Please remember Zachary. Tell us when you think of him. Speak his name out loud.
When we worry that everyone has forgotten him. When no one, but us, has uttered his name in days. When it hits us for the 1000th time that we are the only ones who feel his minute-to-minute absence. Sometimes, just when we need it, morsels of Zachary-remembrance appear out of nowhere...
A framed photo of me and C.T., Zachary's name in the sand, from a fellow bereaved father, as a gift for B on Father's Day.
A doctor we know, unaffiliated with Zachary's or my care, who says he's inspired to be a better doctor after witnessing our love for Zachary. He carries Zachary's memorial card in his pocket each day.
Jewelry that acknowledges all three of my boys, from a friend.
A healthy meal, made and delivered weekly, my friend saying that regardless of whether we still need that kind of help, she wants to remind us of the impact Zachary has had on her and her family.
A giraffe ornament (Zachy's animal) from my mother.
Heartfelt words about Zachary, and our family's loss, from someone I have never met in person, a client of B's, who has made a point to send another card.
A hand-knitted giraffe Christmas stocking for Zachary, commissioned by a friend.
An opportunity for kids in C.T.'s class to contribute to a Zachary remembrance book, organized by a friend.
Flowers in memory of Zachary and breakfast fixings stocked in the refrigerator, from my sister, upon returning home from our botched Caribbean trip. She knew coming home (once again, without Zachary) would be hard.
...These are just some of the more recent Zachary memorials. And they don't speak to the countless memorials in the immediate aftermath of his death, or the more regular forms of remembrance that quietly sustain us, day after day, week after week.
A few people have been moved to do something for their communities, in memory of Zachary. Each gesture has warmed our hearts, that we have family and friends who care enough to memorialize him.
My friend, Sara, ran her first half-marathon in memory of Zachary, and then made her race donation to an organization that we care about (Humanitarian Service Project: same as I referenced in my post, Knowing my children). It was so special to see her holding a poster with photos of Zachary, his life seen as an inspiration.
Two of B's aunts, Dede and Debbie, joined up with other bereaved families at a 5K fun run, in memory of Zachary and B.W. The Little Warrior Fun Run, held near Birmingham, AL was an inaugural event sponsored by the parents of Wyatt Parker, who died at four days old in October of 2013. All donations went to a local medical auxiliary group that helps families navigate the unthinkable, in and through the death of a child.
Another friend, Kerry, was inspired to involve children in her community to do a sewing service project, in Zachary's memory. Pre-K and kindergarten children helped sew "love-y" dolls, and first through eighth grade students sewed blankets, all of it donated to the local children's hospital NICU where she lives. Two weeks later, Kerry also conducted a blanket drive where people were able to make a monetary donation to sustain an ongoing commitment to making blankets for NICU patients.
When someone speaks Zachary's name, when he is remembered by gestures, small or big, we are reminded that he is loved and that his life mattered to others. It means so much to us.