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Zach’s Story

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together...there is something you must always remember..You are braver than you believe, stronger the you seem,and smarter than you think...but the most important thing is, even if we're apart...I'll always be with you.-Winnie The Pooh

Zachary Thomas West 08/25/2000-05/11/2013 Zach was born a healthy typical boy, until around the age of two when he started to have trouble walking and talking. We have been on a journey ever since. It took us over 5 years to get Zach properly diagnosed and in the meantime he lost the abilility to walk and talk. He has a very progressive disease called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD). Zach lost his battle to INAD on May 11th 2013. Our hearts were forever broken that day.  We honor his smile and amazing memory by doing Zach Attacks throughout the year.

Latest Journal Update

Happy Birthday In Heaven Zach

Hi Zach, It’s me, mom….

I can’t believe you would have been 15 today.  15 years ago my beautiful blue eyed boy entered this world and forever changed it. I remember that day 15 years ago very vividly, the first time I held you, the first time I laid eyes on you.  I remember your dad kept telling me that I needed to prepare myself that babies "do not come out cute.” Boy was he wrong!  You came out with a perfect head, a perfect nose and full head of black hair! I remember saying the words“he’s not ugly, he’s beautiful,” and everyone laughing at me!  I remember the tears of joy that poured out of my eyes. It was a day I longed for. August 25th, 2000 was the day I learned what unconditional love really was.

I thought I knew what it would be like to be a mother. I thought I knew what it meant to love. Then, you arrived and taught me that I knew so very little. The kind of love you awakened in me took me by surprise. You taught me that once you have achild, you are more vulnerable than you ever dreamed possible. Loving you has shown me that I can’t control everything…that sometimes the most amazing moments come from letting go just a little…that sometimes it’s better to let life guide us just a bit. You have taught me no matter what life brings you,love will get you through.  Loving you has taught me what things I need to fight for and what things I need to let go.Loving you has been one of the best and easiest things ever.

 Now with that love comes a full range of other emotions. I have experienced feelings of helplessness when you were wobbling down the hall or when you were losing another milestone, feelings of despair and pure broken heartedness when God called you home. I can tell you without a doubt Zach that every feeling, every heartache, every tear was worth it because I was able to have the most amazing boy in my life- even if you were only with me for a very short 12 years.

You have helped me to realize that throwing caution to the wind every once in a while doesn’t have to be scary. You have taught me that the amount of love that the heart can hold is endless, and even with the very heartbreaking fact that you aren’t with us here on earth anymore and just when I am certain that I couldn’t possibly love you more, you still make my heart nearly explode. You have shown me that life passes so quickly. You have shown me to NOT waste a single moment of this time on earth.  You have helped me find the HOPE in any situation no matter how tough, and most of all you have shown me With Faith Comes Hope AND even in Heaven you my dear BEAUTIFUL Zach you have brought me more joy than I ever dreamed possible!!

I want you to know even though you aren’t here physically with me you are still MY PERFECT SON!  Thank you for showing me what it means to love, showing me what determination is and showing me that no matter what hand you are dealt with that you are always to try and do it with a Smile, Faith and Perseverance and HOPE!

I hope you are having an amazing birthday in heaven Zach and I hope you passed your driver’s permit test on the first try!!!  :)

I know you have an amazing view of us celebrating your 15th birthday down here Zach Attack!  You are never forgotten, and we love you MORE!!!

With Hope,


14 people hearted this



Nancy Rudd
By Nancy Rudd
Once again, Rachele, you have written and described things beautifully. I wish I had seen my nephew more than twice. He is looking down at you, Rachele and saying: "See her. She's my mom. Isn't she awesome!". Thoughts and prayers your way.
Kristi Ose
By Kristi
Happy birthday sweet Zach! Beautifully written Rachele! Love you!
Laura Menden
By Laura Menden
Beautifully written! Hugs to you and your Fam on this special day😘
Natalie Bauleke
By Natalie Bauleke
Happy birthday Zach
You made world better place for sure ❤️
Melissa Cusick
By Melissa Cusick
From one mom to angels in heaven (2) to another, big, big hugs!!