In his final days, Zach slept a lot. Once in awhile he was able to muster up enough energy to bring out his guitar and play.
"It's those times when we remember how it used to be," said his mom.
She told me about a trip the family took last year, "a sort of pilgrimage to Europe," with 10 intense days of sightseeing.
"We packed a lot into those 10 days," she recalled, "and maybe these past 3½ years have been like that pilgrimage. I haven't had the chance to let it sink in. I don't let myself go to that place of grief. There will be plenty of time to think about what we have lost later."
And maybe, she said, that is the lesson here: that no matter where you are in life, look at what you have and be grateful. It's the kind of thing you hear all the time. Putting it into action takes some work sometimes. But there are always things in life to be grateful for, no matter where you are.
Being grateful is the doorway to all sorts of other good things, said Laura.
"That's what Zach's always been really good at: recognizing what is good and being grateful for it. It's the first thing he seeks out, his starting point. He taught all of us how it's done."
Taylor Engel, one of the YouTube commenters on Zach's video, writes: "Well, you got a 6', 220 pound man sobbing his face off here. Prayers and thoughts with you, Zach...I hope someday I can be half the man you've become."
So many of us felt the same way as we watched his video for "Clouds" -- grateful for having had him walk among us, albeit for a short time, even as he sang: "And maybe someday I'll see you again. We'll float up in the clouds and we'll never see the end ..."