When Olivia was first diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2012 I knew my life was going to change forever. But what I didn’t know was the extent of what that would look like. Or the magnitude of the heartbreak that was coming my way.
Not only was our little girl fighting for her life, but our family was also thrust into a more public existence. It was one we never wanted or even asked for, but it was the reality of life as more people became aware of Olivia and the big battle she was fighting.
When Olivia died and we chose to start the foundation, that life only became more public. It was a necessity to help raise awareness of the realities of childhood cancer. And it has been 100% worth it.
However, there is a darker side of living a life that is more in the public eye. It is one that I have seen, especially when my marriage fell apart.
There are so many pieces of my life that few people know about. And I intend to keep it that way. However, because of that decision to maintain a certain level of privacy for myself, my ex-husband, my boys, and others, there has been some background muttering. And assumptions about the details of what led to our split, etc.
I’m not here to address anything specifically, except to say that if there’s anything I’ve learned in this life it is we will all be better off to simply give each other a break. Give the benefit of the doubt and believe the best instead of the worst. Don’t fall into the trap of deciding you know the details of someone else’s heart and circumstances.
We live in a broken and incredibly sad and sinful world. People around you are facing immense heartbreak every single day, and you likely have no idea. I know I was a pro at hiding behind a big smile when I was dying on the inside. You never know what any one is going through.
That man who seems to always brush you off in the office…. he might be worrying about his wife who has been struggling with depression. Or facing a health struggle you know nothing about.
That woman who seems to be so self-righteous and consumed … her marriage might be falling apart. Or she might have such low self confidence that she can barely get out of bed in the morning.
You. Just. Don’t. Know.
So can we please stop assuming and give each other some much needed grace? I know I am in need of it daily. We all are.
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. To date we have given $225,000 to pediatric cancer research. To learn more or to donate please visit www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.