Submitted by Zoe’s younger sister, Christiane Carroll
Zoe was many things
A vivacious explorer. An always curious life-learner. A manic pixie dream girl. A character from a book come to life.
She was someone who traveled, explored, made friends wherever she went. She tried new foods, made people laugh, and was someone who spread positivity and zen.
My favorite memory of her was in New York
My brother and I went to visit Zoe in New York City, where she lived, and she took us to an off-off-Broadway show. The audience stood and moved around as the show took place around them. In the final scene of the performance, loud electronic music started playing and it started pouring down rain inside. Zoe grabbed our hands and pulled us into the center of the stage (now dance floor), and the three of us, under her encouragement, let loose. It didn’t matter that it was the middle of winter — we would have to walk home soaking wet in freezing temperatures. Zoe lived loud and fully, and she tried her hardest to make sure everyone around her did, too.
I didn’t know her before her drug use
Zoe and I had a 13-year age difference. She moved to NYC for college and started using there. I remember having dinner with family friends in NYC with my father when Zoe called, saying she needed money for one last hit before going to rehab. She showed up reeking of CK One perfume and tweaking badly. I was only 9 years old, too young to fully understand what was going on and why she was acting so strange. But after growing up and experiencing decades of her drug use before her death, I now understand and can never smell that perfume again without being pulled back in.
We lost our relationship while she was in the depths of her addiction
We got it back for a while when she sobered up for a time, but then she relapsed worse than ever, and we lost it again. With so many addiction and mental health issues in my family, it was too much to try to maintain a relationship while also keeping myself safe and healthy. I reached out to her the week before she overdosed because I could tell from her social media posts that she wasn’t doing well. I told her how much I loved her and how I was there if she needed anything. She was incoherent and angry and told me I didn’t actually care about her. Distancing myself meant I couldn’t possibly care. That was our last conversation. She overdosed a few days later.
Zoe struggled with the disease for more than two decades. Her longest period of sobriety was when she moved to India, fell in love and opened an inn with her husband, where they taught yoga and how to prepare Indian cuisine. In the end, she struggled to even admit that she had a problem and would argue with you and push you away if you ever suggested she might. She would never want to admit that she wasn’t in control, when she was so obviously out of control.
If I could say one thing to Zoe
I miss you. I miss comparing notes on curry recipes; my chana masala has never been the same since you left. I miss discussing books and movies — I’m a librarian now; how cool is that? Oh, and I heard a new song the other day that I think you would love. I’ll go outside and play it to your apple tree. Listen for it. I love you, and I’m sorry I couldn’t fix things. We’re all doing our best. I did my best.
When I think of Zoe, I’m reminded that you can love someone and still not be able to help them.