Posted in Editorials

Keeping Zayna’s Memory Alive

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Beautiful as the suns brightest rays and pure as night and day, Zayna was the epitome of all that is true and right. The twinkle in her eyes and her sweet smile was enough to make anyone melt.  My family and I are truly grateful for the  time we spent with her and today I write this to share with my daughters as they grow older, so they will never forget, but always treasure Zayna’s memories and remember her as their best friend.

Zayna and my daughter Vishanna were born 5 days apart and I still remember that special day Sarah and I told each other our joyous news. We couldn’t believe we were going to have our kids together. Everything we had done growing up came flooding back and we joked and laughed at how the two would carry on our legacies. We were ecstatic we would experience this bond firsthand and be there to guide them through all their precious moments, good or bad.

The most anticipated day approached and I gave birth to Vishanna on February 8th. I remember thinking in the hospital, she already had a bestie that she would soon meet.  5 days later on February 13th, Zayna was born.

Zayna and Vishanna’s fate as friends had long been written and it was their destiny to have each other for as long as they did.

Vishanna and Zayna finally met and it was like a battle of the stares. The two had no idea why they put together, or why this was so cool for their moms, but it was the beginning of a friendship that would never end, and now, never be forgotten.

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As time went by we had play dates and outings and we watched them giggle, hold hands, run, grow, and be the innocent kids they were. The best part of it all, is that they both had loving parents who’s friendship would also never end.

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Not too long after, my second daughter Valanna was born. Now, we were really headed for trouble. These “trouble makers” as we all liked to call them, were inseparable when they were together.

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The last and fondest memory I have of Zayna and my girls were on New Year’s Eve. Sarah, Mike and Zayna rang in the New Year’s with my family and I, a tradition we started when Sarah and I were pregnant. Every year, the kids played and stayed up until the ball dropped and of course fought to keep their eyes open with the fear of missing out on something, or missing each other. Last year, tearful eyes and pouting faces is how they departed from one another.

This year was different. Maybe the universe knew in some way, it would be our last moments together. Sarah and Mike slept over this year and we had sweet angel Zayna spend more time with us than she normally would have on this holiday. I remember when Zayna walked in, Vishanna instantly spotted her “Peppa  Pig” sweater- a favorite cartoon Zayna and my girls enjoyed.  Vishanna loved it and talked about it all night. The three cooked in their play kitchen, took every toy out of the toy box and ran endlessly around the house. The happiness of their togetherness vibrated throughout the house and it was obvious how much they loved each other. Some people might say children don’t know what love is, but I can tell you firsthand, these three girls had an unconditional love for one another, one that will always exist for my girls.

Valanna was the first of the trio to fall asleep. Vishanna was next. But Zayna, bright as day, was wide awake and ready to go for another few hours. I remember Sarah and Mike telling me how she didn’t sleep that night, but tossed and turned all night. Maybe her insomnia was in excitement and anticipation of waking up to another day of fun and games with Vishanna and Valanna.

New Years Day was probably the best day I’ve had watching Zayna and the girls play. The three woke up to each other’s loud giggles and hugs and kisses. They set up their play kitchen again and I watched as they talked to each other, tugged at each other’s hands and danced and sang Ring Around the Rosie, and all fell down together. Sarah and I filled the tub, threw in some bubbles and watched the three of them swim, make funny water noises and Santa Clause faces. When we took them out, we changed them and put them all down for a nap in one bed. Like sisters, the three lay next to each other and I remember thinking how lucky they were to have each other. Again, Valanna or “baby Lanna” as Zayna liked to call her, was the first to knock out, eventually Vishanna did and little Zayna just wanted to play.

She finally did go down for a nap and it was so peaceful watching all three of them sleep. Innocence and purity captivated their hearts, seized by beauty and treasure.  The three sleeping dolls were dreaming their hearts out. It was a magical moment indeed.

Zayna spent all day with us and it was the best day of the New Year.  Little did I know, it would be the last my family and I would see her bright smile again.

I refused to go into Zayna’s hospital room and I chose to say goodbye to Zayna in my own way because I wanted to remember her vivacious soul, infectious smile and bubbly personality.

Zayna brought  magic, laughter, beauty and purity into my home, into my girls’ life. The tears are streaming down my face as I write this, and I know how hard it is to remember, but today I make a promise to my dear friends Sarah and Mike.

I’m not sure how you explain to a 3 and 1 year old their best friend is gone, but I do vow to make sure they always knew she existed and she was a huge part of their lives.  My girls are so lucky they had Zayna for as long as they did. I promise, Zayna’s memory will stay alive with her best friends for life.

RIP sweet baby girl and keep dancing with the Angels in Heaven!

Please continue to support TeamZayna and the Cooleys anemia foundation. 

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Author:

I am an independent filmmaker and producer and freelance writer. I received my Bachelors degree in Journalism from Hofstra University, a Masters degree in Communications and Film Productions from the New York Institute of Technology and I am a former graduate of the New York Film Academy in New York City. I have experience as on-air TV reporter for NYIT’s LI News Tonight News Station. and have written opt editorials on various topics for Caribbean newspapers and magazines. I've also worked in the radio industry as a producer, board engineer, and newscaster at WRHU Hofstra University, 1240AM WGBB, and 930AM WPAT. I am currently the Vice President of Friends of New York’s West Indian Community, a non-profit organization aiming to uplift the Indo-Caribbean Community and work at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children as the Manager of Marketing and Communications.

One thought on “Keeping Zayna’s Memory Alive

  1. Jen, this is absolutely beautiful! What a perfect and magical day you all spent together on New Year’s. Love you.

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