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18-year old Zach Sobiech died yesterday and left the world with a great message

18-year old Zach Sobiech died yesterday and left the world with a great message

“My last days” is an online series of short videos that “upliftingly” chronicles the final struggles of human beings enduring terminal illness.
Six months ago, Zach Sobiech, a 17-year old young man and an avid musician, was diagnosed with terminal osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. After battling with the illness for four years, Zach died yesterday surrounded by his loving family and friends.

I received this video telling Zach’s story and decided to share it because it struck a real chord with me. “I want everyone to know you don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living”, said Zach.

The reason why Zach’s story is compelling is because life through the eyes of the dying resounds differently. Approaching death and death itself, the disintegration of the physical form, is always a distinguished opportunity for spiritual realization. For the rest of us mortals, this opportunity is tragically missed most of the time because life remains in our blind spot for most of our lives unless it is threatened to be taken away from us. As with most things, we acknowledge and value opportunities and blessings once they start slipping through our fingers, often too late, and we suddenly want to hold on to them with all our might, usually unsuccessfully.

Despite our history of madness and the 100 million humans who were killed at the hands of humans in the 20th century alone, we still cannot understand how fleeting life can be as we keep perpetuating destruction through a collective dysfunction of the human psyche by disrespecting all life forms, including ours. Why is it that most of us don’t “see” life unless it starts leaving? Do we need to experience terminal illness or an imminent death threat to start appreciating the value of our existence? People like Zach try to remind us that this needn’t be the case. Human beings like Zach can allow us to vicariously live through them, their hopes, deathbed realizations and their death, how fleeting and valuable life is.

To say goodbye, Zach wrote a song called Clouds. It’s been on repeat all day in my household. A surprise music video for Clouds was made by a slew of celebrities lip-syncing to his song as a tribute to his story and in an effort to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for childhood cancer. Watch it, then watch the 20-minute documentary about Zach, and then go on about your day, and try to live and love to your best for the rest of your fleeting life.

Rest in peace, Zach and all those whose lives were taken away by merciless illnesses.

Clouds Tribute Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zxXAtmmLLc
Documentary about Zach: http://www.upworthy.com/this-kid-just-died-what-he-left-behind-is-wondtacular-rip?g=2

Written by Sara El-Yafi

11 Comments

  1. Joe Khoury · May 22, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this 🙂

  2. Molly Stacey · May 22, 2013

    Wonderful as always Sara. Tracey Brown you should read this x

    • Tracey Brown · May 22, 2013

      Yes honey, I’ve seen most of the “My Last Days” series. They are beautiful videos and really tell the story of how much death is a part of life, and therefore, how we should embrace life and every precious moment we are given. SoulPancake is a favourite of mine and I would love to be involved in so much of what they do. So we’re implementing similar programs at ONJCWC. It’s time to change the world beautiful… one precious moment at a time. And Zach has become a big part of how I tell that story now. An inspiring young man for sure. x

    • Sara El-Yafi · May 23, 2013

      Molly Thank you for your beautiful words. I always appreciate it.

  3. Stephanie Maalouf · May 22, 2013

  4. Youmna Naufal · May 22, 2013

    ” I want everyone to know you don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living” – Zack Sobiech and an intro by the always eloquent Sara El-Yafi

  5. Said Kobeh · May 23, 2013

    As always great beautiful Sara, nice example of how even that we, all living beings have a dead sentence since the moment we were born, we didn’t notice that until something or someone slap us in the face, making us to get that we really don’t have a lot of time, and if we don’t live the moment and the simple things that awake our senses we are all ready death.

    • Sara El-Yafi · May 23, 2013

      Exactly my thoughts Saido. It’s probably part of the human condition, this default setting of ours to take things for granted until we become deprived of them. Sometimes the lesson can be learned without the high costs, and this is why I shared this story.

  6. Abdallah Jabbour · May 28, 2013

    Well written, Sara El-Yafi. I just have two things to say: 1) Oftentimes, you don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living, because the death of your loved ones can produce the same effect (probably even a more pronounced one) 2) Billions of people can’t relate to Zach’s story, and many prefer death to a miserable life. You’re probably going to say that our instinct and collective unconscious puts life ahead of everything else, but many people can’t fathom what “living” means because they were never exposed to it in their war-torn/famine-torn/-torn environment.

  7. Carl Youssef · May 28, 2013

    Thank you for this Sara. I needed that tonight.

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