If you hang around Twitter, you may be aware of Heather‘s story. Her beautiful son, Zackie, slipped out of this world on March 10, 2011. Her blog posts are beautifully written and give us a real sense of who she is and what kind of a boy Zack was. Zack’s daddy, Paul, also wrote a heart-wrenching and raw post about his son.
I can’t even begin to fathom what Heather, Paul and their sons Ty and Jayden (Zack’s twin) are going through. To say good-bye to a child. It’s just… wrong.
If you do go on Twitter, you’ll likely see profile pictures (or avatars) that have a little Elmo on them. Many people have added the little red guy to their avatars to show their support and grief over the loss of a child. Zack loved Elmo. He was non-verbal, but so expressive. He would hum Elmo’s theme and loved the red, furry muppet. I wish I could have met Zackie.
To read Heather’s stream on Twitter, one would think the updates would be filled with despair. But the reality is quite the opposite. She is so positive and uplifting and supportive of others around her – even in this time in her life. It’s astounding.
I felt compelled to do more. To help. To do…. something. Anything. I don’t live near the Hamiltons. At least, not close enough to drop by food or something. And frankly, I can’t cook, so really, Heather and her family should be thanking their lucky stars I didn’t send food.
I thought of how much joy my blog books bring me and those who share in them with me. Heather has been blogging her journey of her life as a mom of a three boys, one of them special needs, for a little over a year. So, I put myself to work creating something special for Heather and Zackie. I took her posts and designed her blog book. I put her deepest sorrows and her happiest moments onto the printed page.
It was intended to be a surprise, but Heather started sniffing around Twitter asking about putting blog posts into a book, so I had to tell her before she put any time and energy into the project!
I also need to give a shout-out to Blurb for their fantastic customer service and allowing me to stop the presses to get one more post into the book that just HAD to go in.
The labour of love was delivered today. (Really, each book I do is a labour of love, but this one was just so meaningful to me.) Heather and I met about halfway, at a McDonald’s with a Playland so that our three-year-olds could play. And play they did! They had so much fun today. Heather and her son even brought a monster truck for my boy. He was completely over the moon. Still is.
I know personally how much emotion is in a blog book. Especially one that chronicles your life’s journey. We rarely go back and read our posts online, but put them in a book and they are there to thumb through at anytime. Seeing the pictures on the printed page are so much more powerful than seeing them on the screen. Reading the posts takes you right back to where you were when you wrote the words the first time. There were a few tears today in the McDonald’s Playland (and not just from the two little ones that bonked heads.)
The way I see it, the tears that are shed over memories are cathartic. The laughs shared over past events help us savour those moments again. My purpose in life is to help unlock those memories – or at least help get them down from those shelves and dust them off a bit.
As a mom.. as a woman.. as a human.. I felt I had to something to add a little bit of comfort – however small, however fleeting – into the lives of the Hamiltons. I hope this book does just that. I wish I could do more.
You can help by donating to Zack’s Dream Room that will be at York Central Hospital. In only the span of a couple weeks almost $10,000 has already been raised – a testament to the impact this little boy had in his three short years here. The goal is $25,000. Every little bit helps.
Ten dollars from every book I design will be donated to Zack’s Dream Room until the goal is reached.