Gina and I don't talk about Zoe much outside of the walls of our home. She's a topic that we typically keep to ourselves in whispered conversations late at night when we can't sleep or during breaks in a normal conversation where the silence is oddly deafening. The thought of her makes us cry, but it's a good cry in the sense that it means she's still a part of us. If you're not family or friend close enough to be family, Zoe is our first daughter. She passed during pregnancy after being diagnosed with a sever case of hydrocephalus for which the specialists could do nothing. I won't go in to the details because the details aren't important. What's important about Zoe is what she meant and still means to us. How she's affected our parenting of her sisters and how she's defined me as a father. I'm always hesitant to write about her. I feel like this is the twins' blog and that my general format is lighthearted and good natured. ... I don't like dealing with things that are "heavy" because why would anyone want to read about that? But as I'm driving home from work yesterday a new song came on the radio and it punched me right in the mouth. Yeah, songs can do that. You've never had that happen before? Turn to a country station and wait about 15 minutes, some thing's bound to come along that will do this to you. Anyway, I've heard this song before once or twice, but I started listening to the lyrics, and as I wept like a teenage girl it just spoke to me. This is the song I would have written after we lost Zoe. These are the feelings that I feel about her and what I would say if I could hold her and look at her. And while she was not destined to physically be a part of our life, emotionally and spiritually nothing has had a greater impact than her presence. When we were expecting her we took a picture of Gina's belly once a month. With the girls we took a picture every day. We video everything now. I write this blog all the time so that I can save these memories. We are constantly out doing things with them, going new places, experiencing as much life as imaginable. I think a lot of that comes from knowing just how valuable these girls are to us, and we were taught that lesson by Zoe. Not that we wouldn't have loved them, but to be consciously aware of what it feels like to lose them. ... that makes every moment crucial and important and valuable. Part of me feels like the girls have their own built in angel watching over them always, but part of me would trade that in a heart beat if it meant they had their sister instead. Of course reality tells me that we could never have had all three - Zoe was due in January 2009, the girls were conceived February 2009. The timeline says that their existence is reliant upon her loss. Zoe means "life". It's fitting in two senses, she never got the gift of life but was able to give it to her sisters. But that's not important to think about. What is important is that the girls have a sister. She watches over them and she taught their daddy to never take a single thing for granted. To never forget that my life is about their lives. Each breath should be absorbed, each sound really heard and each smile locked away in my mind as yet another moment that my heart truly melted. I love my daughters more than anything tangible or imaginable. And that goes equally for all three.
Rest in peace sweet girl.