Saturday, September 18, 2010


I just finished looking through the pictures of Zoe's funeral. What an emotional day it was. The most poignant image was of Michael, chair pulled right up next to the casket, peacefully looking at his mom...

I know it seemed weird to some people that I was taking pictures. You're supposed to take pictures at happy events, right? But I guess that's just my way of giving, of contributing, and of preserving a moment in time that someday the family might want to remember. I asked Kevin beforehand if he wanted me to get pictures of people and the flowers and such, and he said that would be nice. At first I was somewhat timid because I didn't want to intrude on people's privacy, but after awhile I figured that we would never get this day back and it was better to have too much than not enough. As Kevin said, "just take them and we can always delete them later..." I won't share them here because it's not my place, but there are some wonderful images of people talking and sharing support, some darling pictures of the kids, and tender moments at the graveside.

One thing I was able to do for the funeral was prepare a collection of images from Zoe's life. It was such an honor to do that, to give everyone a visual reminder of the full life that Zoe lived. Kevin's sisters did a wonderful job designing the table, using several of Zoe's Willow Tree sculptures. Many people commented that their favorite image was from Zoe's baptism day, before she and Kevin were a couple, when Kevin was a missionary in England. To see them both in white and think of the eternal nature of their relationship was a great comfort.

Now that the funeral is over, we all face the difficult task of adjusting to a new normal, without Zoe. It just seems so unreal sometimes. It's been hard not to be melancholy and I find that I just don't want to be alone. I need to be around other people who love Zoe, or I just want to sleep.

Dan is coming home from mud school in Houston in 7 days. I'm so anxious not to be alone anymore, yet I'm having mixed emotions about how our future is going to proceed. Mud school seemed manageable because it was a specific amount of time with an end in sight. We were anticipating that Dan was going to have a consistent schedule of two weeks on, two weeks off at a site only 3 hours away. But currently the natural gas rigs in Pinedale are pretty much tapped out, so there's no work there. Dan will likely have to work out of the Casper office and will probably be on a rig in northern Colorado. Not exactly within driving distance for a day trip. And they're short-handed on mud engineers, so Dan will likely have to work much longer than 2 weeks at a time until Halliburton gets more mud engineers trained.

It's so disappointing to get to the end of this big challenge and realize that it's probably not going to improve a lot in terms of our time together as a family. While I have learned a lot about my capacity to handle day-to-day life on my own, and felt empowered by my relative success, we are not a whole family like this:

(Photo taken at Zoe's funeral. Her favorite color was blue.)

I'm ready to feel whole again. And my heart aches for Kevin because he's feeling that emotion exponentially. Zoe's death has brought an insecurity, an uncertainty to all of us. We're not sure what to do with ourselves. I'm not sure I can have confidence in the future right now. My whole world could be ripped away at any moment. I have faith that God can make all things whole, but it's so hard abiding. A strange combination of worry and indifference cloud my mind right now. I'm afraid to feel too deeply, to need too desperately. I hope this soon passes so that I can be a proper wife and mother to the family I adore.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How about some happy pictures?

The last two days have brought a lot of comfort concerning Zoe. The Spirit has been strong, working hard as the Comforter, and I've had a chance to talk through my feelings with some people close to me and close to Zoe. I feel a great sense of peace about where Zoe is, that her humor and companionship are not lost, and that she will continue to be a presence in all of our lives. Her viewing is tomorrow night and the funeral is on Wednesday. The Nates put me in charge of compiling and framing all of the pictures for the funeral, so I am enjoying that labor of love and smiling as I think of all the fun times we enjoyed with Zoe. Thank you all for your kind comments and support.

Now, how about some happy pictures? Here are some recent ones from the last few weeks:

Lily's first day of 3rd Grade, complete with siblings still in their PJ's and Mack sporting the white trash sneakers-over-footie-pj's look. 8-23-2010.

Stylish outfit courtesy of Target (sweater), Walmart (shirt), Old Navy (pants) and Children's Place (shoes). Ensemble chosen completely by Lily.

Geez, who IS that long-legged kid striding into Mr. Teichert's class?

\This beauty got himself trapped in our house and hung out in the front window all morning. I kept smiling and thinking that my friend Samantha was there in spirit to pay me a little visit. 8-24-2010

Snuggles in the Closet Bed. 8-27-2010

Amelia's first day of Preschool. She was so excited to load up her backpack for the very first time.

The girl is not shy, that's for sure!

Mack and Biggie spinning on the new playground at the Elementary School. 9-01-2010

I visited Dan over Labor Day weekend. As you can see, he is full of love for his home away from home for the last 8 weeks. Or maybe he just knew he was gonna get lucky that night. Hard to say. 9-05-2010

I was in Houston on Amelia's 4th birthday, so we celebrated yesterday at the Nates. She picked this cake out of the Wilton book several months ago and has been waiting and waiting for her ice cream cone castle cake. 9-12-2010

Grandma Lynette got Amelia this little outfit for her birthday and today she asked could she please wear it to Bal-ah-lay (Ballet) class. It was perfect! 9-13-2010

It's hard being the only boy with two older sisters.
But don't worry Daddy, he's got a ball and a scabby elbow, so he's OK. 9-13-2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

This is my friend Zoe.

Zoe is married to Brian Nate's brother Kevin (Brian is Dan's best friend and our next door neighbor). Zoe is 31 years old and mother to 5-year-old Michael and 11-month-old Olivia. The Nates are our adopted family here in Cokeville, so Zoe is family. But she is also my friend.

Zoe died on Monday.

She had been sick with the flu and Kevin had taken the kids to his mom's so Zoe could rest. Kevin and Zoe spent a quiet afternoon at home, napping and watching TV. Shortly before 5:00pm, Kevin looked over at his sleeping Zoe and noticed that her lips looked blue. Just then his sister Katie arrived to bring the kids back and Kevin asked, "Do Zoe's lips look blue to you?" They called 911 and Kevin began CPR, but Zoe was gone.

Just gone.

After extensive autopsies, the cause of death is still unknown. No sign of heart trauma, no aneurysm, no lung failure, no toxins or weird drug interactions, nothing.

It is hard to fathom how someone can just be gone with no explanation. I won't try to imagine what each member of the Nate family is going through, I cannot know their grief, I can only know my own grief.

I don't think anyone really knew, not even Dan, that Zoe had really become a good friend of mine in the last few months. Zoe understood some things about me that not everyone can. I can't say too much right now because I'm just too emotional. But I had really begun to rely on Zoe, especially since Dan has been gone, as someone I could talk to and just comfortably be with anytime, without agenda or expectation.

I hope that she can see, that she can look down from heaven and know how much she was loved.