Soon after my most recent blog post, I received this e-mail from my father-in-law Tom...
"This is just a thought from a guy so please feel free to ignore it as we guys sometimes are too logical but I had some thoughts as I read your blog today. What if you could visualize what Zoe is doing daily as you do what you are doing here. If you send a son or daughter on a Mission there is a sense of loss and separation but you have a pretty clear understanding of what they do on a daily basis. You understand what their responsibilities are and that makes the separation easier to understand and accept. So if you could read the scriptures and teachings from the Prophets regarding work on the other side and then add to that by praying for further guidance and understanding in the Temple maybe you could get a glimpse of how Zoe's work is paralleling yours. That way she does not seem forgotten but instead is remembered daily. She could be included in daily prayers, that she will be successful in whatever assignment she has been given. You could seek guidance as to what you could do here that might assist her in that work. I don't know maybe I am off base but I thought I would share that with you. Pops A"
While laying in bed, I read this message and it was like cracking open a window in a stuffy room. A breath of fresh air. Why didn't I think of that? Because my Heavenly Father know's that I can't do this alone. I prayed that night, thanking Him for this new insight and the guidance to know where to begin.
The very next morning, I met my friend Erin to go walking. As soon as she got out of her car, she handed me her Kindle and said "Here, take this. It's this book I want you to read." The title of the book is, "What's On the Other Side? What the Gospel Teaches Us about the Spirit World" by Brent L. Top. God doesn't waste time, does he? While burning calories, Erin then shared with me what she got out of the book and how it has helped her grieve the passing of her grandmother.
I started reading the book that evening and have been lifted up ever since. Many of my questions have been answered through Prophets, Apostles and many shared testimonials. I am so grateful to be a part of this Gospel and to have such knowledge available to me. It is truly a blessing of comfort and hope. I now know that Zoe has work to do beyond this life. She is an angel among many, teaching and sharing the truths of the Gospel.
My daughter is and never will be far from our family. We are sealed together for all eternity and that begins here and now. She will be a part of our lives... every step of the way. I don't have to leave her behind or fear moving forward, because she goes where I go. Not only her memory in our family, but her spirit will always be with us.
I am starting to get used to the reminders and learning to embrace them. This past week, we went to a pumpkin patch and Londyn rode a pony for the first time. Of course, Londyn's pony was named Gracie. Again, our Zoe Grace is always with us.
Another experience was at our friend Alex's birthday party. There was another couple there with a baby named Zoe. We were sitting right next to them. Their baby was 5 months old, close to how old Zoe would be now. Andrew and I couldn't stop staring at her. It was bittersweet because I wanted to be friendly, but I was having a hard time being near them. I usually don't have a difficult time being near other babies, but this was different. It really hit me when her dad was playing with her and called her "Zo-zo". I instantly looked at Andrew and fell apart in tears. I excused myself to the ladies room. That has been our nickname for Zoe since she was born and it caught me off guard. I missed Zoe terribly that night.
Today is my 26th birthday and yet I feel like it's my 46th. This year I have been tired and worn down... tested physically, emotionally and spiritually. In the midst of all the pain, I have witnessed miracles. True miracles. I have been blessed countless times and continue to feel the love of my Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ. Tonight, Bishop Jaussi stopped by for a short visit. He gave us an envelope and enclosed was $905.00 in cash. Earlier this week, I had reached out to our ward e-mail group to find resources for custom grave markers and monuments. We have been wanting so badly to have something lovely placed at the head of Zoe's grave but we just don't have the funds for such a purchase right now. I had no idea that church members would soon gather donations to help our family. We continue to be blessed by the faith, love and service of many. I wish I could express my gratitude to each and every individual who has and continues to reach out to us. Your kindness has not gone unnoticed. From the bottom of our hearts, we love and appreciate you.