Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Zachary's first birthday

One year ago today, at 4:22 p.m. CT, the most beautiful and feisty baby boy made his dramatic entrance into our world.  I was smitten well before Zachary arrived, but birthing him, seeing and hearing and holding him for the first time, was truly the most amazing experience of my lifetime.  I have fallen into despair several times today, because after all, my beloved son is dead on his first birthday.  But throughout the day, even as the reality of his ultimate fate gnawed at me, I tried to consciously hover on the glorious day of his birth.  I tried to focus on the beauty and pure joy of my son Zachary, who would be one year old today.  He was so truly amazing.  On the day of his birth, I could hardly believe I was to have the privilege of being his mother.             

The weather here today was just as cold and brutal (although with not as much snow) as it was last year when Zachary was born.  School was cancelled today and so, C.T. was home with me.  We made a special box where the three of us will stash memories and love notes to Zachary over the course of the next fourteen days.  Each of the days of his life had special meaning and new experiences for us, and I want to get them down on paper.  C.T. wrote his note for today, unprovoked, between dinner and cake.  It simply said: January 7, 2015, Zachary I would have done anything for you. 

We spent the evening of Zachary's birthday at Feed My Starving Children, an organization that has worked with big name food manufacturers to develop nutritional and easy-to-pack meals for malnourished and at-risk communities all over the world.  Our shift was able to pack 32 boxes of food tonight, the equivalent of 26,784 meals (likely to go somewhere like Haiti, though I should find out by email when they know for certain).  I didn't know it when I signed us up for the shift, but our shift packed a formula specifically for children six months to one year and for children who have difficulty swallowing.  It is still hard for me to believe and accept that these kids are surviving while my Zachary, with access to the highest level of medical care, nutrition and protection from disease, who had such a strong prognosis and outstanding odds to thrive, did not.  Alas, it did feel positive to do something tangibly helpful to the world, specifically in Zachary's memory.  The family in the photo with us is my sister, her husband and my nieces. 
Every day of Zachary's life, we will be lighting an additional luminary outside of our house (in the evenings), until there are fourteen blazing, on the anniversary of the day he died.  Tonight, we lit a single luminary for him outside, on our front step.  It is something so small, probably unnoticeable to drivers-by.  But, we seem to need this.  We need to be able to randomly eek out a bit of this love for Zachary, which now has no physical landing place because he died. 
So many people spoke or wrote Zachary's name today, so many wanted to support us and do something to honor him.  It continues to mean so much to us.  The next thirteen days are the anniversaries of many highs and many, many extreme lows in Zachary's life.  I will try to share some of them here, as I have the strength.        


  1. I may not always comment but I read each and every post you write. Your comment about having no landing place for the love you have for Zachary made me think of this quote I put on my fb page one day. 'Grief is love with nowhere to go'. Happy birthday sweet Zachary.. I'm prying for a peace that surpasses all understanding for your mama today and always.

  2. Like Em, I have been quiet, but reading every post. I'm so sorry Zachary isn't here to celebrate his first birthday. It is just so terribly unfair. You are all in my thoughts and I hope these next weeks can be what you need them to be, which is not enough, never enough... <3 Zachary <3

  3. Happy birthday, Zachary. What beautiful luminaries are lighting the way for you!

  4. Happy birthday, dear Zachary. Wishing strength and peace to you and your family as you navigate the days ahead. XO

  5. Thank you all so much for saying his name and for reading.