He asked for so little, but gave so very much

Pour la version originale de cette publication (version française), cliquez ici.

Yesterday, Zackaël would have turned 8 years old. Over the past 2 years, some of you asked me, when I have the chance, to share a copy of the eulogy I wrote and gave at the funeral.

Carl and I would to like to write a post, someday, about the day of the funeral (it was a hectic day, including a situation with Adélie at the hospital). But this week, I would like us to remember Zackaël and the way he was. I hope you can find 5 minutes to get to know him better, and the eulogy is a great way to do so.

I recommend reading the French version of this tribute if you’re able to. Since it was originally written in French, you’ll find the exact wording and phrasing I specifically chose to convey my thoughts.

Grief Quote for the grieving: Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Eulogy to my son Zackaël

“I will always remember the first time that I held Zackaël in my arms, right after his birth. His little body was against mine, on my left side, and I was admiring his little angelic face. I was telling myself how handsome and peaceful he was, an indescribable comfort.

As everyone knows, Zackaël was exceptionally handsome. He inherited enhanced versions of the best traits from both of us. How can a human be so beautiful? Everyone would say that one day he’ll be a heartbreaker. Never did I imagine that my heart would be the one to be broken.

Often, I would look at Zackaël and admire him. I admired his external beauty, but his internal beauty is what made him even more remarkable. Zackaël had a heart of gold. What he loved the most in life was to bring us joy. If he caught me looking at him, he would greet me with the biggest smile from ear to ear and his little wrinkly eyes, just to make me happy and share his joy. 

Zackaël was always positive. He was always up for any activity that we would do. I remember the Thursday before his passing, when his daddy told him that they had swimming lessons; with his soft voice, he said, “Yay, swimming!” Another of my last memories of my beautiful Zackaël is him playing hockey in the basement with Maxandre. His older brother likely made him play goalie (we all know that it’s more fun to score goals), but Zackaël would have fun playing any position. I recorded a video of that evening. We can see him goofing around (a silly dance) laughing wholeheartedly in the net.

Zackaël had fun no matter what he did!

Zackaël was a very brave boy. Whether it was to get a tooth pulled out or to get vaccines, he wouldn’t say a word. Zackaël would never whine and had extraordinary patience. When Adélie would cry or yell in the car, Zackaël would never tell her to stop. One of the last moments between Zackaël and Adélie that Sunday, on the road, was that he was taking care of her, giving her pieces of apple. He was proud to take care of her.

What I’ll certainly miss the most from him are the big hugs that he gave me each morning and evening. In the morning, when he woke up, he would run to my room to give me a big hug, sometimes while he was still half asleep. I will always cherish the moments of tenderness and laughter that Zackaël and I would have each evening in his bed before bedtime. He loved being gently touched, to be tickled, to be hugged, and he was never afraid to say he loved me. 

Zackaël was also very independent and managed very well on his own. He was very proud to become a big boy. When he saw that I was getting overwhelmed with laundry and all the clothing that needed to be folded, he would volunteer to help me fold them. He applied himself, and he made neat little piles of clothing, perfectly folded; he was proud and happy to help.

I don’t remember a single time seeing Zackaël mean or mad at anyone. Gifted with an inborn kindness , he loved everyone and everyone loved him. He was often cuddly with those close to him, but that’s because he loved them; he loved people and their presence.

As he got older, we discovered more and more of Zackaël’s personality and how funny he was. He was the little jester of the family and liked to laugh and tease, especially his brother. He enjoyed going to school to see his friends, and had a lot of fun with his friend Alexi. In fact, a few times this fall, home from school at the end of the day, Zackaël would take out a little toy from his school bag and say proudly, “Look what Alexi gave me today!” He was so happy. I started to wonder, is Alexi really always giving him these things? Zackaël reassured me that yes, it came from Alexi. I said to myself, “Wow Alexi must love Zackaël a lot to always bring him these surprises!”

One of the many surprises he got from his friend Alexi

Zackaël always loved jumping and tumbling, especially on the sofa. He spent a lot of time with his head upside down on the sofa, in the position of a headstand. He had a natural talent for sports and learned very quickly. I will always remember his first day at bike camp where he had to learn to ride a bike. After work, I went to the camp to pick him up and I noticed a very small boy cycling at full speed around the pylons. “Wow, he’s very good,” I said to myself, but I was trying to find Zackaël. Suddenly, I realized that Zackaël was the little boy I’d observed earlier. He wasn’t wearing the same t-shirt, so I didn’t recognize him. Maxandre, who was by my side, said to me, “Maman, have you seen how good Zackaël is?” He picked it up right away that first morning. Maxandre was very proud of his little brother. He was the only one who rode his bike without training wheels that day.

Three days before the accident, during parent/teacher conferences, Maxandre’s teacher told us that when he was grew up, Maxandre didn’t want to get married and that he wanted to stay with his brother. So, I asked Maxandre and he said “I don’t like girls, so I talked with Zackaël, and we agreed we we’re going to stay together when we grow up”. That same evening, I spoke to Zackaël and he confirmed with me that indeed he’d live with Maxandre when he got older. I told him that maybe he’ll fall in love with a girl and want to have children one day, and he responded with, “Mom, you’re my girl” and he wanted to stay with his family.

When I thought of Zackaël before the accident, I thought about how lucky he is, that he had everything going for him. I visualized his future in my head, without worry because of all the assets he possessed; beautiful, funny, athletic, social, intelligent and incredible kindness. I said to myself: how I’d like to be more like him with his kindness, his positivity and his patience. Even though he was only five and a half years old, he taught us to be better people and brought only love and joy into our lives. He was literally an angel, my little Zackaël.

I chose the color white for his coffin to represent the purity of Zackaël, a little angel gone too soon. Sometimes I tell myself that they have surely taken Zackaël from this world because he was too perfect for it. I comfort myself by saying that he knew only happiness during his short life. I have to tell myself that it was his destiny to have a short life, otherwise it hurts too much. He would surely tell me; “Maman, I’m still with you, keep on living and laughing, I’m still protecting Adélie.”

Video Excerpt of the Last Paragraph of the Eulogy
Eulogy Video Extract (Nov. 30, 2019)
Credit : Radio-Canada, le téléjournal Ottawa-Gatineau

And I say to myself, “If I could be more like you Zackaël, I would be a better person”. Let’s all be more like Zackaël, and we could all live in a better world.”

Maman xox

That’s it for now!
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16 responses to “He asked for so little, but gave so very much”

  1. CMH Avatar

    This is beautiful. I am in awe of your strength.

  2. Melanie Goulet Avatar
    Melanie Goulet

    Merci de partager tellement beau garçon💕 Très touchant et très belle parole❤️. Zackael est certain toujours avec vous et vous protège Xox

    1. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

      Merci Melanie 💕

  3. Mirana Zuger Avatar
    Mirana Zuger

    Merci de partager 🙏💖
    Avec amour,

    1. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

      merci Mirana 💖

  4. Sarah Avatar

    I remember the eulogy so well. It really moved me, then and now.

    1. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

      thank you Sarah and your help with the translation during that tragic time. It was very appreciated.

  5. Paulette Leroux Avatar
    Paulette Leroux

    C’est très gentil de partager ce moment si précieux avec nous. C’est un petit ange qui veille sur vous.

    1. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

      merci énormément Paulette

  6. Margaret Lesarge Avatar
    Margaret Lesarge

    We all grieve with you. A beautiful tribute to your darling son.

  7. Marie-France Avatar

    Merci de partager ce moment très difficile avec nous tous. Quel beau garçon. Il vous envois de la force j’en suis certaine. Xo

  8. Yasaman Avatar

    So beautifully written . Tears were coming down my face as I was reading it .Thank you so much for sharing

  9. Marjorie Kinahan Avatar
    Marjorie Kinahan

    Merci de partager… ça me touche beaucoup. Ça me rend heureuse et triste en même temps d’apprendre à connaître ton Zackael à travers tes paroles.

    1. Mireille Brochu Avatar
      Mireille Brochu

      Comme c’est touchant. Merci de nous partager une petite partie de votre beau (à l’intérieur tout comme à l’extérieur) Zackael. Les souvenirs sont nombreux, j’en suis certaine 💖

      1. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

        merci beaucoup Mireille 💖

    2. Brigitte Lehoux Avatar

      merci Marjorie. Oui comme tu sais, c’est un mélange d’émotions… Merci d’apprendre à connaître mon garçon. Au plaisir de faire de même pour ta fille.

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