Who Would She Be?


The day my daughter died I not only began the process of grieving the loss of her physical being and presence in my life, but also the loss of finding out who she would have grown up to be. I’m forever left with a list of what if’s and should have beens.

Olivia was such a wonderful baby. She was rarely fussy unless she really needed something and had such an ease about her. She was always willing to go with the flow and take joy in each moment and experience.

And at the same time she was so feisty! She took on cancer with such a true warrior spirit. She was a perfect example of true strength as she took on surgeries, chemo, hospitalizations, pokes, prods and exams.

I daydreamed as I held her during long chemo days and during sleepless nights at home about what life would be like when this battle was over. I imagined us having conversations with her about how amazingly strong she was and how proud we were of her. I imagined her being a shining example to others when she spoke about what she went through as a little girl. Always teaching others how to really live life.

Now I still daydream, but with the harsh reality that she didn’t win her battle. Instead of being here on earth and a physical part of my world, she is instead a beautiful angel in Heaven with many other children that left this earth far too soon. And that horrible reality makes my daydreams about what if’s and should of’s instead of hope and possibilities.

Would Olivia like all things pink? Or would she have been more of a tomboy? Would she still be my cuddly little girl? Or would she be wild and into everything? What would Olivia have been like as a student? When would she have gotten married? Would she have children? I will never know. Cancer took all the possibilities of her life and forever left me with questions that can’t be answered.

Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. All proceeds benefit our neuro-oncology research team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. You can learn more and donate any time by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.

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