Tag Archives: Micah

work weekend

Well, we had it last weekend. The work weekend, where we picked up the slack for Zach. Quite a few people came: family members, LSU people, Greenville YMCA people. All in all there were over 25 people involved.

I took the red-eye out of SFO Thursday night, arriving in Atlanta around 7 in the morning having slept only a couple of hours at most. Sarah had come in the night before, so she was there. A group from Baton Rouge led by Micah and Julie came about noon. Ashley got home from work about 3:30 and by 4 we were on the road to South Carolina.

Despite promises being made, no one was at the camp when we arrived. The cabins were open and the lights worked but otherwise it was deserted. There was no cell service up on the mountain so reaching people was tough.

Jeremy persevered, though, and after about an hour he got through to someone who told us the director had a family emergency and had to leave. We got the info on where to sleep so we got settled before dark. Ally arrived about 9 with Noah, having done all the driving from Cincinnati. He came into the kids cabin just in time to interrupt Rosalie from getting to sleep. They were glad to see each other.

After that, Jeremy got a campfire started and more people I didn’t know started showing up in the darkness. Soon, stories of Zach were being told. I had the foresight of bringing my little hand held recorder and I let it run for a solid 45 minutes while stories were told around the campfire.I gave up around midnight. There were a few hardy souls still there.

The next morning after breakfast, everyone headed out to ‘Zeke’s Place’ to see what we were up against. Here’s what we found:

Before we started work, Jeremy got everyone in a circle and we all spoke briefly of our relationship to Zach. Ashley used her lovely phrase, ‘Brother-in-love,’ to refer to Zach. One of the Greenville people – I don’t remember who, but male – said they had a crush on Zach. That was after one of the women said the same thing, to knowing nods all around.

Then, to work. Noah jumped in and helped as much as he could.

We broke for lunch and returned to an afternoon of rain showers but the work continued steadily. We weren’t quite done when it was time to go to dinner, but some elves left quickly after dinner and went back to finish the roof before the light faded.

The next morning, almost everyone reconvened at the site for a celebratory picture. I never heard who Zeke was but heretofore, it will be known as ‘Zach and Zeke’s Place.’

Before that, on Saturday, there was an important other celebration to have. It was Noah’s birthday! Ashley had made a cake and someone – I never found out who – went into Brevard for Dolly’s ice cream. Gifts were given and songs were sung; cake and ice cream was eaten.

YMCA Camp Greenville has a chapel called ‘Pretty Place’. It’s where Jeremy and Ashley had gotten married nearly ten years ago. I never felt that ‘pretty’ was the best word for the spot. It’s much better than pretty. Anyway, Jeremy had encouraged everyone to come out to Pretty Place for the sunrise Sunday. I had heard 6:45 but when I got there about that time, the sun was already up and many people were already there. After the rain the day before, Sunday had dawned clear and warm, but pockets of fog were in the valleys below.

After snapping a couple of pictures, I sat down next to Sarah and took in the fabulous view and thought of the wonderful people that were there with me, giving some extra for Zach. I completely broke down.

on the basketball court

I was out today to see my therapist. I came away with some good things to address here which I still hope to do.

Meanwhile, on my way home I got a text from Jeremy. He said Micah sent him this picture from the just redone LSU UREC basketball court.

Thank you, Jeremy. Thank you, Micah. Thank you, everyone at UREC who got this done. I cried the rest of the way home.

celebrating Zach

Zach would have been 28 today. One year ago today, about 100 people gathered in San Francisco to celebrate his life. Every time I had to refer to the gatherings we had a year ago, I kind of choked on the word ‘celebrate’. We celebrate birthdays, we celebrate graduations, we celebrate weddings. We celebrate happy things, in my world. At least in my world before November 14th last year.

Now we gather to celebrate a life, but it’s a life that has ended. It doesn’t seem right.

I’ve said when I visit Rosalie, she shows me how to celebrate life. She lives life. The world is her oyster and she’s discovering something new every day. It was tremendously inspiring to be near her. (Remember, this is a grandparent that lives 3000 miles away talking. I don’t have to deal with the day to day hassles, the illnesses, the sulks.)

This blog is my celebration of Zach’s life. Like Rosalie, it is living. It’s not about Zach, per se, but inspired by Zach, by his discipline, and hopefully by his ability to see all sides of a point.

I remember when Zach told me he had been writing 75-80,000 word a year in a journal. I was impressed, but now that I’ve read much of it and I’ve tried myself to write on a regular basis, I’m in awe. I believe it was his housemate Jake who told me, back in the spring, that they had left his desk as it was as a testament to his work ethic and as an inspiration to him and Micah.

Through us, Zach lives. Happy birthday, son.

ghost bikes

A couple of weeks ago I re-posted a picture Micah had put on Facebook. It’s in this blog post.

Then last week I saw an article in the SF Examiner about ‘ghost bike’ memorials. You can read it here. What caught my eye more than the headline was the picture.

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Now I understand the lineage of what Micah (or Jake) was doing. There are a lot of important issues facing Americans these days and maybe this isn’t the most important but it’s important to me. Almost every day I see drivers doing dangerous things. They run the gamut from changing lanes without using turn signals to running red lights. I mean really red. I often see drivers rushing to be first on merges, too.

It all stems from people thinking they need to get somewhere now. Really, folks, what’s the rush? Three quarters of the time I see a guy (or woman) slide through the red right turn from Linda Mar to Highway 1 without stopping – or sometimes without even slowing down – I pull up along side then at the next light. Are you late to work? Late to getting the kids to school? Going to the grocery store? Hurrying home with your Chinese take out?

Whatever it is, it it worth killing someone? Yeah, I know, you’re a careful driver. I’m sure Shawn R. Allen would have said he was a careful driver before November 14th last year. Maybe he still thinks he is.

anniversary

Not even a week ago I put up a post with this same title. Today is the actual day and only a couple of hours after the time one year ago that Zach was killed. About this time on the west coast, phones were starting to ring with the unbelievable news. For me it was Jeremy who gave me the bald facts, then wailed, ‘My brother is dead!

I saw many nice tributes on Facebook this evening. Zach is not forgotten by anyone who came into contact with him. His two handed handshake that I was told is known amongst his friends as ‘The Wood.’ He told me once he read that the second hand assured that the person would remember you so that’s why he did it. Little did I know how so many would have to remember him and why.

For myself, I’m kind of empty tonight. I’m tired from a tough day physically at work and I have to get up early for a plane flight tomorrow. Happily the plane flight is to Georgia where I will drink in the elixir that is Rosalie.  Sometime this week, Jeremy and I will hoist one for Zach. Maybe we’ll cry together or maybe we won’t but we will surely gather strength from each others presence.

On the Tuesday of that week, the Baton Rouge Police called us to say they were through gathering evidence from the bike and we could come and get it. Not really knowing what to expect, I went over there. The bike was completely trashed but I took it anyway because I didn’t know what else to do. The next day I set it out by the road in front of his car.

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If you look carefully, you can see some of the marks on the road where the truck came to a stop with Zach underneath it. We left town somewhat hurriedly (I thought) that Saturday to get up to Michigan for a celebration there and I forgot to do anything about the bike. Today his roommate Micah posted this picture. He didn’t say and I can’t really tell, but it looks like it’s in their garage.

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