Wyatt and Olivia have loved each other probably since the moment of conception. They grew together for 32 weeks and 5 days in my womb and lived side-by-side for 20 months and 3 days on this earth before cancer stole her from us. They had a special bond that only twins have, and it’s something that I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to witness.
Lately Wyatt has been talking about his sister a lot. He is adding words to his 3-year-old vocabulary every day and he seems to be starting to express his feelings of loss much more than he ever has before. He has talked about her every day this week, telling me that he wishes his sissy was here to take a bath with him or to play with him. He talks about the fact that she is in Heaven with God and Jesus and that he wishes she would come back or that at least we could go visit her. It’s both heartbreaking and beautiful.
One thing that has been very striking to me is that all of a sudden Wyatt has been calling her “Livy.” This is a nickname that Brett and I always called our beloved girl, but to Wyatt she has always been sissy. Neither one of us can remember calling her “Livy” to him at all. It’s as though she is finding a way to visit him or that he feels her presence. He seems to know that although she is in Heaven, she is not gone from him. She’s a part of him in this very big and real way.
It doesn’t surprise me that they would still be connected. After all, I will never forget that on the night Olivia passed away, Wyatt cried out from the room he was sleeping in at the exact moment her soul left her body. And he never looked for her again. Every day up until that horrible first day without her, he would look for her before doing anything else. But he knew that day that she was gone despite being so young we could never have explained it to him.
It kills me every single day that I don’t get to watch Wyatt and Olivia grow up together. Each and every birthday there will be two birthday cakes but only one kid blowing out the candles. It isn’t fair. It isn’t okay. But it is the reality of what childhood cancer took from our family.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric brain cancer research. All of the money raised benefits our neuro-oncology research team at Children’s Hospital Colorado. You can learn more and donate at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.