People ask me all the time how I’ve been able to survive the loss of my only daughter. While my faith in God is a huge part of my survival and peace, I am also certain that the biggest reason I am still standing is that God had also given me Olivia’s twin brother, Wyatt. If I didn’t have him to care for when Olivia died I don’t think I could’ve kept going. Being Wyatt’s mommy saved my life.
I remember waking up the morning after Olivia died feeling incredibly raw. I had no energy. I felt void. I had cried nonstop throughout the night and I didn’t even have it in me to cry anymore. But knowing that Wyatt still needed his mom got me out of bed that morning. Loving him gave me the strength to get up and begin to face this new, horrible reality. And I was absolutely determined to be the mommy he needed me to be.
Wyatt had spent 20 months and 3 days in second place. Olivia’s needs were great and I believe a part of me always knew I wouldn’t have her forever. Most children would struggle horribly with that. I spent so much time caring for her that I felt like I barely knew him when she died. But Wyatt was so happy to let his sister dominate most of my attention. In fact, he spent most of his time doting on her too. He had this understanding of her and her needs that still blows my mind. I didn’t even see the jealousy in him with her that exists today with his younger brother. He wanted her to be cared for first, and him second. I am just in awe of his selflessness and love for her.
My blonde haired, blue-eyed boy is now a 5 year old entering kindergarten in the fall. He has grown up so much and today our relationship is very close. And today instead of doting on his sister, he dotes on me. He is the first one to give me a hug or rub my back if he can tell I’m having a hard day. He tells me all the time how much he loves me and he thinks I’m pretty. He’s such a phenomenal little human being and he will always hold an extra special place in my heart because I know that he saved my life after Olivia. And when he’s older I will make sure he understands just how amazing that is.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research in memory of Olivia Caldwell, who passed away from brain cancer at 20 months old in October 2013. Since November 2013 the foundation has given $155,000 to pediatric cancer research teams at Children’s Hospital Colorado and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.