This post is part of the Fly a Little Higher Blog Tour which I am delighted to be a part of along with hundreds of bloggers raising awareness and giving hope to those with cancer. To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!
2013 was not the most joyful of years. Our family entered into the new year knowing that for two of our loved ones, cancer was going to take them from us. It was just a matter of when.
What we didn’t expect was that more friends and family would be diagnosed with cancer as the year went on. It was really tough, and it really reminded me to appreciate the people in my life that are here now, and to appreciate my health.
It was May last year when a link to a YouTube video popped up on my Facebook feed. It was a documentary called My Last Days about a teenager with osteosarcoma. His name was Zach Sobiech. It wasn’t just Zach who inspired me, it was his friends and family too. They each seemed very different from one another, but so normal, so relatable and just so very genuine. Zach, Amy and Sammy reminded me of me and my friends from my high school days. They are the kids I probably would have been friends with. The one thing that caught my attention was that they all spoke with such grace, honesty and wisdom. I immediately downloaded music made by Zach and Sammy as I loved it. I listen to it often…and Clouds is what we woke up to every day we were in Germany earlier this year and my roommates begged me to share the link with them so they could download it when we got home as the lyrics would be stuck in our head all day. Walking through the streets of Wurzburg singing ‘we’ll go up, up, up…’ Clouds actually hit number 1 on iTunes on the day of Zach’s funeral, and even had a celebrity lip sync video which you can see here.
Zach died last year, but his legacy lives on. His mother, Laura, has written a book Fly A Little Higher about Zach’s journey battling osteosarcoma and how they all learned from him how to live while you are dying. I’m currently waiting for my copy to make it’s way across the Atlantic and having read an excerpt from the first chapter already, I know that it is going to be an emotional read, but also one that is likely going to inspire me.
There is a quote from John Steinbeck that I have used often, especially after someone has died that ‘We should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world‘. Because we will all die one day, and we should try to live a life well lived. Zach spoke a message of making people happy. He lived well. He lived so well in fact that it’s almost like his spirit is still very much present on this earth. Zach knew his time was short, but most of us have no idea how much time we have on earth. Maybe we’ll be lucky to have 80 or more years here, some of us won’t. Some of us may get sick for a long time like Zach did and have the chance to say goodbye. Others of us may get up like it’s a normal day and something may happen that our lives are taken when we least expect it.
We just don’t know.
But it shouldn’t matter.
I want to aim for quality rather than quantity of life.
Zach wanted to be remembered as a kid who went down fighting but didn’t really lose. I’d say that goal has been achieved. He fought for every bit of life, and ultimately he didn’t lose. Because death didn’t stop him making an impact on this world. In fact, God used his dying to share the incredible message of compassion and empathy he had, not to mention his and Sammy’s musical giftings and his mother’s gift for writing too.
Thank you Sobiech family, for being willing to share Zach with us all.
Fly a Little Higher is written by Laura Sobiech, the mother of Zach Sobiech. Laura spent the last three years walking the road of cancer with her teenage son, Zach, and blogging about their battle with the disease. Zach wrote the song “Clouds” which hit #1 on iTunes the same week he passed away in May 2013.
Grab your copy HERE.
PS If you don’t have Clouds on your playlist, do download it – and know that profits from your purchase go to the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma fund so that researchers can help find better treatments and hopefully a cure for this type of cancer.