One of the neighbor boys, who is now in eighth grade, recently took his entrance exam for the college prep school he will attend in the fall. The essay portion of the exam he took asked students to identify and discuss someone who has had a meaningful impact in your life.
He could have chosen anyone. A parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle. God. A coach or teacher. An author, musician or sports figure. Someone he looks up to, someone who inspires him.
He chose to write about Zachary. Yes, my Zachary. When his parents asked him about the exam, he explained how he wrote that Zachary taught him about life's frailty and to never take his siblings for granted. His mother told me a few weeks ago and I wanted to collapse with gratitude in her arms.
I long to hear Zachary's name on the lips of others. I want to know that he is loved and missed, that his life was and is significant to others, even while it was miserably and painfully short to his immediate family. To know that this (then) seventh grader was deeply affected by Zachary, so much that he chose to write about him over other meaningful influences in his life (and over a year after Zachary's death), touched my grieving heart.