In Memory of Zac

I have just come from the funeral service of a young man. He was just eighteen years old.

Zac volunteered with us several years ago. He came with his sister and his mother.  It wasn’t his thing at first but he jumped into it like he did everything else in life, with everything he had.

He was so small his first day here, he struggled to lift the heavy water buckets. But he put his all into it; making quite sure each bucket was properly scrubbed and filled. We joked about the day he would become “farm strong.”

And he did. It wasn’t long before he could hoist a bucket like a pro. He would complete the assigned chores and ask for more.

Eventually, he brought a friend to the farm. I watched as he showed his buddy the merits of barn work. I watched as he explained, in a soft voice, that horses are sensitive and have the ability to understand when a human heart needs to be touched with love. I did not know his friend’s circumstance but could easily see that Zac wanted his friend to feel the power of love. And I watched as he touched one of the ladies, with awe in his eyes, with so much compassion that my heart burst. Each horse he spoke to or touched responded with love.

I remembered being amazed at his tender soul.

Years passed and we didn’t see Zac very often. But, as life in a small community goes, we are all connected. My son in law, Jake, is and has been very close with Zac’s family most of his life. His sister, Jo, is Zac’s best friend.  We saw Zac’s parents often in and about our social lives. They are friends we may not see daily but it’s always good when we get together.

So, it wasn’t difficult to keep up with Zac. He loved his time in the Jr ROTC. He kept friends and family laughing. His beaming smile at Prom and his positive energy were plastered all over Facebook. He graduated from high school with pride and had plans for an adventurous life.

Then, in a moment of utter despair,  a single moment, he took his own life.

We wish we had one more moment. We wish so much we had known Zac needed us… because he was there when we needed him. But we didn’t know. No one knew.

So many wishes. None of which matter now.

I will always remember Zac’s voice, talking quietly to the mares. I can still see Arc Bar Miss lean into his soft hands as he reassured her that all was well in her world. I will remember his brilliant smile as he lifted a water bucket with ease and the way he explained to his friend that each horse has her own personality.

I know our heavenly herd greeted Zac. And I know he was carried into Heaven with true horse power.

I bet he has already scrubbed the water buckets and whispered our love to them.

Some souls are too kind for this world; some hearts are just too tender and simply can not survive.

Zac was like that. Kind, compassionate and  unbelievably sensitive.

I am again reminded of the words from Mims in the dream that changed my life: “The veil between this world and the next is very thin…”

Godspeed, Zac. Fly on the wind. Your time on the Earth was only short because you already earned your wings.

Prayers for the broken hearts left behind, including my own.

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