Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter


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Only One Thing to Fear

I’ve been teaching an introductory course this summer in early U.S. history. In the course, we’ve talked a lot about different fears that various people in the early nation (and before the nation) had, and different approaches and solutions that they took to alleviate them or to make them worse.

Sitting around tonight, I got to take that and think about all of the fears that came from losing Doria. There was that fear about whether I could actually get work done anymore. That’s going prodigiously right now, as the course runs on at a relentless pace, and final preparations for my own exams press on as well.

Of course, the biggest fear kept running through the rainbow wait while Zoe was bringing her own heart-stopping troubles inside the womb, with her untimely breaks in kicking, dodging the nonstress test sensors, developing the cyst that meant nothing, and right on until it was time to induce because she was in no hurry to leave her comfortable little home. I remember that night, when Becky and Zoe both lost some blood pressure right after the epidural, and the moments where leaving the maternity ward as a widower was vaguely possible (but never likely), and then that dramatic entry into the world where her cord snapped the moment she emerged. Zoe knew drama, and she wasn’t bothered by that.

As Zoe plugs along towards her first birthday, that’s become the only thing left to “fear”: the girl knows no fear. Apparently, she just assumes that she can make things work when she wants to, and charges straight ahead like consequences aren’t even possible. Obviously, some of that is a learning process and she finds out that some thnigs don’t go well, but the Zoenator never stops. There seems to be no limit to her fearlessness, which means that she’ll try anything and think it’s awesome. Whatever’s left of my heart when she’s all grown will probably be stronger. It will have to be.

Zoe knew drama on the inside. She’s fearless on the outside. I was so focused just getting to the victory line that I never bothered to think about it, but this is exactly what I would have wanted, or should have wanted. Our little rainbow girl is wildly full of life. That’s really the only concern I could ever want, because she grows up this way full of excitement and joy.

Zoe’s sleeping as I type this, resting up for whatever she has in store tomorrow…


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Dwelling (Doria’s Mom)

Talking tonight made me think about the word dwelling. The dictionary says that it means to live or continue in a given condition or state or to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing. What do you dwell on? Where does your mind stay?

It’s a strange place to be as a grieving parent and a parent of a living baby. It seems like there are times I take turns being sad and joyful. Just this past week with all of the rain, I constantly thought about Doria’s little grave that would be flooded over and her marker would be muddy. I chose not to visit because I did not want to see water over her. On the other hand, most of the week was also full of joy when watching Zoe be more mobile and learning new things.

Dwelling also makes me think about Philippians 4:4—8:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Grieving is all consuming for everyone at some point. It is normal and not unexpected for it to be all you can think about. Yet to constantly dwell in sadness is not good for anyone in the long run either. The Doctor that delivered Doria was very firm and very concerned for us. He warned us about depression and spoke to us about signs that might mean we need to get help. I have worked in a nursing home and have seen people give up. All they could think about were negative thoughts and their health became worse and some even died.

Your loss will never go away. You can make the decision (and it may be a hard one) to think on something else. To purposefully distract your mind from the negative thoughts to something better. It does take time. You have to find out what will help you (and that is healthy). Verse eight has several good ideas to start with.

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