Every night Britt Williams and her youngest daughter Bella sing two songs together: Amazing Grace and Tears in Heaven. They’re singing to a little boy who should have turned 11 this year, Britt’s son Zack.
Zack grew his angel wings in 2005 when Britt was 24 weeks pregnant. “It’s like yesterday that I lost him,” Britt says. “Seeing my little baby with his little thumb in his mouth on an ultrasound screen in the ER, but without its little heart beating was something that I never expected. Everything around me seemed to stop. The darkness was coming in around me. All I could do was cry uncontrollably.”
Zack’s death was the final agony of years of pain for Britt. The year before she’d become pregnant after a brutal sexual assault.
Tormented, she made the decision to terminate her pregnancy, a move that still haunts her. “I didn’t know if I could continue carrying something that was part of my worst nightmare,” she says. “But I have so much guilt. I believe [Zack] was taken because of what I done.”
The love of a dear friend
One person who wants Britt to understand that she bears no guilt for Zack’s death, nor for anything else that’s happened to her, is her friend Hayley Taylor, whose daughter Pippa is in the same class as Britt’s youngest daughter, Bella.
Hayley has started a GoFundMe page for Britt to help raise $3000 for a headstone for Zack. Currently, his grave is only marked by a piece of metal with the year of his death. Even his name isn’t there.
Zack’s grave in Wagga is a picture of the love his family has for him.
“I’ve got an angel baby too, so that’s why this touches my heart,” Hayley told Kidspot. “Britt is just such a wonderful person. She would listen no matter what time of day or night, pick Pippa up and drop her home from school, look after her when I’m sick.
She is a amazing person inside and out. I just want to do something to help her stay close to Zack.”
When Britt first learned Hayley was offering to help pull together funds for a headstone to mark Zack’s life, she was shocked. “I cried and cried,” Britt told Kidspot. “We haven’t known each other that long – we only met last year – but it feels like we’ve known each other for years and years.
“I don’t think she realises how amazing she actually is. I’m so grateful for what she’s doing for me. Not just for the headstone for Zack. But because she’s getting me to open up. She’s helping me to talk about what’s happened.”
The two families are extremely close.
Britt talks and sings to her baby boy whenever life gets too much
Zack is buried in Wagga Lawn Cemetery in central NSW. His resting place is a happy jumble of toys and mementoes brought there by Britt and her three daughters – Madelynn, 19, Abigail, 12 and five-year-old Bella.
“Bella likes to bring him little Matchbox cars and things like that and she won’t let me take any of them away,” she says. “She thinks that will make Zack sad. So it’s getting quite cluttered but that’s OK.”
The daughters together: Madelynn, Abigail and Bella in her mum Britt’s arms.
The family visit every Christmas and birthday but Britt often finds herself spending time with Zack alone, mostly when she’s feeling sad or lonely, just to talk and sing and tell her little boy who never took a breath that she loves him. And she’s sorry. And she’ll see him again.
Nothing can bring Zack back. And nothing will ever fully erase the pain that Britt has endured. But a Zack deserves a headstone so people know he was a real, loved, angel boy. We hope their story takes a happier turn soon.
To donate to the fund for Zack’s headstone, click here.