Zoë and I lived at Children’s and for Zoë it was truly her home away from home. For nearly exactly half her life she lived at Children’s.
Is it hard to be there? Yes. But is it hard to be at my house? Yes. Is it hard to be at work? Yes. Is it hard to be anywhere? Yes. So really it is equally as hard to be at Children’s as it is to be anywhere else.
Why did I go back? Why so soon? I went back to see my other family. The family that formed around Zoë. I got to hug her nurses, and say hello to her Child Life Specialist. I got to sit for well over an hour and pour my heart out, laugh, and tear up with Rabbi Susan. I got to say, “Thank you”, again. I also got to say, “Goodbye”, to a little boy and his mother who will be leaving Children’s for their home next week.
I will always have major mixed emotions about Children’s Hospital. It is a hospital after all, and an institution, with changing staff, and patients. There will be a time when Zoë and I will be but a memory, and then poof; forgotten. Although they do their best to make it fun, and bright it is still a clinical, and sterile hospital.
But there is also so much more. The memories of taking Zoë for walks around the hallways. The time out in the garden. The nights of dancing, and singing. Dinner “dates” with Zeppo. My birthday, Zoë’s month “birthdays”. Cakes, and flowers, and balloons. Smiles, and laughter.
I will never be able to go to Children’s and not see Zoë. She is everywhere there, and maybe that is why I was compelled to go back.
Zeppo and I have great dreams, and hopes for Zoë’s fund. We cannot wait to finish paying off Zoë’s medical bills and turn her fund into The Zoë Faye Foundation. In doing so I envision us returning to Children’s many times, to help children, and meet parents. To bring some comfort to what is a clinical and sterile hospital. So I might as well face some fears and go back to Children’s now. To look for Zoë’s smile, and laughter in every nook and cranny of the hospital, and to learn how to go home and not cry half the night before we offer help to others.
I am happy to have exchanged some numbers, and I look forward to seeing some of my “hospital family”, and to begin the transition of them becoming my real family. I cannot wait to talk about weddings, and babies, and graduations, and vacations, and books, and music, and all kinds of random stuff again.
I don’t know how long I will feel like Children’s is my “other” home. It may not always feel like home. I am sure that much like Zoë and I will begin to fade away at Children’s, Children’s being a home will begin to fade away for me. But all those memories of love, and life, and laughter will forever make me smile, and Children’s will always be a very special place for me.