Remembering Doria

One Father's Journey after the Death of his Daughter

Different Kind of Winning, Different Kind of Losing


I thought I was going to write more often this fall. Mark this down as the second year in a row that I’ve found ways to fall behind. I’m still not used to that, but it’s OK. I catch up now, which is so much better. 

Around here, we’re heading into winter, the awful season of freezing temperatures, snow, ice, and lost hopes. As an indoors guy who doesn’t like cold, I hate winter. I really hate winter except for one thing: basketball!

Our Cyclones here are good, really good. That makes something I’m obsessed with even more fun than it would be otherwise. This season, though, we’ve added a different kind of winning, because we get to share it with Zoe, instead of wishing we could share it with Doria. Along that line, while we were anticipating Doria, a dear friend of ours gave us this cute pink Cyclone sweatshirt for Doria to wear to games with us: 



(Don’t mind the torn up office chair. That thing has been with me through seminary, and my history studies here at ISU. It has a legacy.)

Doria never got to wear the sweatshirt anywhere. In her memory, we had matching sweatshirts made for ourselves, and we wore them in Doria’s honor most of the season. This year, though, we got to pink out as a family, which wouldn’t have happened last year at all. We got Zoe all dressed up, headed out, and had a blast with a game that she’ll never remember. It was a win in every way.



There’s a retired couple that sits right in front of us, and has for 7 years now. It’s awesome to see the looks on their face every time Zoe appears. That girl lights up every room!  So, we’re winning, most of the time. As long as there isn’t screaming, we’re winning 🙂


I found a different kind of losing, too. Not just losing time with Zoe, although that stinks every time. Zoe and I had a little moment the other night. After 7 hours that rotated through screaming, eating, sleeping, and whatever, Zoe got playful. She grabbed my middle finger with both hands, locked her eyes onto it, and looked at it like she was saying “I WILL EAT IT.” I played horror and protested while she pulled my finger towards her mouth. Zoe moved her hands around, and it was clear she was measuring things out. She got the finger to her mouth, found one of her own hands still in the way, and the light bulb went on. She slid the hand away, dragged in the finger, and tried to get to the middle like a Tootsie Roll Pop. I kept protesting, but she didn’t care.

That was a fun game, and a bunch of cute games that followed. It’s not a real loss, but kind of in a stretchy way. I’ve pretty much lost the disbelief and wonder that Zoe actually came out alive. That’s being replaced with the wonder of her daily growth and change. Zoe learns and grows so quickly that we have a different daughter almost every day. In fact, she just woke up. Something is about to happen here. 

As experiences go, this is a whole different beast. Like last year, there’s a whole lot of unknown. What will the next few minutes bring? I never know. What about the next few weeks? I don’t know. I have ideas, but I don’t know. Can I function? The answer now–yes. Yes, I can. I need to function a whole lot more, because the pile of things to do never goes away, but things get done now. More bits of hope happen now. A little monster tried to lick my finger away. That was totally unexpected, but incredible.

Practically speaking, it’s just adding a different kind of hope to the different kinds of surprises. The loss remains, because Doria isn’t returning, but there’s so much more visible hope on top of it. Sure, when Zoe takes a long nap, I stare at her just to make sure it’s only a nap, but I know that it really is a nap. I can look over there without a dreadful panic.That’s a beautiful victory. 

Speaking of victory, they’re replaying a huge Cyclone victory on TV right now. Off to watch that yet again. I like winning.



2 thoughts on “Different Kind of Winning, Different Kind of Losing

  1. Real men can wear pink;) I’m so glad for the joy and peace you guys are getting to experience. Sometimes thinking of your lives now is a sort of lifeline out of the muck of my grief. Please keep sharing the joy with us.

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