Sometimes I catch myself thinking that all of this must be a truly horrible dream. A terrifying nightmare that I am bound to wake up from at any moment.
But of course, it isn’t a nightmare. I really did lose my only daughter a little more than 8 months ago after watching her suffer through brain cancer for 16 months. I miss her terribly.
It’s a really strange experience to feel such a wide range of emotions. There is a lot of sadness at the young life that was lost, that was so full of potential. There’s anger at the fact that she is no longer here. There’s relief that she’s no longer suffering and that she’s in the most beautiful place with Jesus and God in Heaven. And there’s this sense of hopelessness that never goes away.
We have lived through the worst case scenario. Every sense of hope that we had for our little girl’s life was ripped out from under us. And now we are left with the empty hole that she used to occupy. We will never get to see Olivia walk. We will never hear her first words. I will never teach her how to do her hair or her makeup. She will never get to run free and play at the park with her twin brother. She will never learn how to drive, or go to college. And we will never get to see her get married and have children of her own. Cancer robbed us of all of that.
Now as I am nearly 5 months pregnant with our third child I feel her loss even more. I know that this baby will never get to know his or her sister. And Wyatt has taken to calling the baby in my belly “sissy,” leading us to wonder if he thinks that after all this time Olivia simply went back into my belly and he will get to see her again in a few months time. It’s really heartbreaking.
I beg all of you to take the time to really read this blog and to share it with your friends and family. Childhood cancer took everything from us. It not only stole Olivia’s life at 20 months of age, but it stole a lifetime of memories that we should have been able to make with her. And Olivia is not even close to the only victim. The day she died, she was one of 7 children in the U.S. to die from cancer. And the day she was diagnosed, she was one of 46. It can happen to you! Your family is not immune to it any more than ours was. So please, support childhood cancer research and advocate for our children. Some day you will know a child personally that has cancer and you will wish you did all you could as soon as you became aware.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a pending 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. To learn more and to donate please visit our website at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.