Almost five days have passed since we held our baby and watched her take one last breath. The most sacred and precious moments I have ever experienced were in those two hours that we had with Zoe. Once she was taken off the ventilator, we only had a few minutes with her before she left us. She was ready.
I am grateful that she gave us the time that she did to spend with her before having to say goodbye. Andrew and I spent the last few nights before with her, taking turns snuggling in bed... holding her tiny hands and rubbing her soft little feet. We were visited by many of the nurses and doctors that we have had during our various hospital stays. Zoe is so loved. We are so loved.
When we got home Friday night, we snuggled in bed and watched videos of Zoe, cried, prayed and cried some more. Our baby is gone... she is gone. Several times a day, I turn on the music in her room, hold her blankets close to my chest and sit in the rocking chair... as I have done many times before, but with Zoe in my arms. I miss the warmth of her body, the adorable noises that only she can make, smooching on her chunky cheeks and nose, patting her back for comfort and just about everything else that is and always will be Zoe. I even miss drawing up meds, priming the feeding pump, checking her O2 sats and all of the appointments. I miss my baby.
Planning our daughter's funeral has been emotionally and physically exhausting. I love planning events and would like to think I am pretty good at it. But this is not an event that I ever thought or imagined planning. I envisioned throwing many birthday parties, planning her special baptism day... a high school graduation party and of course, a wedding. I want Zoe's funeral to encompass a little bit of all of those events, not only for Zoe but for us. Since Saturday, we have been working with Deborah at Threadgill Memorial, our Relief Society President Kristen, our Bishop and our family to plan a beautiful day to remember baby Zoe. With the assistance of Andrew and his brother Chris, our dad's have constructed a lovely white casket and our mom's have designed and custom made the exquisite interior, where she will be laid to rest. We have many family members working on various projects and could not get through this without their help and support.
On Sunday, we attended all three hours of church for the first time in a long while. I felt Zoe's presence so strongly the entire time. Andrew walked up to the podium and bore his testimony. His words and the Spirit that was felt were so strong and so clear. After church, I felt like we can do this... it is going to be hard, but we are going to be okay.
Later that day, we visited the Middleton Pioneer Cemetery where we would like Zoe to be. It is only a few minutes from our home and I have lots of memories as a teenager, doing service projects there with the young men and young women at church. We walked around with Londyn to find the spot that we felt was perfect for our baby girl. This cemetery has been a resting place for many people, as far back as the 1800's. It is not fancy but it is well loved, and that is what we want for our little angel. After strolling around most of the cemetery, we felt the most peaceful under a large maple tree. It was originally planted in honor of the very first person to be buried there, a young girl... only two years old. The origin of Zoe's name is Greek and means Life. Since trees often symbolize Life as well, we felt that it was fitting for them to be together.
Yesterday, Andrew and I went shopping to find him a suit and a dress for myself to wear to the funeral. Of course it was simple to find Andrew's suit... black, grey, blue or tan? Fitted or traditional? Badabing, badaboom... we have a suit. For me, it was a different story. I am a picky shopper... especially when it comes to special occasions. I looked and looked... tried on some and tried on some more... and then settled for what I thought was the not-too-bad choice. On our way home, we stopped at another store and I found another option... bought that one too. I tried on both when I got home and felt so blah about them both. I thought today would be a new day and maybe I would see something I did not see before. I tried on literally EVERY dress in the entire mall and hit a few other stores outside of the mall. Feeling defeated, I went home with sore feet and nothing else. What is the perfect dress to wear to your daughter's funeral? The answer is that there isn't one... because there is nothing perfect about having a funeral for your 4 month old daughter. While Andrew was visiting with all of the family and Lulu, I took the chance to go home and be by myself... take a bath and crawl into bed . I laid in the dark, took a deep breath and just cried.
Today, while I was meeting with the florist... the infusion company called to arrange for pick up of the feeding pump that we have had through our insurance. It threw me off guard because that is Zoe's pump... and almost every day I turn it on, just to hear the familiar beeping noise that use to drive me crazy and now brings me comfort. I scheduled for them to come pick it up on Monday... but I think that's what got me into a funk today. It was just the simple realization that Zoe will not ever need or use that pump again.
Each day has it's own struggles... and constant reminders of Zoe. Her things are scattered all over the house and I know it will be a while before I can even begin to think about moving them. Tonight, Londyn was saying her prayers and asked for Zoe to get better and healthy and strong. I know Londyn understands bits and pieces of what is going on, but I think the most difficult part is knowing her little heart and spirit has the faith to ask Heavenly Father to help her sister. Londyn has been struggling... lots of confusing emotions and very clingy. Sometimes she gets quiet and I ask her if she is sad. After saying yes, I ask her why? She'll say she misses Zoe or wants Zoe to come home. So do I Lulu, so do I.
One day at a time... and sometimes, just one hour at a time.