February 28, 2006 I met an angel. Her name is Zoey and she's my beautiful granddaughter. I found something I wrote about her on Christmas Eve 2006. This is my edited version of it. The words I wrote then still ring true today. I love you Zoey. You are alive in my heart and I still feel your touch when I see butterflies!
Here is my writing:
The Tiniest Little Angel Named Zoey
by Andrea Tadpole-Broussard
At Thanksgiving dinner in 2005 my son Sedrick announced to us all that he and his now ex-wife were pregnant. Over the course of the next few months our excitement grew. We were not only expecting Sedrick's new baby, but my daughter Alicia was pregnant too. I was the proudest grandma you would know. Sedrick sent me ultrasound pics as he got them and every day at work I would look at the latest one on my computer monitor. I imagined how the baby would look and was so excited, we all were. I prayed for what I called "my little peanut" and my other grandchildren every day as I always do.
Looking back, the day before Zoey was born was rather surreal. Her mom hung out with me all day, which was unusual, but I was happy about it. I remember I kept thinking what an exciting time this was going to be. Two newborns in our lives at once! We talked about the upcoming baby showers and planned and dreamed that day. Little did we know what was about to transpire.
The next morning I got the call to rush to the hospital. This day is now known to me as "the most horribly beautiful day of my life". I will explain why I call it this eventually. As the day wore on family began to arrive and we embarked on this journey. We all prayed that God would intervene and save our little baby. Sedrick was such a wonderful, tender loving man all the way through. He never left her side. Held her, whispered words of encouragement to her, cried with her, wiped her tears. I was in total awe of the man my son had grown up to be.
Time seemed to stand still. The night seemed to last 100 years. We all held out hope that things would change. Then God sent an angel in the form of a nurse to give the devastating news. The baby would be coming and to prepare for the worst. I call this nurse an angel because she handled all of us in an honest yet loving way. She had walked this road many years ago herself and knew exactly the words to say to us.
The kids asked me to take the pictures when Zoey was born. Even though I knew what a daunting task this was, I considered it an honor to do so. I also know that it was God who took the pictures because I could barely see through all the tears. I personally view these pictures as a celebration of the life of the tiniest little Angel I have ever known. The images are seared in my mind's eye forever and Zoey's spirit is etched in my heart for all eternity.
These photographs also represent the love of a family and its ability to pull together and hold each other up when a tragedy such as this strikes. So, please know that these photos were taken out of desperate love for Zoey so her memory will survive.
When Zoey was born she was at 18 weeks gestation. The doctors stood there in amazement that she was even alive when she came out. Her heartbeat was so strong and I know if she could have, she would have stayed here with us. Yet, that was not in God's plan.
I am humbled by the memories I have of the strongest and most beautiful young man I have ever know....my son Sedrick. The loss he endured has been worse that any nightmare I have ever had, yet I have watched him keep trudging forward, sometimes gracefully and sometimes screaming and crying all the way. That is okay with me. Who would not be devastated? No one ever said you had to live gracefully through tragedy; you just have to live in spite of it and live he has.
My favorite photos are two....one is of Sedrick singing Jesus Loves Me to Zoey at her last moment of life. The other is of Zoey grabbing her daddy's finger with her little hand. Tell me there is no life at conception!! I am not buying it. The most beautiful picture of love was given to me in that moment. Someday when my heart can bare it I will paint this picture. Still today, 12 years later, the tears are too heavy to even try.
The saddest thing for me that first Christmas after Zoey was born was not being able to hold her. I miss her more than I know how to say. I can only imagine how her daddy must feel. If I could I would switch places with Zoey so he would not hurt anymore.
We all grieve in our own way, and mine has been in silence with a void deeper than the Grand Canyon. I do not have the ability to "suck it up and move on" nor do I ever desire to be that callous. One cannot walk through this kind of event without being forever changed. I say this because I beg you all to please just love us where we are at and help us ride the waves of emotion when they hit no matter how long ago it was. If we keep pulling together and grieve together, the load we have to bare will not be as heavy.
I myself believe that I will never "get over" Zoey, nor do I want to. In her brief moments Zoey taught me about the most important things in life…..love and family. Zoey declared her love for us all by reaching out and grabbing her daddy's finger; by hearing her daddy sing and by fighting to live 11 minutes. This little, teeny, tiny girl managed to make us all stop our chaotic lives and gather together in a hospital room to witness the miracle that she was.
Zoey taught me not to take people for granted and to cherish each moment because we do not know when it will be our last. I believe that Zoey is still among us in Spirit. She shows herself to me in Courtney's vivid imagination, in the twinkle in Bella's eye, in Kaylee's infectious laughter and in Destiny's tenderness.
As I said before, the day Zoey was born was the most horribly beautiful day of my life. Horrible because I could not fix it, I could not switch places and give her life. Horrible because of the sorrow and pain I have seen my son walk through. Beautiful because I have watched a family lift each other up and weather this storm together. Beautiful because I was blessed to know Zoey and see her mighty spirit in that hospital room that day. Beautiful because Zoey will be in our hearts forever.
So, in case life gets crazy and I forget to post this on February 28th (I am getting older ya know) Happy Early 12th Birthday Zoey! GeGe will never forget you, I will always love you until the end of time.