Tuesday, December 25, 2007

December 25

Most of us can recall Christmases past, especially the most recent one. Last Christmas was our first Christmas in our new home and it was filled with people, gifts, food, and fun. Unfortunately not everyone had the wonderful Christmas that we did last year.

If you read yesterday's post, then you know who Christa is. I’d like to share a story about her son, with her permission, of course.

Zack was born in February 1998, with cerebral palsy and had a history of seizures. Zack was also nonverbal, however that does NOT mean that he couldn't communicate. Oh my, could Zack get his point across when he wanted to! He definitely knew how to manipulate those around him with that smile and those gorgeous eyes. Zack was also never a complainer. He could tolerate so much discomfort and pain with no indication that he was in distress.

Last year, Zack was admitted to Akron Children’s Hospital on December 15. He had a rash on his right cheek that quickly spread over his body, and then turned to blisters. The hospital’s burn unit took care of him and Zack was diagnosed with Stevens Johnson Syndrome, a very serious hypersensitivity complex. I’m not going to get into the medical aspect of this disease here, because I’m sure that I won’t do it justice, just know that he was basically burning from the inside out.

The medical staff at Akron Children’s Hospital did everything they possibly could for Zack, but on Christmas evening, this is the entry his mom posted on his Caring Bridge site:

“At approximately 9:45 this evening, Zack skipped into the gates of heaven to live with Jesus.”

Although things were challenging at times, don’t you dare feel sorry for Zack. If he could write a letter to everyone, I think it would go something like this:

Hi Everyone,

It’s me, Zack. I’m here in Heaven and things have been hectic! You know this is our busy season, getting ready for Jesus’ birthday. We’re having this big party and it’s going to last the entire day. When I got here last year, I just caught the end of the party, but this year I get to celebrate all day long! And here’s the best part…all of us who arrived in Heaven on December 25 get to sit at the head table with Jesus! It’s going to be so much fun!

I miss everyone, especially Meghan, mom, and dad, but I can keep track of what’s going on with all of you. I have these special tricks that they taught me when I got here, so I know everything that’s happening there. I’ve been able to watch Meghan cheer at the football games, and dance in “The Nutcracker” and I’ve also watched Mom stay up and work on papers for her classes. (By the way Mom, I’m really proud of you for doing that. It’s not easy to go back to school, but you’re doing it!) I’ve also seen how Mom and Dad worked really hard on Dad’s school board campaign and now he’s going to help all the kids in our district. I also know about the trip to Vegas last summer (Mom, don’t worry, it will be our little secret that you gambled away $100 in 10 minutes! Shhhh….)

When I first got here, they told me that no one here has any of the issues that they were born with. The time I spent with the football team came in handy, because now I’m the running back for the Pearly Gates Gophers. I’m also in the Right Hand Choir. There are two choirs in Heaven: the Right Hand Choir and the Left Hand Choir. I was selected for the Right Hand Choir because I smile all the time. Isn’t that cool? The director thinks I look ornery. Mom, what’s that mean?

When they found out that I like the Ohio State Buckeyes, they made sure that I got to spend some time with this old guy. They warned me that he had kind of a bad temper once in a while, but he was really nice to me. He told me that he used to work with the Buckeyes. I told him that I got to meet Jim Tressel, the head coach. He was really impressed. His name was Woody….Woody….hmmm….Woody Hayes, that’s it!

We get to go swimming whenever we want as long as there’s a lifeguard on duty. I like going off the high dive. It’s a lot of fun. Don't worry Mom, I'm careful.

And get this! Next year I’m going to be in the Heavenly Soap Box Derby! They told me that they knew how good I was at racing, so they’re expecting me to do really well. We’re going to start working on my car in a few weeks.

I saw Uncle Jerry when he got here, but we’ve both been so busy that we haven’t had too much time to just hang out. I’ll see him at the big party later today. He’s doing just fine though.

I wanted to tell everyone that I’m sorry that I had to leave there when I did, but they needed me here. After I got here, I found out that December 25 is THE best day to arrive in Heaven. You know how you get a lei when you arrive in Hawaii? Well when you arrive here on Christmas Day, you get these special “angel” bells to wear around your neck. When you see someone with bells on, you know that they’re really special. We’re all angels now and I just love flapping my wings. Sometimes I do it when I’m not supposed to, but I just can’t help it.

Will you give George a big hug and kiss for me? We have lots of pets here in Heaven, but they just aren’t George, if you know what I mean.

Well, they’re calling me for Choir practice, so I need to get going for now. I already know that everybody down there is doing pretty good, and I know that you all miss me. I miss you too, but I’m really doing fine, so don’t worry about me.

I love you all!


This Christmas Day will be a difficult one for sure, for Zack’s family. They will be remembering where they were a year ago, and how difficult it has been since Zack passed away. Although I’ve never been in their shoes (and pray to God that I never will be) I’m also hoping that they will be able to smile at the good times, laugh at the funny times, and take pride in the fact that they taught so much to all of us. Zack did more in his short life than many people do in 50 years! His parents continue to share their story, hoping that others can see that having a handicapped child can truly be a blessing.

Some of us just don’t quite know what to say to a person who has lost a child, and therefore tend to not mention the child. Christa loves talking about Zack. Just because he’s gone, doesn’t mean that he didn’t exist. Her face lights up when she shares his stories, and I love hearing about him.

Christa has a caringbridge site, and usually when she posts, she includes a story about Zack. Sometimes I laugh so hard it brings tears to my eyes. If you want to know anymore about Zack, his older sister Meghan, his mom, or his dad, go to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/zacharyfrantz

Merry Christmas everyone…especially to Christa and her family.


Anonymous said...

Thank you. You certainly did him justice.

kris said...

Hi Cindi,
What an awesome post. I did not know Zachary, but he must have been an great little guy. I will continue to pray for his family to have the strength they need to get through the tough times. I'm sure that a friend like you must be a real blessing to the family.
Have a safe and Happy New Year,
Kris Moreland

Paulie said...

Christmas blessings! Thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving a message. I didn't know you had a blog too! Read a few entries and I marked your site so I can come back!

Anonymous said...

I just want to say what a wonderful post you had about Zach. I am a friend of his family and I know it touched me so it had to mean the world to them. Sounds like you are a great friend to Christa!!