Friday, April 27, 2012

Balloon Release in Memory of Zach

We ended Zach's birthday by releasing 20 Birthday Balloons to Heaven.

We each took a turn sending a single balloon to Heaven, then we all gathered together and released the rest of them all at once.

It was beautiful watching them continue to rise.
I like to imagine Zach receiving them in Heaven.

Happy Birthday my lovely son.
We MISS you and LOVE you so much!

Happy Birthday Zach

Today marks 20 years since I gave birth to my son Zachary.

I remember being in labor hour after hour just wishing for my labor to be over.
I wasn't definite on what I was having before he was born, but I had a good idea I was about to have a son.

I was young when I had Zach and a fan of two popular 90's shows.  One being 90210 and the other Saved By The Bell.  Thus, I named my boy after my favorite characters, Zachary & Dylan.

Seems silly now that I'm a "real adult" and not a 17 year old girl giving birth to her first child, but it's always a fun story to share with people.

I imagine that if Zach were here today he'd probably ask for the latest electronic device or maybe something for his car.

I imagine we'd be with him or planning another trip to see him.

I also imagine him spending most of the day playing around and making sure everyone knew he was no longer a teenager, but an adult...he's now 20 and everyone would know.

I imagine him talking with his friends and probably his dad about how they would have to celebrate his 21st birthday in Vegas.  Even though we'd been to Vegas many, many times, Zach often talked about just he and his dad going to Vegas and having fun together.

While imagining all of these things brings a temporary smile to my face I know none of these things could ever happen for Zach and our family.

Zach's decision to end his life on April 8th, 2011 stopped all future event planning with him.

I've spent many hours blaming others for what they did or didn't do.  I've spent hours blaming myself for what I did or didn't do.  I have revisited mistakes I made as a mother, wondering if ultimately this was all my fault.  I've spent hours in counseling and have heard the same thing over and over again...

"This is all normal"..."Your feelings are normal".

Being told everything you're going through is normal, doesn't always make the pain any easier to handle.

My baby boy should be celebrating his 20th birthday today with his friends and family.  Instead we mourn his death and pray for healing and peace.

I'd like to remind you that whatever is happening in your life at this moment, good or bad is a moment in your life.  Our lives are made up of "moments"...each one passing and soon you're living a new "moment".

Please don't let a bad "moment" dictate your decision to live or die.

What you are going through right now may be the worst thing you can ever imagine going through.  I know I feel that way myself. However, you CAN and WILL make it through it.  You were given this "moment" to develop who you are and shape your future.

For me, I find that using this "moment", (a "moment" that will last the rest of my life) to help others is the best way to remember my son and honor him. 
Not just on the anniversary of his passing or his birthday, but every day.

Whether it be in writing, speaking with someone or simply wearing the Friend of Zach bracelets we had made, I choose to honor his memory by remembering him...the good times as well as the not so good times.

I remember to thank God for blessing my life with him...even if my time with him on earth was cut short, I'm still grateful for every moment I was given.

I give thanks and think about the joy he brought to so many lives.

Does doing this take away the pain?
I truly believe nothing will ever take away the pain and heartache of his death. 
However, I can say it does help and it does bring me a sense of "peace" knowing that I'm doing something to honor his memory and his life.
Something to hopefully help others in need so their families don't have to live the life I am living.

Please REACH OUT and help someone you think is in need.
Even if you think they are "only doing it for attention".
IF they are doing this for attention, give it to them.  HELP Him/Her.
Make that call - Call 911 or The Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

If YOU are considering suicide, PLEASE Reach Out for Help!
Call 911 or the Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
They are there 24 hours day/ 7 days a week.

You have many more birthday's to celebrate!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A year passed....

A year has passed since Zach's death. 

I'm  not sure where the past year has gone or how I've mustered the strength to do the things I have done and where the strength was when I needed it but didn't have it.

Easter Sunday fell on April 8th this year.  My family and I celebrated Easter by eating at Zach's favorite restaurant, Joe's Crab Shack.  We also purchased and planted several flowers in his garden as well as some little garden "treasures" that reminded us of him.  Each of us spent time crying and laughing as we shared stories about Zach.

April 19th marked 1 year since Zach's funeral.  I felt fortunate to spend that day at Chalene Johnson's PUSH Live event in LA.  Some grieving parents wouldn't dream of doing something so fun on such a sad, sad day.  However, for me, I wanted to do something that would uplift me and in turn uplift my family.  And it did just that.  While I was there I learned a lot...a lot about personal development, a lot about why I'm doing what I'm doing...or not doing.  While there we were asked a question.  I came up with an answer that I've been telling myself is true, even though I know it's not.

The question was:  "Do you believe that "fear" may be holding you back from doing some of the things you know you need to do?"

My answer: "Some.  Maybe if I'm happy people will think I stopped thinking about Zach -- which could NEVER happen.  Maybe others will forget him or not bring up his name because they will think I don't think about him.  Maybe others will forget my amazing and loving son.  That scares me.  I don't want people to forget him and I don't want people to think that I've forgotten him."

I wonder how many other people think this way.  How do we break this train of thought?  If I had the opportunity to call Zach in Heaven today and ask him, "Is it okay if I am 'happy' or do something 'fun'?"  He would say, "YES!!  I'm happy, you should be too."  Instead I sit back and worry about the judgement of other grieving parents and I shouldn't...and neither should you!!

I'm not suggesting that we will "get over our loved ones death".  That's simply not possible.  What I'm suggesting is that we take steps forward to live the best possible life we can and honor our loved ones by helping those who come into our lives. 

I'm writing this today because I want everyone who ever stumbles upon this blog to know, that I am going to live the rest of my life being the best parent, wife, Christian, business owner and friend I can possibly be.  Will I have days of overwhelming sadness?  Most certainly...but I'm also going to allow myself to have days of overwhelming happiness.  I'm going to listen, learn and grow.  I'm going to use my experience and honor my son's memory by helping as many people as I can.  I don't expect it all to come together overnight, but I do expect it to come together as well as it possibly can.

I didn't ask for this "purpose" in my life, but I've learned that if talking to others comes easy for me, which many times it does, then I should do it and I encourage you to do it as well.

When it comes to suicide awareness and prevention...or a cause you believe in, the best asset we have is our mouth and our experience.  I feel it is our responsibility to help those who come into our lives and need us. 

As I do in most every blog, if you are reading this and YOU feel suicidal or that no one cares or have read this thinking, "See my family will be okay after I'm gone."  Please KNOW that, you couldn't be more wrong!  I am not "Okay" without my son.  As a mother, I feel broken.  I probably always will.  I feel as though I have a huge hole in the center of my heart.  I cry out for him, I wish so much I could change the situation I am in.  I hope and pray...I BEG you to reach out for help.  Please don't make a decision that will forever hurt and shatter your family.  YOU DESERVE TO BE HERE!  WE DESERVE TO HAVE YOU!  You are LOVED!  You are NEEDED!  Do you know someone SMILES when they think of you?  It's true!

Please make the call to get help! 
Call 911 or 1-800-273-8255. 
They are there 24 hours a day/7 days a week. 

If YOU know someone who needs help, make that call FOR YOUR FRIEND!!  You will NEVER regret saving his/her life!

- Melissa
Zach's Mom

Friday, April 6, 2012

One Year Ago...Remembering Halee

I can't help it...I've been watching the clock like a hawk watches prey since yesterday morning.  Retracing Halee and Zach's steps...wondering what made her decide that April 6th would be her last day on earth.  I wondered how many times she laughed, how many time Zach laughed that day. 

As 10pm came and went in my California time zone I knew that one year ago Halee laid in Zach's arms, told him she loved him and left him two beautiful photos of herself. 

As midnight passed in my time zone I knew Halee was on her way home, to end her life.

So many rumors surrounded her death...and later the death of my son Zach.

To clear up a few...There was no fight between Halee and Zach.  Zach did not break off his date with Halee to the prom, Halee did not tell Zach she was going to end her life and this was not a planned "suicide pact."

Like anyone else here on earth who loved Halee, had Zach known what Halee was going to do, he wouldn't have let her leave that night.  He would have followed her home and told someone.  He would have held her down with his two arms to keep her safe...

One year ago my son's heart was broken along with hundreds of others.  He cried and cried...I could hardly make out the words he was saying to me...I kept asking him, "What?" "What?" 

One year life changed.  I had no idea just how much it would change until I received my own phone call on April 8th that my son had been found...he was already gone.

From my broken heart, I beg and plead that you reach out and help someone in need!  DON'T leave them alone!  If you are afraid they may hurt themselves...STAY with them, call the police, tell your parents, friends, family...ANYONE!  Don't leave them alone!

If you, yourself are feeling suicidal, please, reach out for help.  Don't stay in and alone.  REACH OUT!  PLEASE!  You have are LOVED and NEEDED by sooo many!  You may think that no one cares, but everyone cares! 
Please call 1-800-273-TALK or 911 and get some help! 
 By you reaching out for help and receiving help you may one day help someone else!