Tag Archives: Clark E.

that awful night

‘That awful night’ has been my code phrase for the night two years ago when Zach was killed. I’ve been thinking about it a lot in the last couple of months. Actually, not about the night itself, but the anniversary of it. I’ve been thinking that while I certainly won’t forget what happened on this date, I want to focus on celebrating Zach on his birthday rather than his death day.

The group I was going to in Santa Clara, Compassionate Friends, begins each monthly meeting with a reading of the names of those who died in that month. They also read the names of those who were born. I was never comfortable with that, though. I really wanted – and I still want – to focus on moving forward rather than looking back.

This blog, which began as a tribute to Zach, has become a chronicle of my activities and thoughts. Sometimes they are looking backwards, but more often they are in the moment and with a positive outlook. This, I believe, is how Zach would prefer that he be remembered. In the words of his grandfather Clark Ewing, ‘Pick up the slack for Zach.’ Do something positive, push yourself a little.

I’ve been staying since Monday in Spokane with my friends Peter and Nanci. Peter had a stroke three years ago and has limited speech ability and his right side is paralyzed. The three of us have had discussions about trauma, about change in our lives, and even some good talk about people we knew in high school. In some ways, Peter’s condition reminds me of my father’s. In both cases, their intellect is intact but the mechanism for connecting that intellect to the rest of the world doesn’t work properly. For Peter, there have been some positive signs: he can walk a little with a cane; he has been able to speak a few new words. For my father, I fear there will be no return.

For both men, those who love them have to treasure what we have and not get wrapped up in what we don’t have,

Yesterday was a good day. I helped Nanci hang some cabinets and fixed a broken door. The wind blew the hot water heater pilot out in the afternoon and I helped relight it. But we didn’t go anywhere, we just stayed near each other and talked and treasured the moments.

Zach memorial fund

I checked around and I was surprised to find that I hadn’t mentioned this fund here before. I guess it was kind of passé by the time I started writing here.

In the larger sense, this all begs the question of memorials to Zach. This blog is a memorial. His Hobbes in my bedroom is a memorial. Etc.

Anyway, I happened to think of this fund the other day and today I wrote a check to it. I never saw any accounting of the donations so I hope it’s all legit. Actually, YMCA Storer Camps is legit and so are the people running it so I have no real worries.

The fund honors not only Zach but also his grandfather Clark. It provides money for kids to go to camp (‘camperships’) who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Storer, and Clark Ewing, were huge reasons why Zach was the great person he was.

So if you’re looking for a charity to send money to, consider this one.

Make out checks to: YMCA Storer Camps. Send to Z. Clark/Clark E. Campership Fund, c/o Director Becky Spencer, YMCA Storer Camps, 6941 Stony Lake Road, Jackson, MI 49201

Clark

Zach’s middle name is Clark. It’s the name of his maternal grandfather, Clark Ewing.

Clark Ewing ran a YMCA camp in Jackson, Michigan for many years. Actually, it is at Stony Lake near Napoleon. Both Jeremy and Zach spent almost every summer there as youths but more importantly, they were counselors there as teenagers. Clark’s influence spread throughout the whole world of YMCA camping so there are many people who were improved by him but for Zach he was Grandpa Clark too. He learned at the feet of the master.

I’m told that when the news of Zach’s death was given to Clark, he was silent for about a minute then he said, “Zach is gone and what he would have accomplished will not happen so the rest of us need to pick up the slack for Zach.”

I’ve been thinking of Clark today because next week is his 90th birthday and I wrote him a card. There’ll be a party amongst the Ewings and others in Michigan. I can’t be there so I thought it would be nice to give him a shout out in this space as well.

Happy Birthday Clark! You are a giant among men.

clark-and-z-clark-2

why not .com?

When I started this whole thing through WordPress, they suggested I use .com for my website domain. I was surprised to find thezachproject.com was taken so rather than have .org or .net, I thought .us would work best. I’m sure it’s meant to represent the United States, but I prefer to think that it indicates a spirit of inclusiveness.

I wouldn’t mind if this becomes a place where those of us who loved Zach can remember him & carry on in his spirit to do great things. As Clark Ewing said, ‘Let’s pick up the slack for Zach!’

(BTW, I went to thezachproject.com & found no web site there so I guess someone bought the name and never published anything. I’m already used to the .us, though.)