Olivia’s Story

septembre 19, 2018

She was a beautiful chubby cheeked little girl who had just learned to hold her head up and smile.  I felt so blessed to have 3 happy healthy children, and to have 2 girls so close together in age made me ridiculously happy.  I had visions of dressing them in matching outfits, and how they would be each other’s best friends!  Life, while busy, sleepless and stressful seemed complete.  Two weeks before Christmas we were busy with holiday preparations, I had just mailed out all the Christmas cards with pictures of my three beautiful children.

I heard her stir briefly at about 3:30 that morning, but waited to see if she would settle.  I woke again at about 8:00, I could hear the TV on with the sound of Saturday morning cartoons, so I went to check on the older two, get them some breakfast and see what they were up to.   As I walked back up the stairs I sensed an uneasy stillness, I opened her door and walked in to the room.    Her little hand was sticking out, and it was blue.   I immediately knew and cried out, my husband came running in to the room.  I called 911, but don’t recall how or what I said.   They told my husband to start CPR, so he lifted her out of the crib and laid her on the floor.   The fire department arrived first, I remember my kids looking up at these huge men in uniform coming through the house….how little and confused they looked.   I called my Mom and Mom-in-law, I just kept repeating she’s dead.    The paramedics arrived and took her to the Hospital, as I was on my way there I kept thinking…maybe, maybe there was a miracle, that they revived her.   This was not to be….my whole world changed that December morning.

There are the immediate things that swim to the top of your thoughts.  I needed to make sure my kids were okay, I needed to tell my brother, I needed to go home and see if it was just a bad dream.  I needed to call the pediatrician, I had to cancel her appointments.   So many little things that I think was my mind’s way of protecting me.   We arrived back home later in the afternoon, exhausted.  My brother and his wife stayed to speak to any callers or visitors while my husband and I tried to sleep/console each other/gather our thoughts.

Sleep would evade me for a very long time.

The time between her death and funeral seemed an eternity, things needed to be organized and confirmed, and I honestly just wanted it to go away.   My Mom did the bulk of the planning, asking me for input, and for that I am grateful.  If not for my kids, I would have curled in to a ball and hidden away.  The realty was they still needed me, they needed lunch, and help with getting dressed, playing with toys, clean clothes, baths, snacks etc. etc.  The reality is….Life goes on.  I recall everyday became the ‘first’ of something.  The first time I left the house….the first time I went for groceries, the first time I talked to that person, the first time I was alone.

The “what if’s” will eat you alive if you let them.  After the immense, numbing grief passed came the anger, questioning over and over the ‘why’.  I had many conversations with the Pediatrician, obstetrician anyone who would listen to me.  I wanted to understand everything, make sense of it.   We started attending a support group of SIDS parents, and I felt that they were truly the only people in the world that could even remotely understand how I felt.  I have remained connected to that group, many…many years later,  one lady in particular, my rock.

Grief changes you.   You don’t get over it, you don’t move on, it becomes a part of you, of who you are.   There is no pushing through, but rather, you endure.  There is absorption, adjustment, acceptance.  Grief is not a task to finish and move on, but an element of yourself.  An alteration of your being, a new way of seeing, a new definition of self.   There are moments still, all these years later that I am swept away by it, triggers of time that take me right back there.

My life is full, I am truly blessed.  I can only pray that one day I see her again.

-Olivia’s Mom