Yes, He’s Still Here


6:31am, the sky is black, Stone Temple Pilots are on the radio, I’m headed to work, and I see a falling star. All I can think to wish is that my baby boy is ok. This is when I know grief still consumes me. I didn’t wish for a million dollars, an extravagant vacation, or rest. I should have wanted so many other things, but no, I hoped my sweet child is ok. I haven’t seen his face in two years and three months.

Since the day Zane died, July 26, 2017, of suicide, I’ve waited and watched for signs that he is around. I should have known I would see signs because the night before his funeral, the weather was terrible and storming. This also happened the night before my niece’s funeral 9 years ago. Elinda was 19 when she left us due to pneumonia and cystic fibrosis. The next morning, for both of the burials, it eventually stopped, and you would have never known it rained at the cemetery at all.  The ground was anything but muddy where they were to be buried. I didn’t know until the moment we walked to the spot Zane was to be laid to rest where he would be. Elinda and Zane are only 4  rows from each other.

The weather wasn’t our only sign in the first few days. On the morning of the funeral, my husband and I left my best friend’s house to get some coffee, and I can still remember the exact spot where we were in the car. “Tears in Heaven” by Paul McCartney came on the radio. I shouted at Joe to turn the station but whatever he did wouldn’t work, the screen, the knob, nothing. It was going to stay on that song. I sighed and said, “Ugh, fine Zane, I’ll listen.” We listened while crying and laughing the entire time, knowing our sweet child was with us. After the song was over, the radio changed stations.

There were over 500 people at Zane’s service, and about 200 went to the cemetery. It was a typical Texas July day, the rain didn’t seem to help cool it off. James, the funeral director, decided to have the actual internment under the awning, and the boys would carry Zane to his new home because of the wet grounds. While we were walking to the pavilion from the limo, a white dog with a red bandana started following Joe and me. As we sat down, I looked closer, and she had the brightest sky-blue eyes. Zane’s eyes were this same color until he was about five; then, they slowly started to change to more of a grey, like mine. This dog stayed with us during Pastor Amanda’s prayer under the pavilion and walked with us to Zane’s spot. Obviously, the dog was a sign and another… the ground was barely wet even though it poured for two days straight.

Elinda is buried by the road, which has a low lying area that tends to collect water when it rains. I can’t remember who drove Zane’s car, but his was the first car parked, then mine, Daniel’s, Eli’s, etc. behind the puddle. As we gathered at the site we were to leave Zane forever, the dog played in the water and splashed only his car. She was so happy. I didn’t know about this until later when a friend sent me the pictures, and everyone was talking about it. How special ❤️

A few weeks after the service, the funeral home called to tell me Zane’s book was in. This book was made of the pictures we used for the slideshow during the viewings, and if anyone left a message online, it was printed. James brought it to me personally. While he was at the house, he revealed something to me – his son’s name. I knew his first name was Kaden. But I didn’t know his middle name. But I cried when I found out. It is Zane. James had learned not to take funerals to heart, but he said ours touched him and said it was the first one he cried at. He had never seen a visitation like Zane’s before, so many kept pouring in. 

Zane was known to wear a beanie. It didn’t matter if it was 35° or 97°, he usually had one on. Not long ago at the gym in the corner was a grey beanie. It looked just like the one he would wear, a specific one from Zumiez. I quietly said, “Hi Zane,” and walked away ?

Share these numbers or hold a hand all night long: 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741. You could save a life.

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West Texas has always been my home, and Lubbock has been my work-home for 23 years as a hairstylist. My husband Joe and I have 4 children, Daniel (24), Zane (Forever 16), KaiDyn (13) and Riot (11). Daniel is married to Adrianna and together they have our wild and crazy 5 year old grandson Zeagan. KaiDyn and Riot, whom are siblings, are adopted and have been with us since January of 2018! Joe and I are actively involved in a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Program called #flyhighzane. In 2020 Joe left the oilfield to become self-employed owning a handyman business, Everybody Needs a Joe and Sons. I am here as a mom, a grandmother, a friend, and just someone who has been there. I'm here to talk. Favorite Restaurant: Cancun Favorite Lubbock Landmark: Hell's Gate behind Dunbar Lake (this spot was Zane's favorite) Favorite Tradition: Anything at the National Ranching Heritage Center