At 3:04 and 3:05 p.m. respectively on February 19, 2012 Wyatt and Olivia entered this world. They decided to make their entrance eight weeks early and had to spend a month each in the NICU. But we were overjoyed to have them! We went from no kids to two in one day and it was the most amazing experience.
When Olivia was diagnosed with brain cancer at just 4 months old in July 2012, we always knew there was a possibility that we wouldn’t get to celebrate a single birthday with her. By the grace of God, we were able to see her reach her first birthday. But by her second birthday she had already been in Heaven for nearly 4 months.
Their first birthday party was such a wonderful time. We threw a big party at the train depot in Rawlins and invited everyone who was important to us and to our twins. We had a two peas in the pod theme and got them each a smash cake for their first taste of sugar. While Wyatt was apprehensive and didn’t really like the cake, Olivia dove right in! She had cake all over her face and even tried to share some with her daddy. She turned out to have quite the sweet tooth.
The very best part of their first birthday party was that we were also celebrating Olivia’s recent remission. At that time we really believed she had won her battle with cancer and that this was the beginning of a new life for our family of four. We never could have imagined that just a few months later her cancer would be back and worse than before. And that just 8 months later we would be holding her for the last time while her body finally gave in.
This is a hard day. And it will be forever. We are so thankful to be able to celebrate each new year with Wyatt, but there is always the reminder that there should have been two. He is forever without his other half. His playmate. His soul mate. And we are forever without our little girl. Our princess. Our joy.
Can I ask you to please celebrate our baby girl today? Light a candle in her honor. Wear pink or purple. Donate to our foundation in her memory. Just think of her. Remember that she was a very real person and her early death from cancer left a very real hole in our family that will always exist.
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 by visiting our website at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.