In the years since Zoe lost her life, I have written letters to her. Below are a few of them.
'To This Day, I Can Hear Your Voice'
Zoe, you were my guide to all that was fashionable, cool and current. You had a sense of style and design that could forecast the trends. You would say to me--"Mom, that new dree looks like every other dress you have. Can't you try something different?"
To this day I can hear your voice, urging me to take a chance, be different, to have that confidence.
It's your voice, and it's forever in my head.
I pray it is forever.
You were extraordinary in so many ways. A wonderful daughter. A great friend to her friends. Someone who wanted to help others. Beautiful, brilliant and generous.
What an angel, and what a wonderful memory.
So vivid, and oh so Zoe.
I am very grateful for that.
'I Wish Parents Understood
Terrible Mistakes Can Be Made'
My Dearest Zoe,
It's your birthday, and i have some birthday wishes, my sweetness.
I so wish that young people would realize that drugs really are dangerous, And that no one can be smarter than these drugs.
I wish that parents understood that terrible mistakes can be made, and be made by their incredible, beautiful, much-smarter-than-that, raised-to-know-better, loved and loving children.
I wish there would never be another parent that thinks that this kind of thing only happens to other people.
I wish so much that no other parents would ever lose a piece of their heart only to realize what they didn't know, and, what they had known, but only when it is too late.
I wish that mothers and fathers would never ahve to feel the pain of losing their child, never have to see a child without life, and never have to live without ever being able to erase that nightmare from their mind.
I wish that there would never be anohter parent who won't see their babies grow up and marry and have children, and who won't have their children to care for them when that time comes.
Zoe, I wish they knew what we know. But I wish so much that they never have to experience what we ahve.
We are sharing your story Zoe, in schools, with students and their parents, in the hopes that what happened to you, does not have to happen to anyone else, never ever again.
I wish more than anything in the world that i could just feel you, hear you and hold you one more time.
I will love you forever from this world to the next.
Happy Birthday my sweetest girl.
'Did You Realize What You Were Risking?'
It’s been five years since we lost you.
It’s so hard to believe. Five years is a long time, and it’s too long since I’ve heard your voice.
Unbearably long since I’ve seen you and hugged you. In the beginning I thought you would come back, I so wanted that. I just thought it was all a mistake, this could not have happened, not to you, not to me, not to us.
It’s still so hard to believe -- that your life could be taken away from you, all because of a mistake on a night, taking drugs.
Were you just unlucky? Did you not realize what you were risking when you were getting high? Or did the drugs do that to you? Distort reality. Make you feel safe when you were anything but. For what my darling, for what did you lose everything and all of us, and all the possibilities that were well within your reach?
Only 22 years old, you were cheated terribly and it’s just so wrong.
Zoe, I should have known more. I should have realized that the worst thing in the world can happen - - and it does happen, and it could even happen to my precious child.
Zoe, I wish that I had fully realized that you were playing with your life. Of course I was afraid for you, always afraid, but I believed you would find your way back.
Zoe, I wish that you and I had really talked about drugs when you were younger. And you had learned early on the risks involved in taking drugs. I wish the comfort of our easy and open dialogue had given way to your having more knowledge - - and learning that, as smart as you were, you can’t be smarter than these drugs. No one is.
Zoe I wish that I had been more vigilant -- and less accepting, thinking and believing that you would pass through this. It’s only now that I fully understand that some do not pass through.
Zoe, I wish that I had allowed myself to think the worst. I’m afraid that I didn’t believe something this horrible could happen - - to you, and to us.
Now my beautiful, brilliant, loved and adored child -- you who would give your life to help another - - in the end that’s precisely what you’ve done.
Your tragedy, your story is making a difference in other peoples' lives. Kids and their parents are hearing and reading your story. They are realizing that, what happened here, one night in April 2007, can happen, does happen and could happen to any one of us.
We miss you Zoe, every single day of our lives. And we will forever.