That trip to the grocery store

Zoey and I loved shopping for groceries. I’d pick her up from daycare and head straight to Whole Foods next door. We would spend time exploring the various aisles selecting fresh fruits, veggies etc. and then head straight to the gelato bar. Here Zoey would relish her orange and vanilla gelato and I would get a cup of coffee to go.

So when she passed away last year I couldn’t bring myself to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods. We found another local grocery store near our place and started going there for most things we needed. We did this for nearly 6 months. I did miss the freshness of vegetables and fruits that were offered at Whole Foods, but really, who cared about what food we ate during those days. My son was just 25 days old when his sister passed away and all he needed for nutrition was mothers milk or formula.
But now he is year old and has started having table food. So a few months back, I did feel the need to venture out of my comfort zone. I typically pick a time when I know it will not be crowded , so the chance of meeting someone I know out there is minimal. I typically make it quick and just stick to my list of items to be bought. I don’t explore the store like I used to with my Zoey.
So the other day I had just finished shopping and was heading straight to checkout. I noticed someone who’s son went to same school as Zoey. As luck would have it, she was right behind me in the checkout line. She saw Anay and congratulated me on his arrival. I suppose she did not know about Zoey, so she innocently asked me which school my girl was going to. I had dreaded this question and was trying to answer without breaking down. I told her and saw her go pale with shock. She did say she was so sorry and how life was so unpredictable. Then she went on to add that how life seems unfair and how her older child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3. She probably did not remember it, but I already knew this about her son. I really don’t know why she brought that up with me. I am not sure how she could compare her child’s health condition to me losing my child permanently. Maybe she was so shocked that she did not what else to say to me ? Anyhow ….I tried to smile and look straight ahead to pay for my stuff. I know that seeing your child suffer with juvenile diabetes is very hard for a parent. However I still wonder why she told me that again ? There have several times in the past 11 months, when I have met people who just don’t know what to say to me when they meet me.

This conversation with her, prompted me to write this post. I typically avoid writing about my negative experiences here because I want this blog to reflect positive attitude and hope that my daughter had till the end. But today I want to take a moment to jot down some dos and don’ts when communicating with a recently bereaved parent. I truly believe that people just don’t know how to deal with someone who has recently lost their child.

I have noticed that people don’t want to mention your child’s name during a conversation. I guess they feel they are protecting you. But most bereaved moms will tell you how they want to hear their child’s name over and over again. Because every time someone says her or his name, it’s like sweet music to our ears. Yes there is a chance we may cry , and crying is the new normal for us. I want to hear Zoey’s name every possible chance I get. If you have a special memory of the child, mention it to the us. If you happen to remember the child’s birthday, send a card or a thoughtful email to the parent. It will only make it so much more special to know that someone else has acknowledged your child’s life.

Do not compare the child’s condition with someone you know who has cancer or some other health condition. Because each cancer is different and especially with pediatric cancer, one is never sure of how a child responds to treatment. Some kids may respond favorably while others may not have that luck.

If you don’t know what to say, just hug. Because sometimes a hug is all it takes. There is typically nothing much left to say to a parent that has lost their child. A hug says you care and you are there for them.

I am going to end this blog post with something positive that happened recently at a good friend’s place. She had invited us for Navratri celebrations ( navratri is a indian festival) and my husband and I were dreading meeting other people there. Nevertheless we went and did have a decent time. She and her husband went out of their way to make us comfortable.
At the end when we were about to leave, she was handing out little favor bags for all the little kids that had come there. I was so surprised to see one for Zoey along with the one for Anay. She truly made my day and if you are reading this, you know who you are. Thank you and always know that we will remember that gesture forever. In the last 11 months a lot of people seemed to have walked out of our life. I am not complaining and I truly have no resentment towards them. It’s not easy to be around us, bereaved parents. I did not know a bereaved parent till I became one last year, so I completely get it.
However my daughter taught me to always look at the positive side of things and so today I will. I am thankful for the few friends and family that have insisted on staying in our lives. I will be thankful for all those complete strangers, acquaintances or long-lost school friends that have constantly checked in with us to see how we are doing. I sincerely thank all of you for your unconditional and unwavering love and support, without which we wouldn’t have made it through this year.

Zoey’s mom forever
Suman

My baby and me

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20 thoughts on “That trip to the grocery store

  1. Suman – I have never met you or Zoey but came across your posts through FB. Even though I don’t know you, I had to comment after reading your posts because they brought tears to my eyes. Your love for your little one comes out through and through. She had the horrible misfortune of a terrible disease but couldn’t have found parents who loved her more. I pray that you continue to find strength to deal with your loss. For what it’s worth, you are touching a lot of people with your writing and we are wishing and praying for you and your family. Do continue to write – there may be others out there who are equally in need of support who are finding solace in your words. Take care.

      • I came across our page through facebook. I could not control my tears reading Zoey’s story. I have a five year old daughter just like Zoey and am expecting my second one. So I could put myself in your shoes and at least begin to remotely understand (never can fully understand a mother’s loss unless you go through it) what you must have went through. I applaud you for focusing all that into making a positive difference in the world for future generations. Hope we get a respite from this disease. Nothing is more painful than losing a kid 😦 (Only a mother/father could understand the extent of this unfairness).

        I pray God to give you and your family lots of strength to go through with this. Take care.

  2. Suman, I know Asha and that’s how I started reading about you and your Zoey, or should I say “our Zoey”. I just want to say that you are making Zoey live, and in a more special and bigger way.. So many more people who havent met you or her know her and ,just like me, love her! Know her favorite colors, songs, her love for ballet & sea animals! God knew you were special, so he sent his angel to bless you..I’m so glad you have Anay, to push you to normalcy or even mundane chores and to find glimpses of our Zozo in him .. Love to you and your family!

  3. Dear Suman,

    Thank you for making us a part of Zoey and your beautiful memories… i remember the time we spent with zoey at the farm fall festival. Zoey was so ecstatic about the pony ride.She is the kindest kid i have come across. I wish i had had the opportunity to know her even better, but i am now, thanks to you.As lucky as you are to have zoey in your life , zoey is luckier to have you for her MOM…. i have always looked up to you suman, and have always wanted to be a mother like you…always so loving and involved with your kids activities…

    Hugs and love to you and your Zoey…

  4. Suman – you write so well and its really very nice to read all the beautiful memories that you share about your Zoey.
    I never really got the opportunity to spend time with you or with the sweet Zoey – but, the one time that I met you……. I remember her as a wonderful child and you as a very calm mom.
    Just hang in there and stay strong.
    {{{{HUGS}}}}

  5. Thank you Suman for sharing your life with us, who may not know you in the real world but really feel fortunate to crossed paths in virtual world. I stumbled upon your FB page & ultimately to this post, I can’t thank you enough for reminding me that life with our little ones is worth enjoying each & every moment! I am a mother to a four year old girl with a traveling husband. I, at times get annoyed & frustrated acting like a singe parent & vent it all on my daughter but your writings have changed me. After reading all your posts, I hugged my little one & made a promise to me not to let her know that I feel tired & annoyed. Thanks again for sharing your experience about your Zozo & I am sure she is in a much happier place!
    Hugs to you!
    Anamika

  6. Hi suman,

    I just got to read your posts through fb. Being a mother of a five year old myself I cant bring myself to even think what you were going through. I wish anay the Lord’s choicest blessings and may God give karthik and you all the strength and may zoey’s memory live long. I dont think I would have been able to survive this.

  7. suman, I was greatly moved by your posts ,may the Almighty give you and your hubsand courage and patience to bear this huge loss. can i please have your email adress.

  8. Suman,you are a very brave and strong mom…your blogs made me cry and made me realize that nothing is permanent in this world,we have to let go what has to go..life teaches you many things,life has to go on no matter what,time will heal anything and everything,may zoey’s spirit and positivity be there in our life as well and teaches us to be full of life,positive throughout…

  9. Suman…tears don’t stop after going through the page after page of the sweetest memories of little Zoey….you were truly gifted to have such a blessing in life. I can’t imagine the tough times you all must have gone through all those months. I am sure Zoey is smiling at you with her lil Krishna and making sure you guys are fine. Have so much to say, but can’t express at all…take care

    lots of warm hugs,
    Sheetal

  10. Hi Suman,
    While I was going through the various posts, I could visualize our little Zoey in a blue frock standing and smiling. She is (yes I said is because I believe she is around, watching all of us) one of the most positive kid from her age.
    All that I want to do now is come there and give you one big warm hug.
    If at all I can do anything for you,

    Lots of love,
    Radhika

  11. Hi Suman, I got to know about this blog through FB post and would like to thank you for capturing those lovely moments with your precious daughter and I must say you are a brave and wonderful mother. Also thanks for mentioning how people should react to recently bereaved parent, when I lost my son during the 9th month of pregnancy I was more depressed with people’s comparison, their lack of knowledge on diagnosis / issues .. I didn’t know how to get out of it and I just shut myself from interacting with people was never brave like you. Now I have a 2 yr old daughter who gives us so much joy and happiness. I’m sure Zoey is having a wonderful time with little Krishna and taking care of her little brother and you guys. Have a wonderful time and wishing you and your family a happy life. Take care and a huge thanks.

    • Priya, I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Loss of child, be it a newborn, a toddler or a grown up adult , is irreparable. When you lose your child , you lose a future that you had planned with him. I know what you mean by when you say you were depressed. I am so happy that you have a beautiful daughter now and that your life is filled with joy, even though you miss your son.

  12. Suman, I came to know about your blog through FB. I started reading but didn’t finish and couldn’t control my tears. Went for a bath and came back to finish reading the blog. I am a mother of a 7 yr old boy who is the love of my life. I go through a lot of struggles just for him and can’t imagine my life without him. I only can say this. You are a darling. Your husband is the best.Your son is an angel. And that little Zoey, is a princess who is watching you from the heaven above. I agree that life is unfair at times and the only way to get over is to let go of the whys and the how’s. There is no reasoning behind why things are the way they are. You see so many bad doers living happily and the good ones suffer day in and out. Since you say that you are believers in Krishna, I suggest you go to ISKCON and attend the “Why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people ?” seminar. I have heard about it but did not get a chance to attend but hoping to do so. With a truck full of my love and best wishes to you.

  13. I just stumbled upon your blog and I am crying uncontrollably sitting her at my office desk. I have never ever commented on any blog nor am I a blogger or an avid blog follower. Your writing has touched my heart and I am so so sorry for your your loss. The world is a better place because Zoey was and is in it. I just want to give you a big hug and Thank you for these beautiful post. Lots of love strength and peace – Deepika

  14. Hi Suman,

    Cannot tell you How bad I feel reading about Zoey.. the angel who brought so much happiness to your life.. Zoey darling, be safe and happy where ever you are.. We will all see you in God’s own garden soon.. You are loved so by many people all ove the world.. God why are you so unkind…

    Chitra

  15. I came across this blog through facebook. I do not know you or Zoey.. but please do continue writing as it will keep Zoey alive and I can see such a sweet and happy child in her through your writing. Be strong and be assured that she is playing with her dear Krishna… and is with you always. My prayers will be with your family from this day forward. Be strong for yourself , your family and more importantly for your dear Zoey.. Take care…

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