May 21st was the day of Zoe's heart surgery…it was also the last time we heard her giggle, saw that beautiful smile, and felt her arms around our neck. That's gonna be a tough one.
June 7th will be the anniversary of Zoe's death. That day will probably be the ultimate trump card. There's no forgetting the awfulness of that day. I can still hear the doctors words and see their looks of overwhelming sorrow as they said there was nothing more than could do. Valium will likely be on the short list.
But, yesterday…yesterday rounds out the top 3. Yesterday was Zoe's 4th birthday. There was no escaping the lack of balloons…the absence of presents and cake…no friends and family gathered to celebrate. The joy vacuum seemed to suck the happiness out of every second.
I bounced back and forth between avoidance and celebration.
8:00 am-Eva decides we should just let our busyness distract us from the grief of the day.
8:02 am-Eva decides we should have cupcakes and balloons in Zoe's honor…the whole nine. And so went the entire day, in 2 minute increments. Yea.
So many sweet friends gave ideas of how to remember Zoe's birthday, but nothing seemed to "fit" our family. Sentimental is difficult for us…primarily, I assume, because it's most difficult for the one who's "supposed" to lead the charge…the mom.
Another interesting turn of events made the day brutal. Our family has been fighting sickness for about 2 weeks, and it all met a breaking point when the king of our castle bit the dust. Zane started hacking about 10 days ago…screaming in pain with every cough…much worse than his double surgeries. High fevers led us to the doctor where I was sure they'd find strep or the like. Nada. All that progressed was his need to share it with yours truly…so then I was down for the count. (Chris took off most of the week following Easter…all he did was take care of me and the little man.) A couple days later, Chris began to "feel it"…it was bad…then it grew into pneumonia. He hasn't been to work this week either, for the most part. (If you know Chris, you realize how bad it truly is for him to miss that much work! This is nasty stuff.) The girls are beginning to feel the sore throats and fevers, while the boys are avoiding the rest of us like the plague. Moral of this side story??? We had a massive distraction handed to us on a silver platter. It's not what I would've chosen, but this virus straight from the pit has definitely kept our attentions diverted.
Of course, I still want to acknowledge this special day! (Remember that whole back and forth deal.) I think I've found a happy medium that'll be a sweet celebration for our crew. We are in the process of making some sweet mini panda cupcakes (the process comes into play because of all the sickness I mentioned…ugh)…we will place some pink flowers at Zoe's graveside…and we'll spend some time talking about our fun Zoe memories over dinner. Personally, my favorite times lately are when we watch the few videos we have of Zoe…probably because the most crippling factor at this point in the grieving process is that I'm struggling to remember her voice and her laugh. Those videos are like salve to my open wounds.
Zoe's special friends, (and ours too) the Davis family, sent a beautiful flower bouquet yesterday with the following card, "Celebrating a beautiful life!" I think that's the key for us. Celebrating a precious baby girl that we had the immense privilege of loving intensely in her short life. I always tell my kids they should be grateful for what they have and not complain about what they don't. The enemy is sneaky with that one. Sounds like this is yet another instance when Mom needs to take her own advice. Because Zoe's life was beautiful…and it is worth celebrating.
The best way I can think to do that for you all is to bring you into one of these special moments. Big sister, Landry, gave me permission to share one of the many clips we have of Zoe. In spite of her heart/oxygen issues, Zoe LOVED to be chased…and LOVED to be scared! She would scream and waddle away as fast as her little legs could go! She thought she was Speedy Gonzalez. It was awesome. This video was shot about a month after we brought the kiddos home from China. You'll notice the Chinese/English language combo. "Be-ow" (totally not spelled that way) means something like, "I don't want that/I don't want to." We heard that constantly from Zoe while we were still in China…she wasn't happy with shift in power we had going on! As you'll see…once we got to the states, she continued to say that, but in a teasing way. We may or may not have taunted her with it as well. So wrong.
Anyway, back to the video…Landry is trying to carrying Zoe down the stairs…Zoe's not having it. Then Landry goes ahead of her and hides…keep watching when it goes black…Zoe was loving it.
Happy birthday, baby girl. We celebrate the beautiful life that you were. We will giggle with you. We will smile at your sweet face. The joy you brought to our family will always provide such sweet memories.