A Headstone Delivered…

The sun shines brightly against the blue sky.  Puffy white clouds.

My throat tightens. I whisper a prayer for help.

You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. ~ Isaiah 26:3

Where is my mind today?

I step out of the truck and my heart spills on the ground.

The ground where my son’s body rests.

Everything is alive with Spring. The grass so vividly green. Flowers bloom. Birds sing. Life is all around me. But death looks me straight in the eyes. Death of my first born. My Zack. Our son. It pierces my soul.

Grace. Amazing Grace. Grace greater than my sins. HIS grace enables me, enables us, to make it no matter what…

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

I walk through the cemetery.

A headstone delivered.

A headstone for our son’s grave. Our 12 year old son’s grave.

A headstone placed carefully at his burial site. A place I do not visit often.

We put if off for so long. “You need to get one” – my momma would gently encourage.

A headstone finally ordered. What words are sufficient? To tell of a life lived. To tell of a life loved. To tell of all that is missed. Impossible.

A headstone finally delivered.

Back of his headstone. Dirt bike racer Zack Mayo Number 25

I run my fingers carefully over the letters of his name. I breathe. The sun warms the cold stone.

I notice grass has started growing over the sandy dirt on his grave.

A grandmother. My mother, “Ebie” to my boys, tenderly cares for his resting place near her home. Flowers lovingly switched out regularly. A new vase waits to dry so she can add more flowers.

The 2+ hour drive back to Wilmington, back to our 7 year old Nick, is quiet.

My husband’s hand in mine requires no words.

And this morning, the sun still came up. A new day.

And today people will complain.

About nothing.

About something.

About everything.

Instead of being thankful…
“I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.”  ~Indian Proverb

Parents will complain about their children.

Instead of being thankful…

And while they complain, today forty-six parents will learn their child has cancer.

And seven parents will kiss their cancer stricken child for the last time. Hold their hand and smell them for the last time. Look into their eyes for the last time. Listen to them breathe. Watch them struggle to live. And watch them leave this world.

And the way they look at this world and the people in it will be forever changed.

And they will wonder why anyone complains…

Instead of complaining that the rosebush is full of thorns, be happy that the thorn bush has roses.  ~German Proverb

Sidenote: Seeing a headstone, my son’s headstone, may make you uncomfortable. I am quite certain that I will get at least one message asking how could I post it? No messages surprise me anymore.  There will be others who won’t message me about it, they will just talk with their neighbor about it.(gossip?) That’s just a part of life. Headstones are also very much a part of life. Death is very much a part of life. You can push it out of your mind. You can ignore it but for sure it will still come. For you. And for your children. The ultimate question for you is what will you do for the eternal glory of God, not yourself, that will make your life count when it comes time for your headstone? Will HE be pleased with your words, your actions? Are they reflective of HIM in your life? If you don’t like the answers you have, it’s never too late to change. Let God be the change in you. If you already like your answers, get over yourself, there’s always room to do more. And the next time you feel a complaint rising up in you – take time to count your blessings instead. This life is but a vapor and then it is gone…make every moment count.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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189 thoughts on “A Headstone Delivered…

  1. Zack’s headstone is BEAUTIFUL … tears roll down my cheeks for you. I, too suffered a great loss, a man sent to me from God, who also spent time in prayer for your Zack and for you, his family. God bless all of you for all that you’ve shared with us … folks you’ve never met. You help me continue my walk in grief with more strenghth than I knew I had.

  2. Wendy, this headstone is beautiful. Why would anyone “not” share Zack’s headstone? Headstone’s are for us, the earthly living, to see-remember- and know Zack even after we are all gone. My prayers flow for you, Ernie and Nick today. Thank you for sharing God’s word and reminding us all to be thankful.

  3. There are no words, Wendy. My heart breaks and yet is full at the same time. Your words are so powerful and so important. Thank you for continuing to allow us to walk with you on this journey.

  4. My grandmom lost 4 sond before they were two years old. Even as a child I could not understand her loss but she told me that you never lose what you love. She said love is a feeling that you can give to others, but you always have plenty left to give. She told me that God gave her her boys for such a short time, but each was
    his perfect gift of love and she wanted to use His perfect gifts to her to share His love with others.

  5. Dear Sweet Wendy,

    I would never question what you do or wonder why you post a picture of Zach’s headstone. Your heart is pure and loves Jesus with everything in it. Death wasn’t part of God’s original plan….it entered the world when SIN entered the world, and that is why it just isn’t right. But praise GOD, in Christ we live forever.
    Thank you for sharing your journey, may the GOD of all comfort hold you very close.
    I will continue to meet you at the throne of grace
    Love and Blessings

    • So God didn’t plan right? I imagine God’s got the plan down, given that He has all the cards. Better to have faith and not try to figure it out. Faith, alone, can help with the unanswerable questions. And God had better have a good answer to justify this woman’s incredible faith.

      • God’s plan, although we do not understand, is perfect. Someday,maybe not this side of heaven, I will see and it will all make perfect sense….

  6. Wendy,
    You are one of the strongest women I know. Thank you so much for being such an inspiration to everyone and reminding us of how much we have to be thankful for every day, every hour, every moment.
    Love and Peace to you, Ernie, and Nick

  7. Oh, Wendy! You have made me cry.What a wonderful memorial to Zack! Couldn’t have been better. I hope this helps in your healing!! You have the God given strength!!
    Love to all,
    Geri Jones

  8. Wendy and Ernie,
    We can only imagine how this feels and I’m sure we don’t even come close to the reality. The headstone is a beautiful tribute to Sweet Zack. You did a wonderful job with it.
    We are praying for you and thinking of you all.
    Love you….

  9. My grandmom lost 4 sons before they were two years old. Even as a child I could not understand her loss but she told me that you never lose what you love. She said love is a feeling that you can give to others, but you always have plenty left to give. She told me that God gave her her boys for such a short time, but each was
    his perfect gift of love and she wanted use His gifts,though short in lenghth of time, but still always with you to share. She taught me so much always showing how much she loved me. She was a perfect example of God’ love.

    His perfect gifts to her to share His love with others.

  10. What an amazing post Wendy. Your writing is powerful. Your heart is strong AND your faith is something we should all strive to acquire. Thanks for creating learning moments for us as you share your journey. Love you friend!

  11. What a beautiful, sorrowful, hopeful post. Your words comfort and convict at the same time. What a blessing you and Ernie are to us. Our heart still breaks over the loss of Zack but one day you will see him again and understand why God called him home so soon…too soon for us but in God’s perfect timing. I know you miss your son, and how hard that day must have been, but thank you for sharing him and it with us. It gives us perspective that we otherwise wouldn’t have. I think God allows the trials and tribulations to give us the perspective we need to be strong enough to be weak. We love you guys.

  12. Beautful headstone – beautiful words and pictures – beautiful boy – he is missed – but his testimony to his love of life, familyand his Savior lives on. I know how I felt when our son’s grave marker was delivered, something so final about it, but something to mark his life, no matter how short. I pray for you often, and appreciate that you take the time to share your journey with us.

  13. Wow. This is so very touching and beautiful – both the headstone and your message. I can’t imagine what it must be like to hear people complaining about every day problems. I know reading your blog over the past year has really helped me to focus more on God and my many blessings instead of trivial little things and I thank you for that. I continue to pray for you and your family.

  14. An absolutely beautiful headstone for a beautiful little boy. You are such an inspiration Wendy—I have followed your journey from the beginning and still amazed at your strength and faith. You have no idea how much inspiration you and your family have provided to me. I’m sure Zack is beaming with pride right now at having such a wonderful family.

  15. Thank you for sharing this with us (me). I can not imagine how hard this is for you and your family.
    Your words today were exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you. God bless you and your family.

  16. Beautifully said…thanking God for HIS Spirit, that gets YOU ALL through each moment of each day without your precious Zack. Hugs!

  17. You don’t know me yet I feel like I know you. I have followed Zack’s journey since the beginning. I have prayed for Zack countless times. I continue to pray for you, Zack’s mom and dad as well as Zack’s little brother. Lord hear our prayer, Lord have Mercy.

  18. Beautiful Wendy, your strength and courage inspire me every day. My heart aches for you and your family. Your always in my thoughts and prayers.

  19. Wendy, I have followed your family’s journey since you started your caring bridge. I live in wilmington. your words and writing is just amazing to me. I have never read things that touch me the way your blogs do. I sit here sobbing over this post. My heart goes out to you. Thank you for always reminding me to cherish life and the people in it, thank you for reminding me to hold my son tighter each
    night. Thank you for sharing your words. Zacks stone is beautiful.

  20. Wendy you r truly an inspiration to me. Such beautiful words. May God continue to wrap you in His loving arms of comfort. God bless.

  21. Thank you again for reminding us of what is important. I appreciate your willingness to share your vunerable heart with all of us so often. Zack’s headstone is beautiful. You guys did a great job in designing it. There will be people criticizing us no matter what we do. I have found praying for them to be almost a full time job…..”Dear God please give these people a life because if they have nothing better to do than complain about mine they must have nothing else to do…” I am proud to know you via your blog Wendy. Keep up the great work here. Your faith is a beacon of warm light in what can be a dismal world.

  22. What an amazing testimony you have. You are touching so many lives and you are making a difference in the lives of those around you. I pray that God will continue to give you strength and profound wisdom as you share your life with others.

  23. Wendy, I don’t know you personally but I’ve followed your journey. There needs to be a wider audience for your words because I know they would comfort many. You are a talented writer and I think you should look into contacting Zondervan or a similar Christian publishing house. Show them what you’ve written thus far, all, of course, if you’re willing. Just something to think about…Celia Rivenbark

  24. Wendy, thanks for sharing with us. This is a beautiful memorial headstone for precious Zack and will forever give people a glimpse of this fine boy. I like everything about the headstone except the dates.

    • thank you for always encouraging me Mrs Shirley. I’m so glad your house was ok during the terrible fire….we were worried about all of our Pine Valley friends. hugs!

  25. Thank you so much for sharing your deepest feelings with us. I, having never lost a child, cannot begin to imagine this journey. I have followed your journey since it began and continue to pray that God will cradle you and your family in His arms and give you a peace that only He can give.

  26. Wendy, Thanks for sharing this. What a reminder to not take what and who we have for granted. I continue to pray for God’s comfort and strength for you. God Bless you, Ernie and Nick.

  27. Oh my goodness, my tears flow down my cheeks as I read this, how hard it must be. I too. followed your journey, and still do. I am thankful that I met you, Nick and Ernie in person and felt as though I met Zack. I miss him, like I met him.
    My heart goes out to you all and I love you all.
    May God bless you and keep you Wendy

  28. When I finally make it Home…. Oh Wendy, my heart aches for you. God bless you, my sister, in your journey. I find such solace in music, and all day today my thoughts have been on our Home in Glory with the God of the Universe…how amazing that He left His Comforter here for us until we get there. He knew we would need him until we were able to get Home. Your precious Zack is there waiting for you. Thank you for the reminder that I need to cherish my son in those moments when my patience is frazzled and my ability to stand just one more thing is quickly fading away. Know that I grieve with you the emptiness of your arms, but I rejoice with you because we don’t sorrow as those who have no hope. With loving hugs across the miles, my sweet sister…Cassie in Georgia

  29. Wendy and Ernie, even though I don’t know you personally, I feel like I do. We are brothers and sisters in Christ and your sharing of Zack’s life and beautiful headstone makes me feel like I know him as well. I have never lost a child, but I have lost brothers and know how that hurts, but to lose a child I feel is more heartbreaking – you have lost a part of you. May God continue to comfort the three of you and bring you peace…our loved ones are gone, BUT never forgotten. God bless you! And stay strong!

  30. As a mother myself, my heart goes out to you and your entire family. My thoughts and prayers for you always.

  31. Wendy, Thanks for the reminder of living life with an attitude of gratitude. I praise God for you and Ernie and count it a blessing to be a part of your lives. May God continue to uphold you by His strong and Mighty hand.

  32. Absolutely beautiful. I will not complain today about the dishes, the traffic or my daughters dramatic over-reactions. You are the strength we all crave and the humanity we all should seek. God Bless you as you continue your journey and Thank You for being an inspiration.

  33. Thank you Wendy for sharing this with us. Your words, the photos, all of it. It makes me stop and think about life, my petty complaints, and all that we should be thankful for. Your sweet zack has left a huge mark on my life, and I never even knew him. Thank you.

  34. Thank you for sharing every word and picture, Wendy. The headstone is incredibly meaningful and representative of your love for Zack. Praying for God’s strength for your whole family!

  35. Wendy,
    Thank you for sharing your photos. Although it it hard to imagine that your precious son is buried beneath that beautiful headstone….you are right that it is a part of life. After the initital sadness , i felt a sense of joy knowing that you have made yet another step on your path. You have been such an inspiration to so many. Perhaps there are parents who also need to handle the sad job of choosing a headstone and they will see this and it will give them the strength that they need. Sadly, you are right that there will be some who object. It always amazes me that there are people who think they can tell someone how to grieve..what to say…how to live. What a shame that this to is a part of life. However, those who do not support us can make us stonger despite their words and actions. Please always share whatever is in your heart for that is what makes you so special.
    How blessed you are to have such a wonderful mother. That is the best part of life…that a sweet mother will raise a sweet mother.
    I hope that the rest of this week brings you nothing but joy.
    Always thinking of you and your sweet boys,
    Shelli Horger

  36. Wendy, You have given me the strength to now order my own Childrens headstones. I have been to afraid and heartbroken to order Angel Brendan and Angel Katie Grace’s headstones.I think in my mind I feel it is so final. Brendan would be 7 this year on August 22nd and Katie Grace 5 July 5th. As a parent we should never have to bury our children and the heartache never leaves us. I draw strength from you daily as a mother that has walked in the same shoes as I. I pray God will grant you peace in your day. Thank you for sharing your family with us all. God bless you Wendy

    • Oh Dawn. I am so sorry for your loss. We all do things in our own time….there is no right or wrong when it comes to grief. I will keep you in my prayers. God bless!

  37. Wendy, what a beautiful tribute to Zack and such a reminder to us of the lives that he touched. I am always inspired by your writtings and today is no different. Thank you for reminding us how very fragile our lives are and how much we take for granted. Prayers for you, Ernie, and Nick. that the memories remain strong, but the pain grows weaker.
    Susan Lacy

  38. Oh Wendy my heart hurts 4 u because ther is no greater loss than that of a child. Thank u for sharing your grief and encouragement to us all. You r so right death comes to us all and can happen at any moment. You and especially Zack have touched so many lives that I know he is now praising His Lord for the way you an his family have helped others see this life in a new light. HIS Light!!! Thank u for sharing Zack’s beautiful grave stone. It stands forever in memory of his love and bravery in his fight on this earth. We know he is not there but stands and runs today with His Lord Jesus. Your writings about your loss are beautiful and inspiring. I hope u will put them into a book someday. Blessings and love to you Ernie and Nick.

  39. I do not know you personally but I am a mother of a 9 year old little boy and my heart aches for yours. You are a strong woman, stronger than I think I could ever be in your situation. God Bless You and your family!

  40. Thank you for sharing. I’ve never lost a child but I have lost a sister and my mother and I know that we sometimes don’t realize what treasures we have until we lose them. I have also lost my husband of 32 years and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of something good about them that I miss. I truly believe that if we could just learn to live each day like it is our last this world would be a happier place to be. I pray that God will comfort you and your family until the day it is whole again.

  41. God Bless you and your family. Thank you for sharing not only your story, but your eternal love for Zack.

  42. Wendy, I am glad you post what is happening in your life. I am a part of your family – I love you to share your joys and your heartaches….that is what brothers and sisters in Christ do – share one another’s burden. I love Zack’s headstone it is a beautiful memorial to a boy who made a difference in so many lives in such a short span of time. To God be the Glory.

    Still praying for you all.

  43. I do not know you. I cannot imagine how you are feeling, but my heart was so touched by your words. God bless you for sharing your heart ~ I will pray for you. I’ve lost family members but can’t imagine life without my daughter. Even though she is adopted, she’s the most amazing gift God ever gave me except the gift of HIS son. Your words make me appreciate life and family much more than I ever have before. God bless you and comfort your hurting heart!!! The best thing is that you will see him again one day!!!!

  44. One word…AMAZING!
    That is what you are Wendy Mayo because our great God made you that way! Thank you for sharing your life with us all and giving us the reminder that we should all rejoice in our blessings each and every minute of every day!

  45. Thank you for continuing to share your journey. You and Zack have inspired me to be a better mother and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!” Dr. Suess

  46. Bless you and your husband and young son. I know the loss of a sibling. Different but very hard. The fresh grass growing over the grave struck me because my sistet and I lost both our parents in 10 days last year and zi see the vivid spring sunshine and fresh grass on tbeir joint graves. I have one daughtet, grown and one grandchild. I never cease thanking God for them. May you laugh again and rejoice in Nick’s Life

  47. What a beautiful headstone to represent a beautiful life. I sure Zack is looking down and
    is smiling at the tribute you created for him.

  48. Wendy, thank you for sharing this, it is such a beautiful tribute to Zack. Your writing touches so many hearts and inspires us all. Your strength and generosity to share all that you have shared is amazing. We feel closer to Zack through your posts and hope it helps you heal as much as it has helped others. Thank you and Blessings to you all.

  49. I have never met you that I know of and I have never read your blog until today, this post, because a friend of mine shared it from a friend of her’s on facebook. I just wanted to thank you for being honest about it and bringing it into the light. SO often, too often, we bottle our emotions, our truths, our lives, for fear that we will be judged, so I applaud you for being honest and sharing this life with your fellow believers and non-believers alike, and I praise Jesus for giving you the strength and words to do so. What a beautifully written post about a beautifully created child, a beautifully broken heart, and a beautifully perfect Redeemer who is writing our stories and making all of it perfect for His kingdom. Thank you.

  50. I want to start by Thanking you for sharing this with so many! I lost my daugher 12 years ago she was an infant born on my birthday which is April 13. I dread the day every year and no one seems to understand why I feel like. All the dreams and fairy tales I had came crashing down around me! My heart soul and spirit still hurt to this day and will until I take my last breath. After seeing this post I have come to realize that I have never put a tombstone on hr grave

    • So sorry for your loss Jennifer….in losing a child we do lose so many dreams. My heart hurts for you. Re: a headstone, there is no right or wrong way to honor or grieve our children. We do the best we can with what we are faced with and take another step. I will being praying for you. hugs!

  51. Wendy, I don’t know if we actually met, but you spoke at my husbands little cousins Wright’s vigil, and I listened. When I read this all I could do is just cry. I’m a mother, and I can not imagine letting my little girl go, I know that is the hardest thing a mother can do. You are truly an amazing woman, God is definitely speaking through your words and your actions. God bless you and your family!

  52. Dear sweet Wendy,
    Even though we’ve never met, I began praying for Zack the day of his accident because of a post on Facebook of a mutual friend. Because of your ability to communicate so well (in spite of obvious trauma), I feel like I knew Zack. Now that same ability is being used of the Lord to minister to a whole host of people. I’ve never lost a child, but I can relate to deep, deep emotional, gut-wrenching pain ~ and so can others. I am admonished/encouraged to cherish the life I have…even when it doesn’t quite meet my expectations ~ and we all need that reminder. We rarely (if ever) feel good about or even recognize the good purposes of God for our lives. I think of Esther…the most famous scripture in that book comes from her relative Mordecai, “and who knows but that you have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this”. He was imploring Esther to go before the king and ask for protection for the Jews. In those days, to go before the king without being summoned could mean death. Esther, while she was a queen, was still part of a concubine (I cannot imagine her having been happy in that kind of marriage)…and yet, it is so obvious to us that she WAS placed on the earth, in those very circumstances to fulfill her destiny…and so she did.
    You, Ernie and your precious little Nick are each fulfilling your destiny here. And Zack CONTINUES to bring glory to God ~ (even though he now runs and plays in heaven! How amazing is that?!) our purpose here just doesn’t always feel good like we think it should (or would). I’m so sorry for your pain. My prayer for your family is that soon, He will replace beauty for ashes. But know that the Lord is well pleased with your heart, your vulnerability, your obedience, and your faith towards Him.
    And…(last thing, I promise), I sincerely hope no one DARES to post a negative comment because just gotta say that anyone that messes with you is messing with God!
    LOTS of love and hugs to you from California.

  53. Dear Mayo family. Your post is so very moving and touching and heartfelt. As one of your FMCA Cincinnati staff family, you have moved me. As a mother of two boys, I cannot imagine going through what you have gone through. As I sit here at my desk, my heart is breaking for you and yet your words of life and love and God have touched me. Yes, as I type this to you, with tears on my cheeks, I pray for my family as well as yours, and I thank the Lord for the blessings in my life. I followed you on your journey and will continue to pray that we all see the many blessings that only HE sends to us daily. You will forever be in my prayers. I hope that your post will touch others as it has touched me.

  54. I am another one of the friends that you have never met, and I too have been blessed by the beautiful way you have with words. WRITE THE BOOK! God bless you and thank you for sharing your journey with all of us.

  55. Your words touch many deeply. Your journey is one that many of us followed and wondered how you held up.. of course your strong faith has taken you through this. You are so brave and so right on the mark. We need to all take the time to see that we should never take for granted our children, our friends, our elderly parents. I have learned that from your story, unfortunately we don’t realize how others feel after the death of a child. Only when you go through such a tragic event would one know this. Thank you for your beautiful writing and your strong faith in the Lord. I am a better person following your incredible journey.. Sincerely Barbara Raynor

  56. I an so touched by your sharing. I don’t know you nor did I have the pleasure of meeting your son. I saw this on face book. My prayers are with you, your husband and 7 year old. Thank you for sharing and god bless you.

  57. Thank you for sharing Wendy, it is a beautiful headstone and a pefrectly described emotion of a mother’s love and in your message. May God bless you guys.

  58. It is a beautiful headstone. Encompasses everything that mattered in Zack’s life. You both are won derful parents and Nick is lucky to have you .

  59. Wendy,just wanted to say hello and that you are such a special person!Zack’s headstone is just perfect and dont you dare think its not right to post it.I appreciate your beautiful words so much.I just know your son is a beautiful angel in Heaven.I lost my Daddy 8 yrs ago and I still speak of him very often !Don’t ever let anyone take your Joy away!You are trully a blessing and the Lord is using you everyday to spread his glory!Take care sweet Wendy,and God Bless you! Wendy Stone

  60. thanks Wendy for this wonderful reminder of love and loss and God’s ability to carry us through the trials and bear us up even in the most difficult moments. Thanks for reminding us of the great gift we have been given of children….<3

  61. Simply beautiful – thank you so much for sharing your deepest thoughts and emotions. We ordered our daughter’s stone last week – she died 7/11/11 at age 26 and it took us till last week to come to face choosing a monument to her life…how do you capture a life on a stone? You have done a beautiful job honoring your dear son . Your thoughts and words bring great comfort – thank you Wendy

    • Deb I am so sorry for your loss….it’s so hard to find the way through this wilderness. We can try to honor our child with a stone but we KNOW we can honor them through the way we live. I will be praying for you Deb. Some days are just impossibly hard….Blessings to you and your family.

  62. Wendy, you may not remember us, but my husband was your pastor in the 1980s while you were a young girl. I am so proud of the woman of faith you have become. Thank you for blessing so many people with your words … even in your grief.

    • Mrs. Ginny!! It is so good to hear from you. Yes we remember Mr. Doug! He married us :). Thank you for your encouragement. We hope you are both doing well. hugs!

  63. I lost my younger brother to colon cancer a few years ago. I still hear the catch in my mother’s voice whenever she talks about him. She misses him. I miss him. However, we feel secure in the knowledge that when we all die and leave this earth life, we will be together again in the next life. It brings us incredible comfort to know that as a family we will all be together again. We know that because of the atoning sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, we will live again and that we will have the opportunity to be resurrected and live with our Father in Heaven and his son Jesus Christ together forever. I know the pain of your loss, but our lives can be a reflection of the goodness that the Savior brought to this earth and of the goodness that your son brought into your life and the lives of those he touched. Best wishes to you. May our Father love you and comfort you always.

  64. Wendy, Zack’s headstone is beautiful. It is perfect. The art work and the words are perfect. I am so glad you took a picture and shared it with us. I can imagine sitting in the truck with you and Ernie on the way home. That car ride saddens me. But how else should you and Ernie feel? It is a pain that will forever be. Thank you for sharing the nice quotes and for reminding us not to complain. You are right, there is so much more we can be thankful for.

  65. Very well said! Some may find the images of headstone offensive but you are correct. Death is a part of life–eventually we all will die. What matters is legacy. What legacy will we leave behind? A life in Christ or a life of sin? We choose…

  66. Thank you for sharing the most difficult moment in your life. As we face a challenging future with our son, Evan, your experience, strength and courage were just what I needed to reflect on. We probably crossed paths at UNC as Evan’s battle has been unrelenting for over 4 years.
    We ran out of options at UNC about 6 weeks ago and are now in a second experimental chemo at the National Cancer Institute. Thank you for pointing me in the direction of gratitude, I have been in combat mode for too long and needed to gain some emotional grounding.
    I shall remember Zach each May, as I remember Grant on my birthday, and everytime I go to Wilmington I will say a prayer for your family.

    • Thank you Paul. Our stay in PICU Chapel Hill before we moved to Cincinnati Children’s is a blur so we probably did cross paths. Cherish every moment you have with your precious Evan. We will be praying for him and for all of your family. Blessings!

  67. Wendy, Your post is so beautiful. What a way to honor Zach and our Lord. May God continue to bless you and your family daily as you spread hope to so many. You are such a woman of God, and He is using you to do mighty things! Thank You!

  68. Your words are not only a wonderful tribute to Zach, they are a stirring message to cherish family and friends. God must be smiling as He reads your challenge for us to live in faith and share our faith. You and your family have been and continue to be examples to many, including a great number of strangers like myself. Thank you. May God bless your with His peace and continue to flood your minds with the many sweet memories you have of Zach.

  69. As I sit here this afternoon, thinking over the ugly, verbal battle my 15 year old and I have been waging all afternoon, regarding making good choices, I am reminded to be grateful for the sound for his voice, and the ability to hug him, touch him, feel him at the end of the day. Thank you for that reminder.

  70. Thanks for continuing to remind us how precious life is and even though we have busy lives we need to take time each day to stop and smell the roses!

  71. Dear Sweet Wendy,
    What a beautiful memorial you guys have picked out for Zack. I know that he stands on those shores of Heaven just smiling down at what you are all doing. Your grief, your wisdom, your words, have always been an encouragement to me and many others. I pray that you continue to share your story, your feelings, your wisdom and your words! Your son Zack has touched many many lives in his short life, and mine was one of them! I continue to pray for your strength and your guidance as you continue to go through this life, I also pray that you will sit down and you will write that book, helping us all to understand better and to give us all the courage and wisdom and the loving of God that you have! I pray for you, Mayo and Nick!! God Bless and Much Much Love!!

  72. Wendy, When I read your posts, I can feel your emotions. You are so honest with us. My own heart breaks for you and your family. It is a comfort to know that you have God to give you strength to face each day. I continue to pray for the Mayo family. So many people are embracing you. God Bless…

  73. We have been following your family from the very beginning… Thank you for making me a better mother to my two sweet girls,You have touched my life in many ways!! We think of your family often.

  74. I wish I were as eloquent with words. I can only say to you, Beautiful…God bless, and thank you for your beautiful blog.

  75. I don’t know your pain as my own and I am thankful for that. The lost of a child is like a promise broken. No more birthdays, graduations, weddings, quiet times fishing, etc. Grief is a personal thing and you show great courage in your sharing. I started writing again in 2006 after the loss of my Daddy. I did a happiness journal among other things. I would write three things I was thankful for each day. In the beginning it was hard but good memories helped and the journal was a friend to me when I kept others at arms length. God bless you on your way…

  76. Thank you for sharing Zack’s life . It brings tears and smiles. I lost my first born son to Evans syndrome many years ago and have just last week lost a baby cousin ( 4 months) to cancer. I love the head stone you chose, it speaks of his life

  77. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words are beautiful and full of hope despite the pain. I can only imagine the hurt of losing your son, but I can relate to the frustration of hearing parents complain about their children. I also lost a son; but it was different, he was stillborn. One of the hardest things though, continues to be hearing blessed parents of beautiful healthy children voice only their frustrations towards them instead of appreciation. Praying peace for you and your family, and God’s grace towards those that just don’t understand.

  78. My family does not know you and never did personally, but we still pray for you. We began a long while back. Unfortunately, being a single mom with a million things to remember… I unknowingly forgot your name in prayer a couple of weeks ago. Luckily, you have my sweet 16 year old on your side… because after all this time she remembered Zach and your family. She piped right up and said, ‘ oh, and dont forget the Zach Mayo family.’ (proud mommy moment)

    It is crazy how much your beautiful stories and continued faith has effected my small family. So, thank you for leading my sweet children, Morgan and Shane, in your walk with God!! You are a true blessing.


  79. Just today, I found you, your Zack. I will pray with you, for you, and for a better life for our children with cancer. Zack’s headstone is beautiful and painful. Weeping in my heart. Renee (Mom to Evan, age 6, dx ALL 4/2010).

  80. Bless your sweet heart. I came across your page when I was looking at images of headstones with black lettering in order to help me make a decision about my son’s headstone and I noticed that our sons shared the same birthday. So I clicked on the link and it brought me to your page about Zack. My son Joshua also liked dirtbikes. I was blessed to have him for 15 years longer than you had your Zack. Joshua died in a motorcycle accident on his birthday in 2011. I feel bad that we are just now making final decisions about his headst9ne. I love how personal you made Zack s. Forgive me for intruding in your life but I just felt such a connection with you. Great message…I do count my blessings and I lean on the Holy Spirit even more now than ever. Thank you for sharing and may God hold you in his gentle compassionate hand.

  81. This is beautiful! Everything about it is lovely! Shame on anyone finding fault with this.. You and your family are a beautiful example of God’s Grace and love, perseverance and passion. Thank you for sharing your heart and life with all of us! My heart is full.❤️

  82. Wendy,
    Your words are so encouraging for others going through where you have been. I am so thankful that God has given you this ability to share your story with the world so that others will see him through you. What a wonderful testimony you have and a unbelievable strength! My mother lost a son at the age of 21 and she said it is the worst thing in life and prayed hard that this would never happen to one of us. I am praying that God continues to bless you with his comfort and it will be a glorious day when you see “Zack” once again!

  83. Bless you for sharing your heart’s thoughts with us. Until you lose a child or grandchild then you don’t realize how hard death can be.