I did suit up and do the liturgy on Sunday. My colleague and friend, honorably retired PCUSA minister, Rev. Don Steele, put the worship service together and preached as he did the week before. Don also officiated at Zach's two memorial services. We had a big one for the community on July 15th and a private one at the funeral home with family on July 3rd. Don was with us as we completed Zach's journey at the crematorium on Independence Day. I am grateful for Don and grateful that he and his partner, Jeffrey, have moved to Elizabethton.
week I will put the worship service together and will preach on
Sunday. This Sunday marks my seventh anniversary with this
congregation. This month also marks the sixth anniversary of Shuck
and Jive. Those who have read this blog know that I use to it to
process a lot of things. I started it because of grief.
It was my grief regarding a move and, I know it is hard to write this
without it sounding weird, the impending descent of industrial
Now I grieve over my dead son, Zachary.
I'll take the collapse of industrial civilization any day.
am blogging as part of my grief work. Not everything by any means
will be posted here. I will create a private blog for the private
stuff. I seek to be careful to honor my family's privacy and to honor
Zach's memory. A little public grief will be OK. You all are
welcome to read and comment. I will try to tell the truth. For
obvious reasons, I will only write about my experience, not my
family's. I don't do it because I think it is going to help anybody.
Maybe it will someday. I really don't care right now. I do it for me.
I write may sound raw. That is because it is. I assure you that this
is grief. I don't need anyone to do anything about it. Don't worry.
It's OK. Really. So you know, I am doing some things that I think
are healthy and helpful. I am using my six EAP counseling hours from
the Presbyterian Board of Pensions and have scheduled grief counseling
with an out of town professional. I likely will be using more than
six. As suggested, I have been reading Robin's blog. Thanks, Robin. : )
finally got my eyes checked. Those glasses that I can hardly see out
of because the lenses are all scratched up? Those ones? I am getting a
new pair. They will be ready in a few days. I purchased a membership
to the Franklin Fitness Center. I also got one for my daughter so we
can play racquetball. Zach left two full bottles of men's
multi-vitamins. There must be about 400 of these vitamin pills. I am
going to take one each day and pretend I am ingesting a little bit of
I went to a couple of bookstores and stocked up
on some grief books. We have them lying around the coffee table and
check them out to see if we are normal. I washed my son's car, cleaned
and vacuumed it, and had the oil changed. The car radio was on the
classic rock station. The man liked good tunes. His car and the
truck he used to drive that no longer runs are in the driveway. I have
heard that a charitable organization will take them and transform them
into good deeds. That sounds like a plan when I am ready to let them
We do laugh a lot. And cry. And sigh. A lot of
sighing. I also say "Shit" and "Fuck" more often than your everyday
man of the cloth might. The poor dogs. They are getting exercise. I
am walking the legs off the little buggers. I like to walk through the
cemetery. I take longer with them now. I stop more often for sniffs
I wrote my letter for the August
newsletter to the congregation. I wrote that I want to avoid two
things. I want to avoid pretending that I can "do my job" as if nothing
happened. On the other side I want to avoid using the congregation as
group therapy. I hope to be professional and authentic. And
practically perfect in every way. I doubt that I will be a perfect
little griever. That's OK. You don't have to be perfect either. So
how about we go with that?
I said I didn't want to talk to anyone and that I wanted to run away.
Well, yeah, but not all the time. I do like to talk about Zach. I'll
show you pictures. Here he is rocking out.
I don't want him to fade. I like to say his name. I like it when others say it, too.
Everywhere I look are Zachs. We named him Zachary in the late 80s and it
appears his name is coming of age. It is going to be so hard watching
all of these young men do the things we hoped Zach would do.
Time for a cry...