A song on the radio, a simple song. I couldn’t remember if it had come out before Zane died. So my heart started pounding. You’re thinking, Google it, the year. Sure I could but not before my heart went nuts. I can’t control my stupid heart. Why does it matter if a song came out in his lifetime? Because I feel guilty if I listen to a new song and I think he might like it. That’s why.
Last week Joe and I drove Kai’Dyn, Riot and Koii to church camp, Briarwood in the Dallas area. The same camp the boys went to for years. As we pulled up to camp, things had changed. I knew the Christ Center had been built but I had not been there since. Zane’s last year there was 2015, the year it opened so he was able to enjoy it.
We met Riot’s councilor, Blake. He said it was his first year so I asked how old he was. That’s when we made a connection, he went to camp with Zane, Blake is 18. He didn’t remember his name but he recognized Zane’s face when I showed him a picture. I told him I would bring more pictures when I picked up the kids. Pastor Amanda sent me several from 2015 so I had them printed out. I gave them to Blake and a few of the other councilors. They all found themselves in the pictures. I told them to keep them and give them to the one councilor that wasn’t there at the time I picked up the kids, Kyle. This guy, Kyle, was able to get Zane to open slightly up. In the pictures he was smiling, participating! And in a few videos he was dancing! What??? Apparently Kyle has a way with kids. In EVERY picture, except the canoeing, Zane was wearing his classic black beanie. You couldn’t mistake him. Even in the humid 100°+ heat. Silly kid.
That year was Zane’s confirmation year at church. I gave him the choice to go to camp, knowing he didn’t really want to go. I would never force him, but he went. Richard, another kiddo from church was supposed to go to camp as well. I’m 99% sure Zane knew that Rich would only go if he went so off to camp they both went. Rich looked up to him immensely. When he died, Rich was devastated (as was everyone else but in a different way). We asked him to be a pallbearer.
As we were sharing the photos, Richard’s name came up. Their faces lit up. They all said he opened up this year, started talking more and participated. They said it was a great week for him at camp the week before the kids went. I am so so happy for Rich. I’m glad that he can overcome a personal tragedy.
Taking the kids to camp this year was definitely bittersweet. It was needed tho, good memories. A piece of my son is there at Briarwood. He left a mark there. That’s all I can ask for 💜.