance with us in public. 

The strangest thing happened that night. Sarah asked Jonathan to play #KatyPerry “Firework” and she danced. She danced in the driveway. She yelled at me to dance with her. The neighbor boy stopped the song on accident and she replayed it and we danced. My daughter and I danced for the first time together since she was a toddler and it was magical. For just a brief moment, she was the Sarah whose brother has not passed away and was just Sarah, a teenage girl having fun on July 4th. She danced, she lit fireworks, she acted 13 and it was a beautiful site to behold. 

I never thought a Katy Perry song would give me all the emotions from crying in grief to being happy dancing with my daughter. Grief is a crazy thing to be in. You can literally go from dreading the day, making it through, and ending it dancing with your daughter in front of friends.   Love you Buddy ~ Mommy 

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

Just keep pedaling along

So I was brave and did something I have never done before this week. I took a spin class for the Pride Ride, which donations went to Oklahomans for Equality. It was completely out of my comfort zone. I went to class knowing no one who would be there. That would normally call for a valium due to anxiety (it’s developed since November). I went, got to class early and was instantly made comfortable by the staff and the people there. They got my bike all set up and I was ready to go.   The lady who sat beside me gave me tips before it started so I wouldn’t hurt myself on my first try.

Warm up went great. First round went great. Then, we got to the steady climb. This is where it got real for me. A song written by Queen was played called “I want to break free.”  The first verse doesn’t apply but the rest of the song does. Here’s is the last verse. I will place a link to the video below. 
“But life still goes on.   I can’t get used to living without, living without, living without you by my side.  I don’t want to live alone, hey God knows, got to make it on my own.  So baby can’t you see?  I’ve got to break free”

The combination of the physical exertion combined with the lyrics of the song and they started. The tears started to stream down my face. I tried my hardest to control them but I couldn’t.  I grabbed my towel and hid my face as much as I could but I just kept pedaling along. Thankfully, everyone was so focused on their bikes so only one man noticed and we talked before class so he knew about the loss of Zachary. I was able to get myself together by the time the next song started. 

Next song was an up and down song so I had enough time to suck it all up and keep going on. I did it, I made the hard ups and downs and was ready for the next climb. 

Then bam, True Colors came on by Cindy Lauper for the next steady climb and I started again. First of all, I cried to that song before Zachary passed away simply due to how lovely it is. Now that he has passed, the song has taken on a new meaning. The first time I heard it after he passed away, it felt like Zach was singing to me from Heaven.  

“Show me a smile then. Don’t be unhappy. Can’t remember when I last saw you laughing. This world makes you crazy And you’ve taken all you can bear. Just, call me up ‘Cause I will always be there” 

I cried during the song, same thing with covering my face but, I just kept pedaling along. 


The next song was an up and down song and I made it through with no tears. Then bam, Katy Perry “Firework” came on. Don’t laugh, I cried during Firework. It wasn’t the lyrics to the song. It was remembering a text conversation Zach and I had where I started out by asking him, “Do you ever feel, like a plastic bag.  Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?” We went back and forth a few times just something silly. 

What I didn’t know till we went through Zach’s phone was that he took screenshots of conversations he liked and thought were funny. That exchange was one one them. Whoever would have thought that a simple funny text meant so much to save it. I cried, snotted, but I just kept pedaling along. 


The last songs were fun and I was able to bring the class to a conclusion and feel proud of myself. Part of the class consisted of singing YMCA with the older man next to me, which was one of my fav parts. 


I guess to conclude, the class description is literally my life summed up in a 45 minute class. Some days start out slow. Some days are up and down. Some days are a steady climb to make it through. Some days we cool off and just stretch it out. Through every single day, we have no choice. We just keep pedaling along till the next day when we just keep pedaling along then too. 

Love you Zachary ~ Mommy

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

http://physiquesbymonique.net/

If there are words missing, etc, it was a Valium night. 

“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. 


Conclusion:

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. 
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