Home sweet home !
Zoey’s dad, her brothers and I just committed to living under one such roof. We had toured a few houses in an area that we liked and luckily found a place that would suit most of our needs. No pie-in-the-sky aspirations about this house like our first home, way back in 2005. It had to meet our basic accommodation and comfort requirements and the one we liked, did that quite adequately. As we completed the formalities of the transaction, I happened to notice the excitement in all the people involved, be it our realtor, the seller’s realtor , the various attorneys etc. They innocently asked us whether we were ready to settle in and congratulated us on this new “phase/beginning”. Karthik and I just smiled through it. As we signed on the dotted line, I felt numb. Shouldn’t I be feeling happy or possibly remotely excited ? I had a smile on my face but I kept thinking to myself, “Why are they so excited. It’s just a house ? ” . Then I realized ….these people hadn’t seen their full-of-life child die right in their arms. I have to say, the image of Zoey’s last moments keeps coming back and with it comes this huge wave of gut-wrenching grief. However these days I seem to have good control over my tears and I force myself to think of happier times with Zoey. But this definitely wasn’t one of those controlled moments. We completed the transaction, walked out of the realtor’s office, sat in the car and I broke down, sobbing loudly. Her dad understood. He just sat there holding my hand for a moment. He remembered as well. The last home we bought, was when our first-born was alive.
I remember Zoey was about 3.5 years old. Zoey, Karthik and I had driven down to Princeton to tour the house. She walked into the house and started playing on the stairs. We looked at the rooms and she asked to see hers. Later, once we moved in, she insisted her room be painted in pink. She and I decorated the walls with beautiful flower decals. There was a neat little book shelf loaded with books that she enjoyed daily. It was a beautiful room for my beautiful child. She spent most lazy afternoons napping, reading and playing there with me. I feel blessed to have had that kind of time with her. How can I ever forget that home. It had Zoey written all over the place. It was hers. Truly hers. And when she left us, it didn’t make sense to continue living in that home, Zoey’s home. It just didn’t.
So here we are today, trying to do the same with our boys. The older one is also 3.5 years old. And younger is just 2. This new house will be their home. I know that excitement doesn’t exist for her dad and I. However for what it’s worth, we will try our level best to find joy again in this new house of ours. Find joy, find peace and find contentment ….hopefully. I won’t say things like “I hope these boys get to grow up in this house”. I don’t have that luxury. The future isn’t guaranteed to anyone. All I can hope and pray for is for happiness and contentment in the present and only the present.
Zoey I know you were there by my side, as I choked down a tear, trying to force a smile when signing that document. You were there all along. I felt your undying spirit guide me but all my heart wanted was a tight little hug from my girl. All my heart desired was the physical touch of your soft skin and your kiss on my cheek. …….someday maybe someday. Love you baby girl.