This review is hard for me. I've followed Zach Sobiech and his family for some time now. I discovered him through the internet as most people have and through the video that Soul Pancake made of him and his family. His story spoke to my heart as it did most people who have heard of Zach.
Several weeks ago, I logged onto my BookLook Bloggers account to choose another book to read for review. I wasn't expecting to see Zach's story yet but when I did, I knew it was one that I wanted to read. Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom's Prayer in a BIG Way by Laura Sobiech, Zach's beautiful Mom was not something I could pass up.
I received this book about a month ago but I couldn't simply pick it up to read it. You see, I know Zach's story and have been touched by Zach's story so deeply that I knew this wasn't something I would take lightly. It would speak deeply into my heart, reach down into my soul and relate to things that only Mom's of children who suffer from some dreadful disease and disorder can understand. The book sat unread on my nightstand for weeks before I finally decided it was time to read it.
On Wednesday, May 28th, my Mother had surgery to remove her gallbladder. I knew I wanted something to keep me busy and keep my mind occupied while I waited. I felt the need to bring Fly a Little Higher along, though I wasn't sure I could read it while I waited and since I wasn't sure how much I would cry while reading it, it wasn't a book I wanted to read while sitting in a waiting room full of people. Still I threw it into my bag, just in case.
It was there, while I was waiting for the nurse to tell me my Mom was out of surgery, that I began to read Zach's story from his Mother's view point. I was actually thankful that I was in that waiting room, surrounded by so many unknown people, instead of in the safety of my home. It kept me from breaking into tears and gave me the strength to read through the beginning of Zach's story. I was immediately touched by Zach again and by the strength of his Mother as she shared the memory of her son before his Cancer took over his life. He was only 14 and full of life when they began his journey.
All in all, it took me 3 nights to read through Zach's story. I could have done it in less than a full day, had I had that time available but it was broken down into hours, as I could fit it in. This book will live on my shelf for my lifetime because it has touched me so deeply.
I found Zach and his family around the time that Jackson was beginning to suffer with his seizures, long before we discovered his Breath Holding Spells, in the early I-don't-know-what's-going-on-with-my-baby days. I like to think that God knew I needed Zach's story and his strength to get through that time in our life. I needed to see his choice to Live even though his life was coming to an end. I knew that if Zach could embrace his life, knowing his outcome, that we could embrace and live our life, regardless of Jack's disorder.
Zach was the shining light for me in a deep tunnel of darkness.
I admit, it was very hard for me to even read Fly a Little Higher. I cried when Zach passed away. Cried for the pain his family felt, for the deep loss of this beautiful young man who had given Love as his last gift to the world. I cried for the loss of the light he brought for our life and the hope that I was afraid would end for me when he was gone.
I cried again this past May as Zach's birthday and the one year anniversary of his death passed but not for the same reasons. As I watched the one year follow-up video of Zach's family from Soul Pancake, I realized just how much Zach still gives hope to others, even today. And now through his Mother's sharing of his story in Fly a Little Higher, the world will know Zach again. The Zach before Cancer struck and the Zach who grew in strength even as his body was overtaken by the disease, destruction and weakness that Cancer causes.
I felt relief in reading Zach's story, especially in the moment of his passing. I often wondered how he had passed and how his family had said goodbye. I know that had to be the hardest of all for them.
God answered Laura Sobiech's prayer that the loss of her son's life be meaningful and full, giving hope to others. Zach's song Clouds is both mine and Jackson's favorite. Jack calls it "Up, Up, Up" and simply loves to hear the soothing edge of Zach's voice singing to him. I recently created a Youtube channel for Jackson containing all the videos I could find of Zach singing and Jackson has me play it non-stop.
I don't know what Zach's meaning and connection is for Jackson but I know it's been there from the first minute he heard Zach's voice in song. Even as a small infant, Jack would stop and listen, finding peace in the harmony even for a moment. Even today that peace is still found by him and it amazes me to watch my boy stop, with a calm that I can't very well explain.
If you've ever heard of Zach, then you'll definitely want to read Fly a Little Higher and even if you haven't still read the book. I can promise you that it will change you - you will find beauty, peace, love and so much more through Laura's view of their many years of living life with Cancer and her beautiful gift: Zach.
Thank you Laura Sobiech for sharing Zach with the world and for allowing your wonderful son to reach out and touch so many lives, changing them for the better. Jack and I will never forget what he has given us through the life he lived.
Fly a Little Higher by Laura Sobiech is available for purchase in bookstores or through Thomas Nelson Publishing for $24.99.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”