Sunday, December 11th. Wow, little did I know at the time what a significant day this would be. In church that day, the subject was actually on death, and finding comfort in the lost of loved ones. I remember thinking "I know there are several people in this ward who really need to hear this. I'll just tuck it away for later when I might need to apply it." I gave a lesson to the Beehives that day on dealing with trials. There was a story in the lesson about a woman who lost a husband in a car accident while they were out celebrating their 20th anniversary. I admitted to the girls "I don't know if I could ever handle something like that." This lesson had me thinking about how much time I spend worrying about the next bump in the road. I decided that I should quit worrying and just enjoy the good times.
Birthday party. We were at my in-laws, celebrating mine and my sister-in-law's birthday. I started getting these strange text messages from people. My dad finally got a hold of me. I knew right away he had been crying. I thought "Oh, his dad must have passed away. Of course he's sad." He told me I needed to sit down, so I did. Then he spoke the words I never ever thought I would hear. "Zach is dead." "WHAT?" "Zach is dead." "No! How?" He told me what had happened, and I kept thinking that at any moment, my dad would say he was kidding. There was just no way it could be real. However, the most amazing thing happened.
As soon as my dad told me, a voice came to me: "He is ok." I felt in my heart that he was with loved ones, and I knew he was in a place where it is impossible not to be happy. I felt this sense of strength and comfort that I never expected to feel at a time like that. I was sad, but I have never been more sure that my Savior was standing there with me, carrying this burden with me almost immediately. It carried me through those first few days, and showed me that I had an inner strength I never knew I had. For the first time in my life, I knew what the power of the Atonement felt like. I knew what it meant to have your burdens carried by the Savior. I knew that He is real, and that He lives and loves us. Everything I had ever been taught became so much more real than it ever had been.
What I love the most about Zach's story is that it didn't end there. I know that his spirit lives on. I know that he has touched so many lives since his passing. He has sent messages of comfort to each of us in different ways since his passing. I know there have been times when he has been close by. Sometimes, my sweet little Brielle will be looking up at the ceiling and she will just start laughing for no reason. I can't help but feel that Zach is playing with her sometimes. I know he would have loved her. Even as I write this, I feel an incredible peace, thinking about the incredible things he is doing now. His life, his story is not over. We just can't be there to witness it right now. I know he is where he needs to be, and I also know that, at times, he is not far. One witness of this for me is an email my mom found about a month ago. One thing I have really struggled with is wishing I could know for sure that Zach knew how much I love him. Then out of the blue, this email shows up. I felt like he was sending me a message from above:
Z: "Hey Chelsea thanks for the great Easter weekend. It was a very fun time up there with you love ya sis."
ME: "I had loads of fun seeing you too bro. Miss ya and love you lots"
Z: "Thanks your the best sister love ya <3"
This short email is such a treasure to me now. So, I'll let his words end my post. I love you Zach, and I miss you everyday! I love this song because I feel like it's Zach telling me these things, so it's my song for him.