Another birthday without the birthday girl

I remember the night from 7 years ago like it was yesterday. The night that changed my life forever. That Monday night when Zoey decided to make her appearance, with her head full of thick black hair and sparkling big brown eyes. One look at her and I was in love like never before.

Had cancer not intervened, Zoey would have been 7 years old today. She would have just finished first grade and would have been looking forward to a summer filled with fun and laughter. She would have insisted on being girly and geeky at the time.She would have insisted on some fun themed birthday party with her school friends. She would have picked her own party favors and would have hand written all the thank you notes herself. She would have insisted on only eating the frosting of the cake, while leaving the rest of the cake for me or her Dada to finish later. Karthik and I would have taken her out for her celebratory birthday dinner and she would have ordered her favorite buttered penne pasta, especially mentioning the cheese on the side. The dinner would have been followed by a trip to her favorite ice cream shop. She would have had so much fun with her baby brother Anay. Anay would have been her tail running after her, calling her “Zo Akka”. Every morning he wakes up and blows flying kisses to his one and only one “Zo Akka”.

God knows what else she would have done in the last 18 months that she hasn’t been with us. God only knows what kind of experiences and opportunities we missed since her life was cut short so cruelly. Thanks to cancer she will forever be 5 years old.

However today is not about cancer. I will not focus on the monster that took her away. I will not focus on the poor funding for childhood cancer or request you to donate towards pediatric cancer research. I will not focus on the fact that 7 kids die of cancer everyday. Instead I will cherish the memories I have of her. I’ll reflect on all the birthdays we were blessed to have her with us. I’ll eat her favorite candy, I’ll lick the frosting on the cake, and talk about her to her baby brothers, Anay and Hari. Karthik and I are also going to honor her by distributing her favorite books and cupcakes at the pediatric oncology floor where she spent the last few days of her short life.

Zoey, my baby, I wish you were here and I wish you never had to leave. I wish I could celebrate all your birthdays all over again… I wish I never had to write this blog post. .. Happy birthday my love. Love you and miss you as always.
Your mom forever

Zoey on her birthday over the years:
Zoey the day she was born:
Zoey on the day she was born

Zoey on her first birthday:
1st birthday


Zoey on her 2nd birthday:

Zoey on her 3rd birthday:

Zoey on her 4th birthday: with her very own bike.

Zoey on her 5th birthday: ( last one we were blessed with)


12 thoughts on “Another birthday without the birthday girl

  1. Yes, zoey is there with us and always be with us, some times she brings smile in our face and some other times, tears flow from our eyes. But she has place in our thoughts and hearts,
    This zoey’s Ajja from this cruel Bhooloka!

  2. Suman- Even though I know you through another friend, I tear up every time I read what you write about Zoey and the times you had with her. I feel like giving you a hug.

  3. Its never easy to overcome the grief of losing your loved ones ;especially your child , but its also true , that the loving memories of this person can act as balm and help you to cope with the tragedy. Just trust in God and he will give you the strength ! May Zoey’s soul rest in peace .

  4. Beautiful post celebrating her fab-five years with you in person! hey, you forgot to add, maybe both you would have pranced around merrily to “Let it go” too! Knowing a little bit of her through your writings, I am sure this song would have been her favorite.
    Take care,

  5. Happy Birthday Zoey….

    You may not know me, but it does not matter. What matters is that you are having a ball on your B-day with your BFF- Krish and your loving family. I am sure you are having a great time because how can you miss this opportunity. Others may not see you but I am sure your loved ones can feel you….

    Dear Mom,

    “Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there – I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints in snow,
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    As you awake with morning’s hush
    I am the swift-up-flinging rush
    Of quiet birds in circling flight.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry,
    I am not there – I did not die….”

    – Poem by Mary Elizabeth Frye

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful child with us. Our prayers, thoughts and hugs as you continue your journey, cherishing those wonderful memories of your little Angel.
    I wanted to share with you the experience that your little Zoey gave me, soon after I heard she had moved into the loving arms of Lord Krishna, from the ever loving arms of her parents. I happened to be copied on a mailing list from India, who were all praying for her recovery and my husband and I were heart broken to know she had left this mortal world. I could not cry in front of my 4 year old girl then, so I hopped into my car recollecting what I had read about her, her thoughts of Krishna in the final days and I cried my heart out and drove away to do my groceries at Patels. I was struck, as I reached Patels, there was a Iskcon group singing bhajans in front of the store. I finished my shopping and tearfully shared with the Iskcon devotees, that I heard about this child whose thought were all about krishna in her last moments and I wanted to make a donation in her memory. They accepted it and in return asked me to pick a book or cd and I chose the Krishna Bhajans by Dhanavir Goswami, so that my little girls could listen to them. I played them as soon as I got into the car and the second song called Sri Nama, made me cry so much, I am unable to verbalize my emotions. Was it the grief, the connection with God or the soulful singing, I do not know , but I can tell you this, I was Touched and I believe it’s your beautiful little girl,who made me experience it. I wondered if she was giving me the experience she enjoyed thinking of Krishna. I felt this way for the next few weeks and all I could hear was the song of Hare Krishna ringing in my ears. I have wanted to share this with you for some time now, but was unsure how to reach you and then I realized we have a common friend and was going to write a note and send it to you through her and that’s when I saw your blog and decided to share it with you her.

    Your life experiences are profound, personal and simply impossible to be comprehended by others, it can never be, but our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  7. Pingback: Another birthday without the birthday girl | TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation

  8. Suman, A mother’s love to her child is the purest unconditional love mankind has ever known and your writings stand as a testimony. Not downplaying the role of father, but I’m sure you get my point. IF there was anything in medical science where in a mother’s brain tissue or father’s brain tissue could have helped fight the cancer in the brain stem for Zoey, either of you would have done without even blinking or thinking about your life or your functioning. From the day Zoey was born till her last breath in this life you guys filled her life with love and affection that she deserved. I’m sure your boys when they grow up will appreciate all that you gave and did for Zoey.

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