Facebook can be a tricky business for grieving parents. It provides a pretty amazing tool to connect with others who have walked a similar path and an outlet to share my little girl’s story. But on the other hand there are some mornings I wake up and see my “On This Day” reminder and I feel like throwing my phone out the window.
The reminders throughout this week each year are especially heart-wrenching. Facebook takes me through my posts each day as I wrote about the process of finding out Olivia was going to die and then actually watching her slip away from me.
Today’s “On This Day” post from 3 years ago reminded me that this was the last full day Olivia was conscious. She was no longer eating much of anything. She didn’t drink at all. She was asleep about 90% of the time. The only response we got was a whimper if she felt me move away from her. Her eyes and face were also swollen from the pressure of the tumor in her brain.
I still remember all of it like it was yesterday. I will never forget the feeling of her limp body laying on my chest. She seemed so desperate to be close to me, knowing that our time was running short. And I was equally desperate to be with her. I never left her side other than a quick trip to the bathroom.
On October 21st around 8 p.m., Olivia slipped into a coma. The sound of her breathing changed. She didn’t open her eyes anymore. There was no response. She simply laid contentedly between her dad and I while we assured her over and over that it was okay to go Home.
On this day 3 years ago, I saw my daughter have a few semi-normal awake periods for the very last time. Childhood cancer did that. It took her life and it stole her future. Our family has never been the same.
So on this day I ask. No I beg. Please don’t turn the other cheek. On the day Olivia died, she was only one of 7 children in the US to die from cancer that day. She was only one of 91,000 children to die worldwide that year from childhood cancer. We are only one heartbroken family out of literally millions that have lost a child to cancer. You can do something. Visit www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org to donate, sign up to volunteer, and find out more about childhood cancer.