Friday, August 26, 2011

...and the days continue to pass without Zach

I often look up at my office calendar while I work and see that it's still on April... 

I felt as though I couldn't move it forward.  It was a symbol of the day a part of me died.  The part of me who created, raised and loved Zachary. 

I thought, "How can I move this calendar forward when this is the month the life I have lived stopped?"

Tonight I looked at the calendar and turned the pages to August. 

I felt guilty and sad.  
As if I wasn't remembering my son properly by moving the calendar forward. 
Yet, I know that the days will continue to pass without Zach.

This was just another small step in my grief process. 
A step that I hope others will think about. 

Whatever you are going through, you can make it through! 
Suicide is NEVER the answer! 
You are loved, needed and wanted! 
No matter what you or anyone else has told you, you're an amazing person, put on this earth for a reason!

Just as the days continue to pass without Zach, the days will continue to pass in your life and whatever it is you're facing now is just a moment in your life. 
You can and will make it through anything! 
You will grow and sometimes change the course of your life due to the things you go through. 
 Use any and all "life tests" to better yourself. 
Prove that you are stronger than anything you are going through.

Do it because YOU ARE LOVED!

*Please note* We are NOT professional therapists or grief counselors! If you or someone you know is considering suicide -
Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Pain You Can't Wash Away

Yesterday I made a goal to wash Zachary's clothing for the quilts I've promised to have made for my daughters. I also told myself to take out the items I've promised other family members...I blogged how the day went.

9:15 am

I start out the day with energy…I put the clean clothes away and set Zach’s box, suitcase and bag of clothing aside.

Instead of starting a wash of Zach’s belongings, I decide to wash some other clothes…

Noon:I opened up the Home Depot box with the blanket I made Zach and the electric blanket we gave him for Christmas last year. The box also held his journal, several notes to and from his friends.

I felt anxious as I went through it. I read a few of his words from his journal and had to close it. Seeing the despair he felt was too overwhelming for me to read right now. I read a couple of notes he received and a poem he wrote to his friend Halee who passed away 2 days before he did.

I pulled the blanket out that I made him and took a big whiff of it. The smell of cologne, cigarette smoke and "pure boy" were still there. The small zebra pillow that his youngest sister gave him was packed in with the blanket. I had already given and washed the 2nd pillow to her and thought I would save this one. I carried the two items to the wash machine, took a couple of photographs and closed the door. As the water began to run, I sat in front of the washer and the tears began to pour.

My husband joined me and we talked about Zach and how sad we are. I cried, “I just wish he’d come home.”

As I walked out of the laundry room I notice my hands smell like Zach. I feel as though he is with me, watching me and has his arm around me, helping me with this.

This process is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to force myself to do.

1:02 pm.

The blanket and pillow are finished washing. I’m about to put them in the dryer. I’m happy I will be able to use the blanket tonight. I smile when I think about how protective Zach was over this blanket. I know I will treasure this blanket forever.

The next task may not be as easy…it’s time to wash Zach’s clothing. I’m washing it so it can be taken into the quilt shop and my daughters can have the quilts made that I’ve promised them.

The importance of all of this is that I live in an area where wild fires are prevalent and can destroy homes and belongings in a matter of minutes. I know that my girls can grab a blanket on their way out of our home if there’s time, but we as a family would not have enough time to grab boxes, bags and a suitcase full of Zach’s items in the event of a fire. I know that by having all of Zach’s most recent belongings and the items he felt were most important to him in one suitcase/box or bag would be easier to save in the event of a fire.

Most of Zach’s clothes are now in the washer. I cried while unpacking his shirts. I placed the shirts on the laundry room floor, took photos and started the washing machine. I watched the first few minutes of the cycle and left the room.

While going through some of his things I found lots of coins, which he loved. I also found notes, bottle caps, body jewelry and other various things he had collected. Some things brought a slight smile to my face…other things brought tears to my eyes.

It’s now 3:35 pm and I’ve decided to stop sorting through Zachary’s belongings for the day. I'm almost done going through them, but am stopping short of completing the box of items that are full of cards, letters, mementos, and the items we received from the funeral home. I will go through those items this week.

I don't have to write it for you to know that dealing with the suicide of my son is the hardest and most heartbreaking thing I/WE (every one of us in my family are deeply hurting) have ever dealt with.

As I've stated before, it is my hope that by sharing my heartache and my journey of grief, you will reach out for help or reach out and help someone that needs it in your life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's not just a box to me...

One of the boxes shipped to me with Zach's journal, a blanket I made him as well as notes and photos.

One of the biggest struggles I've faced is opening the boxes and the suitcase that have been shipped to me or brought to me with Zach's belongings in them. 

I have a hard time opening them, smelling his scent...just realizing and facing this is all I have left of him on earth...It's so painful that I can't seem to even open them.

A couple of months ago I spoke to a local quilt shop about creating two quilts for each of Zach's little sisters.  I have a small box of his clothing that needs to be washed before the quilts can be made.  I haven't been able to bring myself to wash those clothes.  My daughters have asked me when I'm going to have them even offered to wash the clothes herself and my response has been tears.

I have made it a goal to wash the clothes and send off the personal items I've promised to others tomorrow, 8/21/11.  I've been inspired by watching a program on television where people who have lost loved ones continue to collect items and how destructive the end result can (not always, but can) be.  I want the best for my family and I want to follow through with my promise to have these quilts made for my daughters and follow through with sending the personal items I have promised others. 

Inside I know that I'll feel better knowing that my girls have their quilts, knowing that all of Zach's belongings are in one spot and not scattered in several different boxes.

I recently taught myself how to create stuffed animals.  I told my family that I will create these stuffed animals out of Zach's jeans for them.  I know that this will be a tearful and tough process, but I also know my family will love and treasure these "jean animals" and that will bring a smile to my face. 

I feel that by avoiding the task, I'm avoiding a part of grieving.  A part I need to do.

I feel as though Zach would want me to do this.  I know he's not coming back to earth to collect his items.  I know I can put his items to good use.  I know I don't have to (or will I) get rid of or wash everything.  I will do what I can and take a break whenever I need to. 

You may be wondering why am I blogging about this.  This is the true aftermath of my sons suicide.  It's my daily struggle.  It's something I know never crossed his mind and may not have ever crossed your mind as part of what's left behind when someone ends their life.

Please use our heartache and your love for others to reach out for help if you need it or be the person to help that friend or family member in need! 
If your gut tells you something isn't right it probably isn't. 
Make that call! 
911 or 1-800-273-TALK
You truly could be saving a life!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pennies, Prayers and Fountains...Remembering Zach

I usually wouldn't blog about a trip to Vegas, but Vegas holds a spot in our hearts when it comes to remembering Zach.

We started bringing our kids to Las Vegas, NV seven years ago when we moved to Southern, California.  We always had a good time swimming, eating junk food, shopping, walking the strip and taking funny photos. 

A few months before Zach passed his dad and he talked about taking a Guys Weekend trip to Vegas.  Zach & I laughed as he said he'd "drag" his dad to some "girl shows".  He was sure they would have a fantastic, fun weekend together.  I know they would have...had they had the opportunity to take that weekend together.

I knew as I packed my bags that I wanted to bring a part of Zach with us to Vegas.  I knew he'd like to know that there's a part of him here...

I decided that I would bring some of the pennies I have found since Zach's death and throw them into various fountains.

With each toss I pray and wish for something.

The first fountain was near the pool at the Hilton hotel.
I kissed the penny and tossed.
My prayer was for comfort...Comfort to all those hurting.

The second fountain was inside the Bellagio.
I kissed the penny and tossed.
My prayer was for peace...peace to all those needing it.

The third fountain was inside the Bellagio as well.
I kissed the penny and tossed.
My prayer was for Faith...Faith to everyone.

The fourth penny went into the Bellagio fountain show.
As the water shot out into the beautiful sky I threw the penny as far as I could and simply said, "I love you Zach".

I gave pennies to both my youngest daughter and nephew.  While my nephew decided to toss his penny into a fountain, my daughter wanted to save hers.

My husband took a self portrait of tossing his Zach penny into the same fountain. 

The following night I continued to toss pennies...

I kissed and tossed the 8th penny into a fountain at the Mandalay Bay.
My prayer was for wisdom...wisdom for all of us.

The 9th fountain was at the Luxor.
I kissed the penny and tossed it
My prayer was for Strength...I know there are days each of us feels as though we don't have any.

The 10th and final penny was kissed and thrown into the fountains outside Caesars Palace.
My prayer was for Love...That each one of us knows and feels the love that surrounds us.


While the process of tossing pennies into fountains is a nice and fitting way to remember Zach, with each toss comes pain and heartache.
I wish my son were here tossing coins into fountains, wishing for his own things...making us laugh and picking on his little sisters.

I ask that if you or someone you know is considering suicide to please be the person to make that call.  The call to ask for help, the call to help your friend and/or family member!  I hope and pray that this blog and my grieving journey will help others.  Together we CAN make a difference!

*Please note* We are NOT professional therapists or grief counselors! If you or someone you know is considering suicide - PLEASE seek PROFESSIONAL help IMMEDIATELY!
Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Photo...

I took this photo at Del Mar, CA
I thought the quote was perfect for those missing their loved ones.