Fly a Little Higher, by Laura Sobiech, captured my attention and held it exquisitely. Reading this phenomenal novel allowed me to understand how hard it is for a mother to watch their son’s time clock tick.
At the age of 14, Zach, Laura Sobiech’s son, was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. During his battle with cancer, he didn’t fight alone. Zach’s friends and family were by his side every step of the way. Doctors told Zach that he had months to live. Although Zach knew that his time on this earth was short, his innate spirit is what kept him strong. He had a beautiful soul that nobody was able to touch. I’ve never witnessed something so glorious. This story is about a boy who lived, while dying.
Death is a very public phenomenon in that it has been felt by all, but very private in that all do not discuss. When we decide to overcome our fear of death, life becomes more valuable, rich and full. Death can be devastating, beautiful or some twisted combination of the two. While most of us see death as something tragic, it can actually be a peaceful release especially when someone has been suffering for so long. Everyone will die, whether it is tomorrow or in ninety years from now. The only thing we have control over is how we react to it. In other words, our relationship with death.
Zach didn’t see death as anything tragic. He simply saw it as a life event. Zach was a stoic young man who stayed strong through this difficult time. I’m convinced that most people, including myself, don’t understand how a young gentleman could stay so resilient through this journey. I am astonished by his seemingly effortless ability to stay emotionally stable. While I don’t understand how this is possible, I want to understand, so if I ever have to go through the pain of watching a loved one die, I’d be able to handle it. In one of Laura’s interviews, she mentioned a profound statement that Zach had said. He said, “Mom, I’m glad it’s me who has cancer because I don’t think I could watch someone I love go through what I am going through.” This was devastatingly true to him.
Regardless of how hard we fight the tears in a situation like this, the tears will win. But guess what? That’s okay. I believe emotions are beautiful because it reminds us that we are alive.
In life, everything we do is a choice. Everything we don’t do, is also a choice. Most people would like to change their life one way or another, no? Nobody’s life is perfect, but we can choose to be happy. Choosing to be happy, no matter our downfalls, will have a positive impact on our life and the life of those surrounding us. I can’t speak for others’ in terms of their happiness, but I will tell you one thing; I am happy.
RIP Zach Sobiech. You are a beautiful soul. Gone but never forgotten