We have survived over 13 months without our sweet Zoey. Karthik and I have survived her 6th birthday, her brother’s first birthday, our first Diwali without her, our first Thanksgiving without her, two Christmases and including tonight, two New Years without her. Yes life goes on and we go through it’s motions everyday missing our sweet baby with all our heart. So tonight we welcome 2014, hoping and trying to keep the faith, braced for whatever life has to offer in the new year.
As we enter 2014, I’d like to reflect on the lessons I learnt from my baby girl’s sweet but extremely short life. Moreover these are lessons for my son as he lives his life without his Zoey Akka’s physical presence by his side. ( I say her physical presence because I am convinced without any doubt, that her spirit is always, always and ALWAYS by his side.)
1. Have FAITH ( This one is a struggle for me everyday. But I am trying my best to keep my faith going)
Have faith in yourself and in others. Faith will carry you when reason fails you. Find something to have faith in, it may be in your GOD or it may the goodness and kindness in people around you. But always keep that faith.
2. Enjoy the little things in life
I have learnt this entirely from my baby girl. Being a busy working parent and always juggling between several chores, we sometimes forget to stop, take a moment and just be with our kids. We forget to enjoy the little things. We are always waiting for the next activity, the next chore that is … We forget the joy of watching a 5-year-old snuggle and talk to her soft toy in her sleep with wide smile on her face, or the joy of watching a 1-year-old play with his toy again and again as if he were seeing it for the very first time. I remember my Zoey telling me to slow down, how I was not to hurry her royal highness 🙂 . It’s these little moments that matter most in life.
3. Family is the most important thing in life.
Your parents will always be with you no matter what you do in life. Your siblings have grown up with you and know you like no one else would ever know. Time may create distances in your relationship but at the end of the day, you can always , always count on them. For Zoey till the end, it was about her Dada, her Mama, her baby brother ( also called as soccer ball) , her Ajja and Domi (my parents) , her Thatha and Pita (karthik’s parents), her aunts, uncles and cousins. She insisted that each and every one come and sit with her, play with her and spend time with her during her last week here on earth.
4. Try not to be bitter ( learn to let go)
(This one is really hard for me. I struggle with it everyday , sometimes several times a day). Learn to let go off your expectations from others around you. Try not to assume and judge someone for their behavior. You don’t know what the other person is going through at the time.
5. Embrace life and death.
After seeing your child take her last breath in your arms, you have new-found appreciation for both life and death. You realize death is inevitable and there is no reason to fear or worry about it. In fact after the initial shock and despair wears off, you begin to embrace death in a new way. I will always be in awe of my baby girl as she embraced her final journey to eternity with such poise and grace. I can only strive to be half as graceful as she was when it’s my time to go. I know my girl braved to go someplace all by herself, fully aware there her Mama and Dada wouldn’t be able to join her. If a 5-year-old could embrace life and death in its entirety, why can’t we ?
The next time I post, it will be 2014. I’d like to thank everyone that joined our fight against childhood cancer and hope that in 2014, we will reach our goal for Zoey’s DIPG Research Fund at Stanford. I’d also like to thank everyone for reading about my Zoey’s life and following my journey as her grieving mom. I am truly honored and touched. A BIG HEARTFELT THANK YOU to all of you.