June 30: Half a Year 

Dear Livy,

I dropped by your school this week. Schools out for summer, but I heard that your tree was planted. It’s beautiful. The Autumn Maple is perfect for the preschool playground. It’s not very big, but years from now other children, including your brother, will benefits from the shade it brings. I call it “your tree,” but it’s temporary. It will be going through a name change soon. Your school Psychologist, she’s a wonderful person, that Mommy has had the opportunity to work with and get to know over the last couple of years, has a husband who happens to be a ceramic artist. He’s making your tree a plaque that reads, “Beautiful Peace.” That’s what you are and will forever be to us all. 

Your tree is diagonal from your old classroom. There’s only one other tree on the bark filleplayground. Having two makes it just right. 

I was asked where I thought the perfect spot on campus would be to plant it and looked at a variety of suggested spots, but came back to what I knew you would want. I picked the Pre-K playground area because it was your favorite. Of course. It’s where you loved to run your fingers through the bark and slowly drop and occasionally throw it or stack it on the slide. I’m sure you’d approve of it and when school is back in session we will have a small remembrance ceremony in your memory. 

Speaking of school, the yearbook came out beautiful. Robert Semple did a dedication page in your memory. It takes up half the page and sits right below your classes page. It was very considerate and loving for Principal Moore and Mrs. Brown to do that for us. 

[Above: Livy’s school yearbook. The top of the page includes each student’s and teacher’s  school photo. The bottom of the yearbook page is dedicated to Olivia with three photos of her. Below: The three water bottles I made for each teacher as their end of the year gifts. Each bottle has a photo of Livy on it.]

Today marks six months and our family made the last minute decision to take a weekend vacation to try and get through it. We have found that sometimes being away from home helps control part of the aching pain of grief. However, there are other times when being at home is easier and more fitting because we think about all the wonderful memories of us doing things we loved to do together, especially bath time, playing in the backyard and gardening. 

Our family and close friends have made contributions to your memory garden over the past several months and some have been brave enough to even say something, knowing what today is. I’ve been receiving text messages of love and support throughout the day. This week we were also given two new rocks from our neighbors to add to your garden, (Cameron and Gunel miss you). We appreciate all of it. It makes us feel like there are people who understand how hard it has been not having you with us. 

Loss has made me think about a lot of ugly and questionable things. It’s why I’ve continuously reached out for help. I’ll never be able to change what happened, but I know that my love for you is endless and will also never change. It’s just going to continue to be hard. I’m hopeful, and people who have experienced the loss of a child have told me that I will eventually be able to feel more like myself again. It takes time. I won’t be the same person I was, but instead my ability to function on all cylinders will get easier to control my emotional breakdowns. We’ll see. 

You are missed more than I ever thought was possible. I love you. 

Love always,


2 thoughts on “June 30: Half a Year 

  1. Barbara says:

    Thinking of your whole family. So glad the tree will be there forever. I love the rocks…what a wonderful gift for people to make.


  2. Ben McMullan says:


    It breaks my heart to read this, especially having no idea it happened. Having never been a parent myself I can only imagine what you are feeling now. I hate that I have fallen out of touch with you and Eli. I hope to see you both soon. Again I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    Your friend,


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