Year of firsts coming to an end for family dealing with loss of son

To the editor:

Oct. 27, 2015, changed our lives forever. Our 31-year-old — healthy, only son and youngest child — Zachary let the dogs out at 10:30 p.m., as he said good night to me.

Less than four hours later, he was dead. Coronary artery thrombosis and arteriosclerotic heart disease took him.

Our year of firsts took off immediately. The day after his funeral was Halloween ­— a favorite — quickly followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and the Super Bowl — another favorite. Zachary was an absolute whiz with any sports statistic. He was a happy, good guy who loved life.

Our year of firsts are near the end. As we get closer to Oct. 27, I’m reminded of the decisions Zachary made that have helped others. Zachary signed the back of his license and in death helped restore sight to two people.

He donated bone and vascular tissue, too. A 16-year-old girl in Idaho received bone, freeing her of pain she’d been experiencing in her leg for over six years. Signing the back of your license is so important, no matter how old you are.

I want to encourage everyone to be aware that heart disease happens at all ages. Unknown to us, Zachary’s autopsy showed a previous heart attack. Please be aware of the signs of stroke and heart attacks. Zachary is missed every day.

Karen Yeager


Editor’s note: Karen Yeager is Zachary’s mother.