I write this post for Zack and his family, the Hamiltons. If you are not familiar with Zack’s story, check out the posts on his mom, Heather’s blog.
I have never met the Hamiltons and had never met Zack, their beautiful boy. In the way technology like the Internet, smart phones and social media have of creating opportunities that would never have otherwise existed, I came upon a tweet 10 months ago in which Heather indicated she was “preparing to say goodbye” to her son. As a mother of three boys myself, my heart broke. And I couldn’t help but follow as she so unselfishly shared her family’s story – the love, the pain, the sorrow, the Elmos, and more love – with the world.
I have known other parents who have lost their children, some from unexpected and shocking accidents and some from horrible, unspeakable illnesses. I’m always left to shake my head in disbelief and confusion, unable to comprehend any reasoning for such an event to take place. And I am caused, again, to think about how precious and fleeting life is. I squeeze my kids a little tighter when I hug them, and they furrow their brows a bit, wondering what is up with their mum.
But it was different with Zack. As I continued to read about his story and the Dream Room the family was creating in his honour at the hospital where he had spent so much of his short life, it somehow scratched into my heart in ways no other story had. And then it started. I started to see Zack’s face. Don’t worry; I’m going to explain.
As we take on the seemingly endless to-do lists in our lives as parents – work, home maintenance, laundry, meals, shopping, car maintenance, and on and on, who hasn’t had a moment of annoyance when their child asks for something? You know, they need a drink or a snack or a new movie, or “Mum, can’t you play this game, ONE more time?” When all we want is a moment to ourselves, or to be left alone to cook dinner, fold the laundry, finish up that one task for work. We sigh, we say, “Not right how, honey” or “In a minute, sweetie” and we think geeze, can’t I just get a break for a second?
As I set my work aside one day and followed my three-year-old son into the bathroom, to simply stand there while he did his business because he is quite capable on his own but just doesn’t like to be in the bathroom by himself, I was guilty of having one of those frustrated moments. I’m wasting time standing here, I thought to myself. And FLASH – a vision of Zack’s face popped into my mind. And my three-year-old, standing on his stool and washing his hands turned and said, “I love you mama.” And I sobbed. And I hugged my son like a maniac while I sobbed and kissed him and sobbed more and spoke words of thanks aloud that I have this boy, that he is with me, that I have the ability to stand and watch him do his business in the bathroom, or do any of the other million little things we are asked to do as parents.
My life, my children’s lives, my family’s daily experience changed that day. Because of Zack, I don’t get annoyed or frustrated when my kids ask me to do something that takes me away from something else. I don’t mind the time spent doing homework or playing Go Fish for the millionth time or helping them get dressed when they could easily accomplish that themselves. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not perfect, and when I sense that frazzled feeling coming on, I think, Zack. I envision his adorable face. It calms me instantly, I give thanks for whatever moment I’m in with my children and give them a bunch of love. Because I recognize so clearly that as parents, if we didn’t have those moments, wouldn’t we be wishing for them and wanting to give anything to have them?
So I find myself in a place of debt to Zack and the Hamilton family. How could I ever do anything to thank them enough? I can’t. There is nothing. But as they undertake the creation of a second room in Zack’s honour at York Central Hospital’s pediatric unit, I can at least help with that, by donating. The small amount of money I set aside each year to donate to a different cause in memory of my own parents is being used this year to help honour Zack in this way and bring some joy and comfort to other families facing an illness with their child. And, I can ask you to help, too, by choosing to start off your 2012 by donating to this special project. Please share this post and/or send the link to the donation site to your family, friends, colleagues – anyone you think could help to raise the impact of Zack’s legacy.
It hardly seems enough. It isn’t. But Heather says that Zack lived in her womb, in her home and now he lives in her heart. I also express my appreciation by stating the truth that Zack’s face and spirit live in my heart and in my home every single day, because of the difference his influence has made in my family.
To a family I have never met, and a boy I never knew: from the depths of my heart, I thank you.
To everyone else, I not only ask you to help by donating, I ask you to be more present and appreciative of the time you have with your own children. Or grandchildren. Or nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters. Enjoy and give thanks for every moment – the fun moments, the stressful moments, even the moments that seem mundane. Because what could be better than a moment like this?
About Dawn LyonsI love words. I write and edit professionally. I believe in the potential and ability of teenagers and help them consciously create their own success stories. I put love, passion and compassion into everything I do and spend everyday of my life being grateful for family, friends and all that is pricelessly valuable. View all posts by Dawn Lyons →
This entry was posted in Lyons Roars and tagged causes, children, death, death of a child, families, fundraising, grief, loss, Parenting, parents, Zack Hamilton, Zack's Dream Room. Bookmark the permalink.