Nearly two and a half years ago my worst fear came true. My daughter died in my arms after a long battle with cancer.
The fear of losing a child was something that rattled me even before I first became pregnant. That fear became magnified after I lost our first baby to an ectopic pregnancy and became even greater when Olivia was diagnosed with cancer.
The death of a child was something I thought I could never survive. But here I am, still standing. Somehow.
Now I still find myself occasionally swallowed up by fear. Mainly in the form of what if questions.
What if another of my children gets cancer?
What if I lost one of my boys?
What if I got pregnant again and lost that baby?
When the fear begins to swallow me I start to question everything. Every tired day, every time one of the kids falls down, every time something feels a little off, I start to wonder if cancer is back in my family.
I know this fear comes from PTSD. I am traumatized by the loss of Olivia. And how could I not be?
A child is someone you love more than you love yourself. It’s a self-sacrificing love. Your child is likely the only person you would willingly die for without a moment’s hesitation.
And when your child becomes sick and you can’t fix it, it breaks you. It creates a new level of fear.
So how do I overcome the fear? I pray. Pray like crazy. And then trust that God is good even when I don’t understand.
Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. Learn more and donate at www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.