On Friday February 23, 2018 I received a phone call. On the other end of the line was Aaron Pennington, one of Zachary’s best friends. He called to say Zachary had been on his mind and he needed to let me know. He thanked me for allowing him and all of Zachary’s friends to be a part of memorial celebrations. He thanked me for keeping all of them close and not shutting them out. He expressed great appreciation for inviting all of them to Waffle House each December 26th to Celebrate Zachary’s memory.
It never once occurred to me that I was doing anything for all of them. I only knew what all of them were doing for me. Gathering with Zachary’s friends brings great comfort to me. It lets me know that his memory lives on and people still miss him. They tell me great stories, some I have heard before and some are new, but all of them warm my heart. They let me know that Zachary had incredible relationships with incredible people.
These young people amaze me, they have shown up for me at Waffle House each year beginning in 2013 the day after Zachary passed. They are fiercely loyal to his memory and to me. The bonds Zachary had with these incredible people are clearly the kind that last a lifetime. It also warms my heart to hear what they are doing, new jobs, new relationships, new houses, new cars—all the things that Zachary should be doing. They are a large, important part of my grief journey; they are needed in my healing process.
So, to Aaron Pennington, and all the others that continue to stay in contact with me, please accept my thanks. Each one of you are much appreciated and forever a part of my heart.