When Joe and I found out about Zoe's condition we began praying and hoping we would get to hold her while she was still living. God blessed us with 2 hours. She never cried or made any noise, but her heart was beating, she tried to open her eyes and Joe felt her fingers moving as he held her close to his chest. These small signs of life brought such joy to us. The nurses were fabulous and allowed us to keep Zoe with us for close to 24 hours. I treasured every minute and thanked God for answering our prayers But, I must admit that there have been a few times over the last eight weeks where I have said that one day was just not long enough. One day was not enough to hold her, to get to know her and to love on her. I have pictures of her on my phone, on my walls at home and on my desk at work. I still can't get enough of seeing her sweet little face. I take every chance I can to share about her with those who will listen. One thought that made me sad over the last few weeks was that I only have one story to share about Zoe. It is a beautiful story of a gift God blessed Joe and I with for a very short time. But I thought about how other parents will have story after story to share about what their child does or says and so on. It brought tears to my eyes as I thought about how I only have one day to share about. I started thinking about how a time will come when I won't get to share her story as often. I thought about how I don't want Zoe to ever be forgotten. But, God is good. I have received several sweet surprises that have reminded me that no matter how short Zoe's story is that she will never be forgotten, and her life touched many. Surprise #1: While talking with a friend at church I looked over and saw Andrew's guitar case. To my surprise Zoe's picture was taped right in the middle. I stood there so amazed and touched that he would put my baby girl on his case.
Surprise #2: After meeting with a friend, I received a text message letting me know that when she got home she went into her daughters room and found a picture of Zoe on her daughter's desk. Her text lifted my spirits and made me smile.
Surprise #3: Joe and I spent Thanksgiving with my family in Indianapolis and one of the first things Gemma did was show us her little baby doll. She told us that she made a little bracelet for her baby just like the one Zoe had. She also told us that her baby was just about the same size as Zoe. I held back the tears as I listened to her sweet little voice talking about my little girl. My sister Amy told me that whenever Carter walks by the picture of Zoe he waves and says, "Hi Zoe". Hearing these stories about Zoe made our first holiday without Zoe a little easier. She will always be a part of our family and will never be forgotten even by the youngest.
Surprise #4: I have been praying God would just open heaven and let me peek inside. I've been asking him to let me have a dream so I could see Zoe one more time. Without my mom knowing this request she told me she had a dream of Zoe. She said my grandpa was holding her and dancing with her while my grandma sat nearby watching. She said Zoe was still a little baby, but she no longer needed a hat. I still long to have my dream of Zoe but just hearing my mom talk about her dream was a bit of glory. Surprise #5: Kyrie sent me this letter that she wrote to Zoe. Dear Zoe,
I remember when I first heard about you. Your mom told me that she was pregnant, and I jumped up and down with excitement. It was news that I had been anticipating for a long time and it brought me such joy and hope in a time when those two elements were hard to find. I was very excited for your parents because I knew how much they wanted you, but I was even more excited because I could not wait to meet you. Zoe, your parents are incredible people. They have taught me more about selflessness, perseverance, and hope than anyone else in my life. Your parents have singlehandedly shown me a glimpse of what God’s unconditional love looks like, and it is beautiful. Zoe, your mom is a beautiful woman of God. She has always been there to listen to me talk about literally anything and offer her wisdom and grace whenever I need it. She has shown me what a woman devoted to the Lord should look like, and I strive to be like her. She inspires me to cling to Jesus no matter the circumstance, and no matter the cost. She cares for people so deeply and continues to do so even when she’s almost burnt out and I can see the lines of sorrow and exhaustion on her face. I know she would have raised you and guided you in wisdom and grace, and she would have listened to anything you had to say. Your pain would have been her pain, and your joy would have been her joy. She would have celebrated your every victory, no matter how small, and she would have encouraged you any time you stumbled or fell. Zoe, your dad is the best earthly father that God could have ever given you. He would have made it his mission to show you the unrelenting, unselfish, unconditional love that God intended for a father to show his children every single day. He would have done everything in his power to protect you from harm and keep you safe. He also would have scared off every boy that tried to pursue you, which I’m sure would have kept him busy because of how beautiful you are. He means well, I promise.
You taught your parents how to love more deeply than they have ever known they were capable of, Zoe Faith. They’re going to be such good parents to your younger sibling, or siblings because of what they learned through loving you. I’m glad you’re with Jesus now, sweetheart. I praise God that you went from a world with people who love you so much, to a home with our Lord who loves you even more. I wish I could have met you and watch you grow into a beautiful woman. I wish I could have had the chance to walk with you through your struggles, like your mom walked through my struggles with me. I was excited to be a part of your life and I’m sad that I won’t have that opportunity, but I cannot wait to meet you in heaven and see how you’ve learned to dance with Jesus. Maybe you can teach me some of your moves.
Zoe Faith, your precious little life has taught me so much, and inspired me in ways that I never expected. Thank you for that. Rest in peace little one and enjoy wave after wave of the endless flood of God’s love for you.
Love you kiddo.
Sweet Surprises are around every corner and I'm thankful for them, they have carried me through some sad moments. God continues to use little surprises like these to remind me that He is faithful, loving, and good. These sweet surprises have also shown me how blessed I am to have such a wonderful community of family and friends.