When Monica’s daughter, Zoey, suddenly died on her 5th birthday on a trip to Disney World, she did not know how she could go on. How could she continue to be a good mother to her other daughter, a wife to her husband? As a physician, how could Monica continue to care for her patients?
I feel so drawn to Monica today, because I, too, struggled with those same thoughts. I would find myself wondering if I could not save Andy, did I have any business trying to treat other patients? If I ‘let him down,’ was it possible that i would let others down as well? On the surface, I could see that these are not rational questions, but inwardly, they would still sneak in.
Is there a magic answer to continuing to live after devastating loss? In some ways, the answer is definitely ‘no’, but at other times, I would say the answer to living each day is to simply do it ‘one day at a time.’ Trying to think too far ahead can be overwhelming, but taking things minute by minute and day by day is truly the key. This is how we all must survive.
Today, Monica relates her ‘secret’ to surviving the last 7 months since Zoey died. That secret is to collect little ‘nuggets’ of wisdom from other people who love her, grasping new ones to give her daily comfort. One such nugget that she has recently been clinging to is to think, ‘Every day that I make it, I am one day closer to Zoey.’
It is so easy for us to count the days since we lost our children. We know the date. It is written on a tombstone at the cemetery, but if we think of things differently, it changes our perspective. It is a fact that each day we live brings us one day closer to unification and not just one day further from loss. Somehow, that thought gives me just a little bit more peace to live each day.