We write as the wounds of our grief and bereavement remain raw and unhealed. Our son, Zyon Scott Brooks, passed away on July 28, 2021. Sunday, March 13 would have been his 20th birthday.

Assuredly, this day will be one of mourning and reflection — as we remember the ways in which Zy touched our lives. But his birthday is not just that. It will also be an occasion of tremendous admiration and gratitude for how our family, friends and community enveloped us with love and support. So many of you rallied to our side as we endured the unspeakable pain of losing a child during the dawn of his adult life.

We extend our sincerest appreciation to the Montclair Police Department, Montclair Fire Department, Montclair Ambulance Unit, St. Joseph’s Hospital, friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors, who all showered us with affection and consolation.

Zyon would want us to all 'Be Present'

While we could never name everyone who showed us such great care and overwhelming humanity following Zyon’s passing, please know that we will never forget you. You were each stars forming a radiant constellation during our darkest night.

Prior to his passing, and unbeknownst to us, Zyon planned to have that simple phrase tattooed on his wrist: “Be Present.” That brief saying was meant to remind Zyon to bring his full attention and spirit to every encounter with family and friends, and to life overall.

As we mark his 20th birthday, our hearts overflow with gratitude for how the community embodied the spirit of Zyon’s maxim. When we needed you most, you were present.

For that, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Yvette Nichols and Lennie Brooks

Editor's note: Zyon Brooks died last summer after a collision between his electric bike and a car on Summit Avenue. This post has been updated to correctly state Zyon Brook's birthday, after the wrong date was previous stated due to an editing error.


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