The Morning After


This week has been rough. My head has been spinning around the 5th anniversary of Olivia’s passing.

Exactly 5 years ago yesterday, on October 22, 2013, I held my baby girl in my arms when she took her very last breath at 20 months and 3 days old.

All day long my head was filled with memories from that last day with her. I can still hear the gravely breathing she had for the last hours of her life. I can feel her shallow breathing beat against the crook of my neck, and I can hear her whimper when she wanted to be closer to me. But more than anything, I remember vividly the moment I had to hand her over to the coroner and watch her leave our family home for the very last time.

Each memory spins around in my head endlessly until the weight of it all is too much for me to even stand. And now today my thoughts revolve around that horrible morning after she passed away.

I woke up in a daze. I just knew that the events of the night before had to be a nightmare. There was no way my baby girl had actually died.

I walked out of my bedroom and her big empty room was there, staring me in the face. Sure enough, she wasn’t in it.

I walked a bit further down the hallway to get her twin brother out of his crib. I was expecting him to immediately head down the hall to his sister’s room so he could get her up. But he didn’t. My sweet little baby already knew his twin sissy was gone.

After breakfast that day we loaded up in the car and made the 2 hour trip to Casper. Olivia’s body was already there waiting for us at the funeral home. We had to go and make the final preparations for her funeral service and burial.

I sat across from the funeral staff and lashed out in anger when they began to talk nonchalantly about cremation or embalming my baby. I didn’t want anyone to touch her.

Then after the funeral home we made the trip to the church where her service would be held. We talked about the logistics of the service, the slide show and the song choices we hoped to have. It was like I was floating outside of my body. There was absolutely no way this was real life.

Before we made the trip back home to Rawlins we stopped for lunch and it was there that the tears began to flow. Wyatt was extra fussy and wouldn’t eat anything. Nothing I could do would calm him. I broke down, right there, in the middle of the restaurant with people looking at us in confusion.

That awful day after Olivia passed away was just the beginning of learning how to live life without one of my children. I wish I could say it has gotten easier over time. In some ways the pain is less raw, but it still hurts like hell each and every time she misses out on something.

This year my boys got to walk me down the aisle when I married their wonderful stepdad. She should’ve been there too.

Just a week ago we settled into our dream home as a family, and as I have worked on setting up my son’s superhero themed bedrooms, I should have been decorating a princess themed room too.

With each new family memory I am more and more aware of all that’s missing. That she is missing and nothing will bring her back or fill that space in my heart.

Olivia would love this time in life. She would have fallen in love with her stepdad just like my little boys. She would also certainly would be obsessing over each detail of her new room. She would love the space and fresh air that comes with the country living. And I would’ve loved each and every minute of making those memories with my girl.

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