Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

Normal, but Different

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Normal but different.  That’s how I’d sum things up at this point in time. In a lot of ways, we’re doing the same things that we’ve done before, but they aren’t the same. That doesn’t mean that they’re bad. It’s not some morose “everything is awful now” sort of thing. Things aren’t bad. They’re just different.

We went tonight to see one of our favorite sporting events: ISU Volleyball. Since it’s such a perfect family sport (and judging by the crowd, a perfect girls’ sport), we like to call it Dori-ball now. It was the sport we’re used to. Exciting, action-packed, Cyclone victory, all-around good time. Great time, and it felt very normal. 

A couple of things were very different, of course. For example, the match took place at Hilton Coliseum, which is the place where Doria’s tree is planted next Thursday. While the crowd was heading towards Hilton, we headed for the flag that marks her tree’s future home. That was really enjoyable. They marked out all the lines and such, and the tree’s spot didn’t move at all. Without knowing, we picked the perfect spot right between the power lines and the telephone lines, so there’s a nice flag there that says “tree OK.” The letters “OK” are painted onto the grass that’s giving up it’s home.  It was different, but really cool to see that sport where Doria’s tree is going. 

Inside, there was a nice change. At volleyball, you notice children everywhere. There is a massive crew of girls that help move the volleyballs around, and people bring herds of their own little Dorias. At the first couple of matches we attended this year, we both kept seeing all of these girls, and really couldn’t stop thinking “That would/should have been Doria.” Unless I’m missing something, tonight’s the most peaceful we’ve been about that at a volleyball match. I know I was, and Becky was back to pointing out little toddler girls. That’s always been our other sport. 🙂

As things go, what we wore to the match was normal but different. We wore matching sweatshirts, which has always been normal for us. We already had a nice stable of 2-3 matching sweatshirts. I hear people sometimes chuckle about couples doing that, but we’re old married people. We don’t have to impress anybody, so we do our own fun “uniform” thing. That’s been a standard for years now. It doesn’t look right when we don’t match.

What makes this year’s matching different is that we’ve added pink to our wardrobe. It’s Doria’s color, and we love wearing pink as a tribute to hear and what she’s means to our lives. During the pregnancy, pink became a running joke, but also part of our lives. I’m a guy, so pink hasn’t traditionally been my color. Becky is not real frilly, you could say, and wasn’t real excited about the color pink, even for a baby girl. She didn’t outright reject it; she just wasn’t racing to embrace pink. As we drew closer to Doria’s due date, we were bringing in more and more pink, some from our own purchases, some from gifts. We really got to love looking around the apartment and seeing pink things. It became part of our lives. When we were selecting the outfit  for our overnight suitcase, the onesie that Doria would wear home, it came down to a pink Cubs onesie and a pink Cyclone onesie. Finally, the pink Cyclone onesie won out. We were all in for pink!


Of course, Doria didn’t wear that onesie home. Now we’re loaded with pink baby stuff. We thought that we could either reject pink now or embrace it as Doria’s color. We’re embracing it. Some dear friends from our church bought a cute pink Cyclone hoodie for Doria. We worked with a T-shirt place here in town to get a matching version of that hoodie for ourselves this month. We wore our matching pink hoodies tonight, and those things are 2-0. One football victory and one in volleyball. Overall, across sports, pink (in one item or another) is 5-0 this year, including a Dori-ball win over #1 Nebraska. Go pink!

That’s just a quick look at our new world here. Doing the same things but seeing them completely differently.  That’s life at this stage. Doria made her mark on our lives. Things are normal, but different.



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