August 26, 2003
As we reflect over the past few days and the many days before that when you were still with us, we are struck by the vast number of lives you impacted both directly and indirectly in your short lifetime. Zach was a loving son and brother.
I can vividly remember the day that Zach and Aaron came into my life. Zach was 7 and Aaron was 4. It was love at first sight and they quickly came into the circle of my love for their father. It took very little time to notice Zach's intelligence, warmth and compassion for others. Even at age 7, Zach would strike up conversations with anyone he encountered, regardless of age or appearance. When I first moved back to D.C. from Chicago and for the first five years of our marriage, we lived on Capitol Hill. Zach developed a love for the city and soaked up the opportunities to explore art, history, music and culture at the Smithsonians, the Folk Life Festival, free concerts, and even political demonstrations. It seemed as though Zach could keep every detail of information and knowledge he gathered along the way and integrated this into his worldview.
As I told some of you, we used to joke about Zach being born in the wrong decade. He embraced many of the values, concerns, passion and life-style of the 60"s and 70's. As a teenager and young adult, he followed the Grateful Dead all over the country, always meeting and making friends along the way. Zach was a talented artist both in his ability to produce art, but also in his approach to life. He was a non-conformist, a rebel, a radical thinker and quite anti-establishment. Material things were not important to him. We were reminiscing and Aaron reminded us about Zach's juggling talent. When he was about 16 or 17, he developed an interest in juggling that progressed from the typical balls to flaming sticks and huge knives that look like Machetes. It was not unusual to look in the back yard and see the sticks on fire and Zach happily practicing to make perfect. He was an intellectual and incredibly well read. It was always amazing to see him reading things like Einstein's Theory of Relativity or Plato in his free time.
Despite Zach's non-traditional approach to life, he always demonstrated fierce loyalty and love for his family. He loved family parties and laughed no matter how many times he heard the same stories about his dad, his aunt and uncles and grandparents. Betmanisms became a part of his vocabulary and a part of his history .. family members will know what I mean when I mention things like. "a bean sprout coming out of my eye," It's a BOX!!" "It's Aboooout Time!" and "Plus Tip." With a spread of 13 years between he and his sister Leah, and then even more with Hannah and Callie, he was a devoted older brother. He held them all as newborns and would change diapers, feed them and play with them when he was at the house. As they all grew older, he and Leah became closer on a different level. He talked with her, took her to concerts and even to a tattoo artist friend of his when she wanted her belly button pierced. He admired his brother, Aaron and even though their lives were very different from each other, he cared deeply for him and was looking forward to celebrating his upcoming marriage to Cris.
Although we did not always agree with Zach's position on various things, nor with some of his decisions, we have always loved him unconditionally. He knew he could always "come back home." While he had struggled with some of life's challenges, he had an inner strength and a spiritual connection with his Jewish faith. Inviting him back to live with us this past April took no thought because we enjoyed his presence whenever he was with us. He may have thought he was a burden on us but the truth is quite the contrary.
We always hoped that Zach would become a father himself one day because we knew he would be a great father and husband. With each of his relationships - Jen, Lisa and Courtney we became attached and the girls often thought one of them would become their sister-in-law one day. Zach was intimately connected to his father and made many of his Dad's wonderful qualities his own.
Zach you will always be a part of our life and in our heart of hearts, our love for you is immeasurable. We will profoundly miss you for all of our days to come,