Here is another sad cancer story. It’s a tragedy that so many of our Blessed Dead were taken from this world because of cancer. I’d like to extend extra blessings to those who are inflicted with this disease, as well as extra support to those who love those who are inflicted with cancer.
Zach was one of the first kids to talk to me when I moved back to Montana. I was shaken and upset about moving from Washington, and had a hard time adjusting. We were a natural fit as friends – outcasts, creative, nerdy, and socially awkward.
Zach loved art, but most of all he loved music. He could play the piano beautifully, and he sang all the time. He played a song on the piano for me once, and it was so beautiful I cried. But with all of his art, he was a brilliant scientist as well. He traveled throughout the US going to conferences, schools, classes, camps and workshops. His focus was water purity, and he would have worked wonders and changed the world, if only given more time.
Out of all of the lessons Zach taught me, it was one of magic. He loved fantasy books and was an avid reader of all genres. We’d play these elaborate fantasy games and create extraordinary worlds. To Zach, the world was magic, and magic was real. It was alive. The world was full of creativity and wonder. He had an active, lively, beautiful imagination, and he encouraged creativity in others. Because of Zach, my journey into Paganism has been easy. Like me and Zach, me and magic have been a good fit.
I wasn’t always nice to Zach. The other kids didn’t like him very much, and sometimes I’d ignore him so I could hang out with the “cool” people. I wish I hadn’t done that. He was bullied a lot in his life. He was beat up a lot, sexually assaulted, and basically tortured. Was he gay? Was he bi? It didn’t really matter. He was beautiful and full of love.
That’s all that matters when it comes to life. Be like Zach. Be full of life. Be full of beauty. Be full of love.
I knew Zach had cancer, but he kept the severity of it from me. On the day of my wedding he sent me an email that was basically “let be your Jewish momma and spit on your on your big day. Ptt ptt ptt!” This might have been the last correspondence we ever had.
He got more and more sick, and finally it was pneumonia that killed him. When I found out I was devastated. I cried and I cried and I cried. That night, I got drunk, wore black, and danced all night at the goth club. It still makes me angry when I think about how young he was. There are so many shitty people out there. I know it’s unfair of me to say it, but why couldn’t the cancer have taken them? Why did they have to take Zach?
I cried for months after Zach died. I dreamed of him all the time. My heart was still breaking constantly. But one night, I had a dream that was unlike the others. In my dream he came to me and said “Amanda, you can’t keep on doing this. You need to stop crying.” He said “you can’t keep holding on like this. Let me go. You have my blessing. Let me go.”
And I haven’t dreamt of Zach since.
But that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten. I still mourn his passing and cry when I remember he is gone. There is a hole in my heart and in my life, knowing he is not spreading his love and beauty and brilliance around the world. His photo gets a place of prominence on my ancestor's altar, with my grandmothers’ jewelry. When I encourage creativity, imagination, and magic, I do so in honor of Zach. Sometimes I still can’t imagine that he’s gone. He was so young – a brilliant scientist, an amazing artist, and a loving man. Because of Zach, magic is alive in my life.