Some days I just feel broken. Worn out. Like everything in its entirety is so much that I am surprised I can even stand.

My uncle passed away a few weeks ago. It was unexpected and it broke not only my heart, but the hearts of his wife, my dad and his mother – my Grandmother – and countless other family members and loved ones.

Watching the pain and the stages of grief take ahold of those I loved was enough to make me buckle at the knees. It was very likely the first time since we lost our daughter that I have really remembered how painful her loss truly was and still is.

It forced me to remember how I couldn’t eat more than a few bites for weeks. I had trouble sleeping. My whole body just hurt and cried out for her. But no matter how much I long for her to come back, her loss is permanent. I know that we will be reunited in heaven some day, but for the duration of my time left on earth I have to face each day without my daughter.

I have always liked to look at the bright side. I try to find joy even in suffering and to be strong, at least in public. But sometimes those efforts lead to utter exhaustion.

There’s a beautiful Christian song by Tenth Avenue North titled, “Worn.” The lyrics read:

“I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world

And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left

Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn”

This song was released during the latter part of Olivia’s cancer battle and every time I heard it, it made me cry. It was such an accurate depiction of how I felt at the time. And very honestly, how I still feel quite often.

Losing a loved one is exhausting. Going on without them is exhausting. The weights of this world are exhausting.

I can still look around and see the countless blessings around me. I can still feel God’s presence and I still know without fail that God is good. But living without Olivia each day is a heartbreak that will never end.

Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for childhood cancer research and programs. Our primary affiliation is with Children’s Hospital Colorado and the neuro-oncology research team headed by Dr. Nick Foreman. You can learn more and donate by visiting our website.

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