Was She Real?


Our Olivia has been in Heaven now for 2 years and 2 months. That’s an entire 6 months longer than she was alive. I find myself questioning sometimes whether or not she was even real or just a figment of my imagination.

Our life today is vastly different from the life we shared with our precious daughter. The 20 months we had with her were spent in hospitals, doctors offices, living in hotels, traveling to and from Denver, worrying about medications and scans. Everything was consumed with childhood cancer.

Today we live in a different city. Brett has a new job. Her twin brother, Wyatt, is no longer a baby with his 4th birthday next month. We have a new baby that is 13 months old (just about the age Olivia was when the picture above was taken). And our lives are now consumed by running kids to and from preschool, OCF board meetings, fundraisers, and trips to Denver to help support other families and our research team.

It’s two different lives completely. Sometimes it feels like our former life wasn’t even real. Like she wasn’t real.

Did I really have the treasure of a beautiful daughter? Did I really feel her arms around my neck and those big baby kisses on my cheek? Did I really give birth to an angel and watch her die in my arms just 20 months later? Or is it all some crazy dream?

I have a lot of memories of her, but sometimes I can feel them slipping. I’m so grateful for all the pictures and the videos so I can still experience her smile and hear her contagious laugh. I hope I always remember her sunshine personality. The way she laughed when I said “no,” when I sneezed, or at a situation that might scare someone else. I will never forget the time we had flash flooding in Rawlins with a heavy rainstorm. A stray dog had wandered to our house and we took him to meet a police officer at the local animal shelter. The dog ran hysterically through our car while the rain hit our windshield harder then I’d ever seen before. We drove through huge puddles and had our wipers going full blast. Wyatt was terrified. But Olivia just laughed. That crazy rainstorm was hilarious to her!

I know in my heart of hearts that she was absolutely real. That I loved her then and I love her still. I just miss my baby girl and the incredible joy she brought to my life every single second she was here.

Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. Learn more and donate at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.

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