I often blog about how grief has impacted my life and for real, it helps my mental health. Today I’m blogging for my MH and my baby girls birthday.
You were 35 days away from turning 5 years old when you left this earth and today you would be 8 and in the 2nd grade.
You loved playing outside, in our backyard and the school playground. On rainy days you’d bang on the backdoor over and over again. That was your way of begging us to let you out.
You loved the gritty texture of dirt, sand and bark between your fingers. You also enjoyed makes piles of it. And when it was damp or wet you thought it was hysterical when I told you it was “yucky.”
If you couldn’t be outside your second favorite thing was swimming or bathing. Okay, pretty much anything that had to do with water was your fav. Even the water table made your day.
You loved music, especially songs from “Scout” on your iPad and your fish tank music machine at bedtime.
Let’s not forget how much you also loved your In Harmony music class and teacher Justine. The most thoughtful easy going music teacher in Benicia.
You were always a fan of high volume music in the car. Especially during the long distance trips.
You loved to climb and stand on things. You loved to freak me out and hear me call you by your full first and middle name, “Olivia Donna.” That’s how you knew it was serious.
You loved riding in the car or on a plane. You were always at peace just sitting in either one. You loved it so much that sometimes all you wanted to do was play in the car, even if it wasn’t moving. You were also as stubborn as your momma and knew how to get your way. In fact, Great Aunt D would give into you every. single. time. Including that one time when we met uncle Pumpkin and aunt Penny for dinner.
Your love for motion is what made me think you’d likely be a fan of rides at Disneyland, and you were. The indoor, dark storybook rides were your favorite. Peter Pan was the best!
You loved your Usbourne collection of “That’s Not My” books. You would turn the pages back and forth and stare at each illustration with such curiosity. Your Regional Center case manager was so mesmerized by that. I always thought it was because you enjoyed the texture and hearing someone read to you. One thing is for sure, it was Nanny Megan that got you hooked!
You loved your high chair and were so pissed when it became your brothers. It didn’t matter that you could sit independently at the table. That’s why on several occasions you tried your hardest to sneak up and sit in it with Sage. He wasn’t a fan. You were so big compared to Caba.
I still haven’t met anyone on earth that loves pasta or Pirate Booty as much as you. And where did it go? You were such a string bean and yet you’d insist on seconds or even thirds multiple times a week.
Even at school, when you weren’t full enough, you’d slide your hand into your buddy Nichols’ bowl and take some of his. Teacher Margot was always fascinated by your love for peanut butter and avocado sandwiches and everyone was always amazed by how much you could eat. Including your mom and dad.
At three, when you learned how to walk, you loved when daddy or Miss Kim would take your hand and you’d walk together. Often times you’d demand that someone hold your hand and walk with you around the house.
When you began walking independently with your walker, Brio stove, Melissa and Doug shopping cart, or even when you were pushing me in my chair you were proud. You stood tall with confidence and would smile so big.
When Sage was born you took a couple days to come around. Sharing your time with someone else full-time was not something you asked for, but got anyway. When you realized he was here to stay you gave him endless hugs and kisses. The two of you loved each other fearlessly. You loved being a big sister and were followed by him everywhere.
Memories of you are very much alive. And not a day goes by that I don’t think about what you’d be like if you were here.
Would you still be non-verbal? Would you sign more? Would I still be making photo flash cards to communicate?
Would you still let me dress you in cute outfits?
What would you enjoy now? Would you still play with dolls and enjoy messy art?
Livy taught us so much we didn’t know about life, and made us advocate harder than we ever had before, but we loved even harder than that.
I will forever be healing. I may always so feel cheated. It’s a process and it doesn’t make the pain or trauma go away. Counseling helps, coping skills help, blogging and writing helps, but nothing makes it stop.
Some days I feel like I can’t get broken down any further than I already have been, but then I do. Negativity effects me, words effect me, life effects me. Trust, empathy and friendships are hard to come by. But even on my hardest days I keep chugging along with my loving family and reminding myself that few have been where I have.
Livy, I wish more than anything that your dad and I were not taking today off to grieve together. I wish we were taking it off because we had another amazing birthday party for you and are too tired to go to work.
Happy birthday, Liv. Your memories are always with us.