I wanted to get to know this young man who left our world way earlier than any of US wished him to….sleep in his bed, ride in his truck, drive the same roads he did, hug his childhood teddy bear, read his letters, touch his medals, slip his AT fleece over my head.
Because I scheduled this visit, Becky & Steve were forced to go through their son’s belongings, which have been stacked in boxes in their old office room. Becky could only last five minutes at first before she fled back to the house crying. But they found many wonderful things, sweet loving letters and frightful, turning point ones from Afghanistan after a fire fight which killed Zach’s comrades who were on either side of him.
I went to a psychic while I was visiting and he told us many things. One was that Zach hangs out in a “pink room,” for something is there of his, he said. His bed. The physic said that between 3 am and 3:10 is when he usually makes his round. I went to sleep in Zach’s bed and was a little freaked out as I have had some disturbing overnight experiences in severely haunted B&B’s in Gettysburg, PA, the location of the most paranormal experiences in America (so many lost souls caught inbetween worlds.) So I told Zach before I went to bed, “Don’t scare me.” I slept fitfully for the first few hours, as every time a car drove past on their road, the light came through the window through my closed lids forcing me to throw my eyes open, searching the room for his presence.
Finally, I had to get up to go to the bathroom and I contemplated NOT checking the phone to see what time it was- but I did….3:02. I laid down, laid one hand flat against the mattress where his body laid and my other hand on my shoulder. I sudddenly felt pressure on my hand and my whole body felt wrapped in a warm blanket. I told Zach how much I loved him and how much I wanted to tell his story and do a good job for him and asked him for his help It was not scary at all and felt so wonderful. Afterwards, I immediatly fell into a deep restful sleep.
The psychic instructed us to “invite Zach along,” on outings and so we planned one and invited him along. Steve, Becky, me and Zach would travel that same route on his last evening on earth, from getting take-out at Gold Star to his stone farmhouse, where he encountered his confrontational roommate which resulted in Zach taking his life. It was a ride for recovery. It was a big step for Beck and Steve. I knew they would not want to go unless I asked them to take me on my visit.
We stopped at the Gold Star who makes famous Cincinnati chili and spaghetti and purchased supper, the same last meal Zach purchased. As Beck slipped into the Ladies room at the restaurant, I thought, what the hell, I’ll use the Men’s- it is an individual rest room and the door can be locked. As soon as I sat down on the comode, it was as if a voice spoke from the urinal next to my side, “Well, if you’re going to come into the Men’s room, I’m gonna take a piss at the same time,” and I busted up laughing out loud.
Beck & Steve said, “that’s exactly what he would have said.”
We drove the country road out to the stone farmhouse where he breathed his last breath. It was enough for his parents to push themselves to go down that grassy driveway as they have not been back since they had to identify the body and remove his belongings. They stayed in the car. It was huge for them just to have arrived at this point.
From there, we went to the community skate park that Zach raised money to build back when he was a fifteen year old. Then we traveled to the creek where he learned to fish in.
Afterwards, we stopped at the cemetery to see the beautiful stone they had made in Zach’s honor- with photos on the back of his childhood and photos on the front if him as an Airborne Ranger and an AT thru-hiker, on top of mount Katahdin. On top of the stone is an etching of Zach at Mc Afee”s Knob, his favorite view and the scene of a beautiful memorial hike orchestrated by his ranger comrade Travis Johnston in May of 2014. “It is his stance,” his mom said. They want people to come here years from now as they wander the cemetery and KNOW their son through his memorial stone and what he loved. The psychic said the spirit of our loved ones who passed do not reside at the cemetery where they are buried but it is a good meeting place to connect. They will come there to meet you.
Zach visits other people in this world too- his buddies. He often has another military man with him. If you think of him, it IS HIM there with you. “Just say hi,” the psychic said. He puts his hands on us, as he was always hugging and kissing his loved ones.
The psychic said that none of us are to use the word “Death” or “Dying.” Zach has just passed ahead into another dimension and he is very happy, well, and in heaven, which he walked into. He is very proud of who he is. We must not ask “Why?” as that hurts him. Suicide is a “mission,” which makes sense in his Airborne Ranger part of his life. He is not sure that he would do it again as he was not aware of how many people would be hurt. But he did it to prevent others from doing it. The great news, the psychic said is that at least 100 people will spare themsleves this similar fate, because of his example. And the Adamsons and I think we already personally can name a few!
So I left Mt. Orah, Ohio with a stack of copied letters and photos, a deeper understanding of who this “Boy” was and still IS- this fun, loving, warm “old soft soul.” Zach is still alive and well, and gave me his personal blessing to write his story in an upcoming book on walking towards peace, for the Appalachian Trail did just that for Zachary “Shady” Adamson and we must find peace in what has passed too.