Surprise delivery turns grief into joy

August 11, 2017 12:11 PM

(WEAU/NBC News) A Wisconsin mother preparing a memorial for the anniversary of her young daughter's death on August 4 was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital the same day and received a shock she didn't see coming.

Aleece Geist's daughter Zentaviah was born on August 4, 2013. She passed away just a few months later.

"She passed away on January 3, 2014," said Geist, showing pictures of Zen. "These are New Year's, so just right before. She was just a happy little girl."

Now each year family and friends gather to commemorate her short life by lighting and releasing lanterns at an area park.

Geist said it's the one time a year she lets herself focus on nothing but the memories of her daughter. 

"I remember the first time she laughed. She was taking a bath and it was just out of nowhere," she says.

On what would have been Zen's birthday this year, Geist was experiencing physical pain, along with the emotional.

"I didn't realize it at first actually but the pain was familiar to me," she says now.

What happened next changed the meaning of August 4 for the family forever. 

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