Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We Celebrated!

Dear friends and family,

Gosh, we don't even know how to begin this message to you.

Our gratitude runs so deep and so far that to put it in an email is embarrassing. To say we were "overwhelmed at the outpouring of support" for Zachary's celebration would be a gross understatement. In addition to all of you who joined us, there were just as many who called or wrote to us to say, "I can't be there, but I'll be in white, barefoot." Cool.

The celebration itself was remarkable. Last minute weather took us all to our church home, where innumerable helpful hands poured out from seemingly nowhere to help us set up. (This was yet another example of how our Community Presbyterian Church family has surrounded us with love and generous support.) Friends and family from every facet of our lives came to join us. I distinctly remember every single hug from every single one of you.

Marcy and Gregory, our friends from church, performed "Praise You in the Storm", a song by the Christian group, Casting Crowns. (We'll include the lyrics as a separate post on the blog for you to see.) They seem to be written for us and our hope is that you can identify with them too. If you didn't get to hear Marcy's booming voice sing them, I highly recommend you download the song onto your iPod. You won't be sorry. Thank you, Kara, for insisting I hear this amazing song. I hear it in my sleep.

Speaking of songs, one of our favorite moments from the celebration was the balloon release. I don't think either one of us was prepared for how touching that would be. The sky was grey from the day's rain. In the background was Isaiah Kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". Recommended by Nancy, it was a perfectly whimsical version for the perfect little life of Zachary. After a beautiful introduction from Nancy (Genesis 9:12-17) and each person released a balloon, the sky was suddenly full of color. Purple, blue, red, green, and yellow ovals that quickly became dots. No one moved yet everyone marveled at the sky. When I finally took my eyes to the sky, I wept. For the first time, I felt Zachary "up there" and as the balloons floated higher and higher, Zachary felt further and further away. Yet, I could almost picture him gathering them, one by one, reading the adorable notes that were attached, as they reached Heaven. I felt the kind of glee a mother feels when her child grabs a balloon. It was the perfect way to send him off. And yes, there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky only moments after the balloons had been released. Zachary called the shots that day - he was there, somewhere, over the rainbow.

We are so honored that you came and more so, that you've shared with us your intimate and very personal stories of how our baby has touched your lives so profoundly. So many of you have shared that your walk with Christ is different now. WOW! Isn't it amazing how God is doing His work on us? He brought Zach to us and therefore brought us together - as friends, as a community, and as people to rejoice and to grieve. And He's bringing us closer to Him through all of it.

He's also brought us together to give. Your contributions to the "Little Z" Foundation have been remarkable! We thank you, so much, for entrusting us with your money to do something SO GOOD with it! We promise you (in the name of Zachary) that we will and we can't wait to share more about lives we get to touch because of your willingness to contribute. To date, we've received an amazing $1850! God is so good.

You've asked how we are...we're, well, sad. We miss Zachary so much. My friend Michelle told me of a dream she had the day after Zachary passed. Ready? She dreamed that Jesus was holding Zachary, bouncing him on his knee. I'm not sure if the image in my mind matches her dream, but I can almost hear him giggling. Can't you? So while we struggle to get through the tough stuff, we feel peace when our minds travel from the things we don't get to experience with him to the eventual time (eternity) that we will get with him. It's a process and we know we've got to take the ride.

You've also asked what you can do...please continue to pray, to call, to come by, to send messages. They heal us. They remind us that you are there. They make it ok to cry when we see you or talk to you.

Many of you have requested "our lessons from Zach" that we shared at the service. We'll be sure to include that in our next update to you. As you can imagine, the lessons just keep coming.

With so much love,

Kristen, Jimmy, Carter, Addison, and ZACHARY


Anonymous said...

Kristen & family - Amy Packee Hay sent me your blog, and I sit here crying. I wanted to express my sympathy to your entire family. I'll hold my baby a little tighter today in honor of your baby. Sisters in the Bond - Sara (Rasa) Sinks

Anonymous said...

Dear Kristen,

I also received your blog from Amy Packee Hay and am truly inspired by your faith. It is amazing the way you have let God lead you through this journey. I cry as I read your blog and reflect on my life and my children. You and "Little Z" have caused me to slow down and truly cherish every moment I have. Thank you for sharing this and for sharing God's love with all.
Loyally in the Bond,
Jenni (Lee) Highfill

Anonymous said...

Hey, Precious Family-
We are sorry to have missed Zach's party, while out of town and out of touch. Please know that the love you have written about receiving is just a harvest of good seed that you have put in the ground prior to this summer. And a sweet gift from a loving God. . .Here's some more love, Leigh Ann Crawford

Tally said...

I am so glad that the email from Amy also reached me. I have often thought of you and wondered about your life's journey. Of course, I wish a different occasion would have brought us back in touch. My heart aches due to your loss, however, I am thrilled to have learned of your beautiful family! The story of Zachary's life has truly touched me. I think it is awesome that through your time with your Zman you and Jimmy can see God's greatness and trust in His plan. When I mentioned it to my 9-year old daughter this evening, she said, "Well Mom, the wonderful thing is that we know he went straight to heaven." Out of the mouths of babes! How wonderful... that your "Little Z" is bouncing on Jesus' knee and forever watching over you, Jimmy, Carter and Addison. Continue to share your story as it is truly a lesson in faith. Your family is in my prayers.
Tally (Arey) Schieber