Today marks 7 long months since I watched my little girl take her last breath after a long battle with brain cancer. My heart is just as beaten and broken today as it was the day she passed away.
During these 7 months I have learned to put on a brave face. I can smile, laugh, play with my son and find some small moments of happiness. But in reality, I am far from okay.
Every new memory I make will always be bittersweet. Every family photo will never be complete because we will forever be missing one of the biggest pieces of our family. That in and of itself is heartbreaking.
I put on my smile but those who really know me can see that I will never again be the same. My heart was broken in two and no matter what I do or what anyone says it will never be whole again.
I loved Olivia so deeply. So completely. And I while I am better for having known her and loved her, I am now forever scarred by her loss.
I never could have imagined that I would only have 20 months with her. We fought so hard as a family to try and help her beat cancer and I never believed that ultimately treatment wouldn’t be successful. She had to beat cancer! There was no way she could leave us so soon.
When you see a grieving mother and think to yourself, wow she is so strong! I would be a wreck if I lost my child. Realize that she is a wreck! She is dying inside every single day! She has just gotten so amazingly tough through the strength that only comes from God in the process of her child’s illness and passing that she can make it look so effortless. But it isn’t. Not even close.
So I ask you. Please don’t forget the grieving mothers (and fathers) in the world. There are a lot of us. Remember that it doesn’t matter if it’s been 2 days, 2 years or 50 years since that day we said goodbye. We are never really okay. And praying for us, asking us about our children and acknowledging our grief is more helpful than you know.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a pending 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. All money raised benefits the neuro-oncology research lab at Children’s Hospital Colorado headed by Dr. Nick Foreman. To learn more and to donate, please visit our website at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.