My Daughter Wasn’t a Number

Dear Livy,

There was a piece of mail that came from the IHSS county office on your birthday, but I made the conscious decision not to open it that day. I’m glad I did. 

It wasn’t a condolence letter and it wasn’t thoughtful at all. It was an absolutely heartless “Notice of Action” that read, 

“Your eligibility for In-Home Support Services will stop as of 12/31/2016. Here’s why: For the period of 12/1/16 through 12/30/16, the authorized service hours for Olivia Gelardin have been prorated due to their death. The County has been notified of 12/30/16 as the date of death of Olivia Gelardin; therefore IHSS services have been terminated.”

I received a similar letter as one of your providers. What happened to “we’re sorry” or at the very least a, “we regret to inform you” kind of statements. It literally made me feel sick to my stomach that any agency or organization would send out such a cold letter. It’s wrong! I don’t care that they are obviously auto-generated letters. Would the State or County employee who printed it appreciate getting a similar letter for their child or loved one? Do they realize that this is yet another example of them looking like they could care less about actual human beings.

I don’t care that I was a family provider. I don’t think any provider should be informed of their clients passing in this manor. It’s disrespectful and rude. It made me feel like they thought of you as just another number and one less person that is now weighing on the system. It hurt and pissed me off!

I miss you terribly and getting mail like that is disturbing. I’m getting through each day, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting easier or that the gaping hole I have in my heart is getting any smaller. I’ve been thinking a lot about parenting. It is one of the most amazing gifts a person can experience and for parents with disabilities it’s even more than that. I know and have always known how incredibly fortunately I was to have you and to have Sage. I have never taken that for granted, but I’m having such a hard time with the idea of Sage growing up without a sibling. This morning for the first time Sage said, “I miss sissy.” It broke my heart all over again. I could hardly get through the day with that statement floating around my head. I wish more than anything I could bring you back for him and for all of us, but especially for me. 

I miss you. I miss you holding the back of my wheelchair and us walking around everywhere.

Love you,


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