Monday, September 14, 2009


I got a call at 5:30 Saturday morning from my mother. Everyone has a mental time frame of when their family can call to chat and when they call and you know something has to be terribly wrong. This was one of those times and in the split second that it took to register that my phone was ringing I tried to mentally prepare myself for what I was going to hear. I assumed that my Gram had taken a turn for the worse...I never imagined it would be my 21 year old cousin. After, what we believe to be an accidental overdose while spending time with friends, Zach was clinging to life through machines at a Nashville hospital.

I was the closest family member in proximity and there was no question that I should be the one to go, so I hurried around in a state of shock to shower, eat breakfast, pack a small bag and get on the road. For 3 hours I rode in my car going over the details in my head. Holy crap, what the heck has just happened? I felt stunned and numb except for the pit in my stomach and prayed for a miracle that only our God could make happen.

When I arrived I was embraced by my aunt who reassured me that he was fighting. Of course he was fighting, fighting was his job. Zach was a solider and he had spent time in Iraq, jumped out of airplanes and studied at West Point. These thoughts flooded my brain and as I watched him in the hospital bed I kept secretly thinking wake up, wake up, please please wake up. It would have been just like Zach to wake up, look around and crack a joke about being late to the party.

Zach never did wake up & our hearts are all broken on so many levels. I was thinking on the way home, and it's hard to swallow, that our family will never be the same and there will always be a void. Zach and I had a special bond {Justin & I were married on his birthday} & I am grateful for our memories. I keep thinking fondly back to the time that Zach came and stayed 2 weeks with me while I was in Austin. We ate lots of Chick-fil-A and watched hours of Laguna Beach. I laugh thinking of his impersonation of Kristin Cavillari. "SteeePHEN"

As a family of Christ followers, the Lord has affirmed to us that Zach is with Jesus in heaven and that brings a calming peace that gets us through the moments of questioning and the stunned disbelief. It was Zach's wish to be an organ donor, so his organs will go first to help any solider in need and then Nashville, TN and beyond. It is my prayer that the 20-50 people that will benefit from this special gift will live their life with the vitality, fearlessness & gusto that Zach approached every situation he encountered in his life.

{Zach & Me ~ November 2006}

Natalie Grant's lyrics keep playing in my head & now I fully get their meaning ~ Held

This is what it means to be held

How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life

And you survive

This is what it is to be loved and to know

That the promise was when everything fell

We'd be held