This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you
—Rascal Flatts, Bless the Broken Road
Sixteen months have passed since my son’s tragic birth and death. Thus, the journey thereafter, in addition to my subsequent pregnancy, has been challenging and wrought with grief, trauma, and so much pain. Yet, the great distance I have traveled on this broken road has set me on a path straight to happiness, albeit bittersweet.
January 28, 2013: 7:00 a.m.
The air in the room was frigid and the IV fluids quickly chilled my body. I sat on the operating table shivering, shaking just the way I did the night Knox died. I could tell by the look in my husband’s eyes that he was worried and I squeezed his hand more tightly. I waited for the panic attack, I waited for something inside of me to shift, to change, for distress to overtake me, but it never did. Apparently, the EMDR therapy that I had previously completed worked like a charm to significantly reduce my distress level. Then, after the spinal block numbed the lower half of my body, my doctor began the c-section, relaying every detail to me as I waited patiently for my daughter’s arrival. Also, my counselor’s suggestion of creating a playlist for the operating room was definitely helping; I heard Mandisa’s “Good Morning” playing in the background and I felt a bit more at ease. And as the playlist continued, I felt strangely happy—the power of music truly is a wonderful thing. “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins began to play and that’s when we met our precious baby girl. I had expected sadness and tears, misery and pain, but when I saw and heard my beautiful daughter for the first time, I was overcome with such joy that crying was not possible. My Zoë Cate was alive, she was breathing. I couldn’t believe it was finally over—this chapter in my life was finally closed. We had our daughter and I was no longer pregnant. It was the ending we had prayed for, it was what we so deeply desired, yet we still grieved our son.
Surprisingly, I shed not a single tear while we were in the hospital. It was a strange feeling because I didn’t expect my emotions to react that way. I was so overcome with joy and happiness that crying never occurred to me. And even though Knox’s picture was opposite my hospital bed, I smiled when I looked at his beautiful face. Those were bittersweet moments—happiness and sorrow simultaneously, almost too difficult to explain.
I look at my precious Zoë now and think, you are here because your brother died—your brother’s death gave you life. And that’s why we chose the name Zoë because it’s meaning is “life.” Honestly, if Knox had lived, we wouldn’t have Zoë, we probably wouldn’t have had any more children. Yet, because he died, he gave us a most precious gift of another child—he gave us his baby sister, he gave her life. The relationship between them reminds me of the Jack Johnson song, “If I Could:”
They say that
New life makes losing life easier to understand
One goes out
One comes in
Zoë’s life made it easier to understand losing Knox. And God truly did bless the broken road that led us straight to her.