Monday, June 1, 2009

Perfect.

Time is going too fast. I can't believe Olivia has been gone for over a week. It's just starting to seem real, now that things are starting to slow down and it's just Brooklyn and I during the day.
I truly wish everyone that knows Olivia's story could have been at her services last week. It couldn't have been more perfect. Wednesday night, the visitation went well. The kids were able to go see Olivia at the beginning and then went to Jack's ballgame for the evening. We saw so many people and we were completely amazed by the people that travelled to offer their condolences. I know it seems odd, but I will have to add just a few pictures of floral arrangements. You won't believe it until you see it, but Olivia actually had a Barney floral arrangement!
Thursday was perfect. We walked over to the church and saw our sweet baby girl for the last time here on Earth. The music was perfect...a few traditional selections...and the rest from her Praise Baby CD's that she loved. We also had a special performance by one of Olivia's favorite singers...Cookie! Cookie is this amazing person that used to sing to all the sick children in the Children's Hospital. She has had to stop singing, but still came to sing at Olivia's service and at the cemetery on Friday.
Our pastor had a great message and we had a wonderful lunch afterwards and were able to visit with people we haven't seen in a while. Friday morning, we had the burial in Dunlap. It was absolutely perfect. It was all of the immediate family and an amazing amount of our PICU family. Cookie sang again....Six Little Ducks, the sun was shining, perfect.
So, how are we doing? The kids are doing very well - I'd say very appropriate. I think Brooklyn is at the age that she understands that she won't see Olivia until she goes to Heaven, but she is sort of okay with that. Jack has his moments. He's definitely been more "phased" by everything. He doesn't necessarily get sad about Olivia, he's just overly sensitive about the little things.
Zac went back to work today. He definitely deals with things by keeping busy. I seemed to be doing okay with that, as well, until it was just Brooklyn and I today. There's only so much the two of us can do. Tonight has been especially hard. I started organizing things and came across the dress, leg warmers, and blanket that the nurses carried Olivia down in after she passed. They still smelled like her and I don't want that to ever go away. We've spent so much time going through the motions the last few days, and I think it's starting to catch up with us, or at least with me.
I constantly wonder if I'm dealing with all of this in "the right way." I do know that there is no "right way," but I can't get it out of my head. I just feel like I want to deal with everything in the best way, to make it hurt less. I have a continuous emptiness and ache in my heart that will never completely go away. It was so hard to enjoy dinner tonight - our first as a family of 4. I just pray that it doesn't always hurt this much to miss her as much as I do.

29 comments:

threekidchaos said...

When we were going through the adoption process, one suggestion we were given was to sleep with a blanket for a few days & then send it to the orphanage in a Ziploc bag. The bag was supposed to help keep the smell. We never had the chance to do it, but maybe it'll work in reverse?

I wish I was there to organize a bunch of playdates to keep you & Brooklyn busy. You could invite yourself over to Leslie's - she's always good for a playdate ;-)

Hang in there...

K~

Brennan Blog said...

still praying for you.....

Anonymous said...

Julie
We found that the emptiness never leaves but that your hurting will be replaced with happier rememberances.
Take care amd we will see you in the fall.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be helpful if all things just stopped until we could catch our breath and were ready to get back on the ride of life? Oh, wait, you're still on the ride but the roller coaster has moved onto, perhaps, the log ride! I recently read that God's will will never take you where God's grace cannot sustain you. That's a promise that you can hold tight. Prayers have not stopped for you and your family. May God sustain you. Love Diny

Jackie said...

You are in my prayers.

the*4*of*us said...

Julie
I think of you often and my heart just breaks for you. I am still praying and am so happy that you guys know Jesus--and that He has Olivia with Him in heaven, waiting for you to join her!
The hurt will be so bad sometimes, and other times it will be okay. But that little hole will always be there.
((hugs))

Helen Hartwig said...

Hi Julie, I just wanted to say that when my first husband was killed everyone was telling me what I should think and how I should feel. The problem was, everyone had a different idea on how that should be. Take this off your worry list. I found out the way to deal with it was do what I knew he would have wanted and what was best for the kids. Not everyone agreed with arrangements, how I did things etc. However, it gave me a lot of peace knowing I did things that was best for our family and my husbands wishes rather than trying to make everyone else happy. Also, you will always have not only that love in your heart, but also, the hole there as well. It just gets easier to deal with each passing day as time goes by. Hope this helps in some small way.

Judy said...

All of you (kids and grandparents included) continue to be in our thoughts and prayers. I think of Olivia all the time. What an impact she's had on my life.
This might seem a little strange but I think you should read the book "Tear Soup" it's a "recipe for healing after loss." It's so good and short and even has pictures. I think it would help you feel normal and validate all the emotions you're feeling. You can preview the first couple of pages on Amazon. I think the grandparents would love it too! C.S. Lewis also wrote a book called "A Grief Observed" I haven't read it, so I can't totally recommend it, but I've heard that it's been helpful in the grief process.
Just know that you are not alone, even in the lonely moments. You have an army of people lifting you up in prayer who love you deeply!

Anonymous said...

Still thinking and praying for you and your family- thank you for updating. I can't imagine all the emotions you are dealing with, but thank and praise God that you have Him in your life and that Olivia is shining down on you. Thank you for sharing all of this on your blog, truly an inspiration of how to be a good mom, wife and follower of Christ. Keep running the race! :)

Heather said...

Hi sweetheart. The services were excellent. It warmed both Ryan and I's hearts to pull up to the Church Thursday morning, to see a full house and then some. Amazing. Olivia not only taught us so much about life, but she did it with a smile on her face. Sending you love....Heather & Ryan

Jennifer Eckman said...

So many things I could say...but they would maybe sound weird....so just know you are doing "perfect"
.....grieving is strange...big things sometimes don't bother you, little things might set you off--completely normal. I second the idea of putting Olivia's clothes in a ziplock bag--I still have Noah's and swear I can still smell him. It's comforting in a weird way, but I know you understand.

Leesa said...

Julie-
My brother-in-law's son died at 14 months old due to an accident. Although he has been with the Lord for 7 years, my brother-in-law still writes a letter to him on his birthday every year. You might consider doing something like this. We are still praying for you.

Anonymous said...

Julie,
We missed you Saturday night but I heard Bronx didn't want to go to a party and I don't blame her. I talked to Zac as much as I could with a house full of people but I did hear someone comment that "Julie needs to keep writing. She is so good at it and it seems to be therapuetic for her and we all love to hear what she has to say." Of course Zac wanted to know if we thought it could turn into a profitable business...maybe??? I too hope that writing can help you grieve and assist with the healing. We will all check in as often as we can so you will know you aren't just talking to yourself. We continue to pray for all ouf you and will miss you as you start to pack up the house and move on....

Lisa Fulkerson

Heidi said...

Continue to pray for you and your family!

MommytoAJ2 said...

I second (oh wait, third) the Ziploc bag. I have Colin's blanket in one. It helps. I also hug a teddy bear that was his when I need something to hold. Sometimes as Mommy's our arms ache to hold them, this helps me. I also love the book "Tear Soup" it really helped me, but I suggest it for the grandparents even more, it helped my Mom so much. We are continuing to pray for all of you. Angie Bailey

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry to just first find your blog and hear this news. We ran St Jude with Zac last year and just fell for your family. Your strength amazes us. You are in our prayers!

Anonymous said...

Julie,

While reading your blog, I read about "Cookie". I almost forgot about her and how she stopped in a few times to sing to Anthony when he was in PICU. I was so happy to read that she sang one last time for Olivia :) I often think of Olivia and how she seemed so happy in all of her pictures even though she had a hard road, harder that your typical two year old. It seems like she enjoyed the time she had to the fullest extent. I do believe that she is your gaurdian angel. You were with her every step of the way throughout her journey. You cared for her and protected her to the best of your ability, and now she will do the same for you. I pray for you every night and I wish you future happiness with all that you still have.. We will miss you all so much.. As I told you last week, Ill be bringing Anthony up to OSF on the 15th, and when I think about it, i feel an emptiness knowing that you will not be there :( But Im also happy because Olivia is healed and will live her new life with no restrictions, and will someday find a bench and wait for you..

Love Melissa

Claire said...

I'm praying for you all, still. I'm so glad you updated us.

Cxx

Anonymous said...

Oh Julie! I think you are doing amazingly well! You are entitled to greive, feel empty, and not know just what to do with your time... you have spent the past few years caring for your family AND dealing with Olivia's ups and downs. I know Olivia is with Jesus, without pain, and I imagine her running through a field of flowers giggling, but the truth is she is not with you, and that HURTS. Of course you should cherish the clothes she last wore, it is natural for you to need a connection to her.

Think of all of the things you were not able to do with Olivia and do them with Brooklyn and Jack, spend some time (yes, more time) writing about your baby daughter to help work out your feelings, and talk, talk, talk to all of those who love you and want to give you support.

You are in our prayers ...
Linda

Anonymous said...

Julie, I just lost my husband in March and that's hard. I can't imagine losing a child. I've come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Continue thinking of your family and don't worry about anyone else. What ever you do to get through the grief is the right way. I also agree with others that you should continue to write. You have such a gift to show your faith and courage with an uplifting tone in your writing. You may never know how many lives you have touched through your writing. I see a future for you helping other families going through the stress of a sick child. Hang in there, God and Olivia are watching over you and your family.
Cathy Gibbs

Anonymous said...

Julie-
I can't imagine being in your shoes...I just know whatever you do to cope will be the right thing...you are just talented that way! Look at all of the right things you did while helping Olivia cope with her ups and downs! I think of your girl and her smile often...she's such an inspiration. Love and Best Wishes, Laura S.

Anonymous said...

julie, know that you are not only dealing with Olivia's death but you are also dealing with the loss of a full time job as a caregiver for Olivia. You are going to have additional feelings to work through due to your job loss. I will pray that God will give you strength to cope with this additional loss. Kay

Anonymous said...

I have been thinking about you and your dilema since last night... You need to take time to heal your family and yourself first. Next fall when the kiddos and Zac go to school, think about turning what you have blogged for the past 2 1/2 years into a book ---- a book dedicated to Olivia, Zac, Brooklyn, and Jack that tells your story. You have the talent to write and the faith to spread God's word. You have inspired SO MANY PEOPLE!!! Perhaps God means for this to be your next step...

Linda

Anonymous said...

Ok, I have to agree 100% with that last comment!! Was it not almost a year ago when I asked what your major in college was after swearing it had to be English? I begged then for a book, you have such power in your words. Take the time you need now, but please, please take it into consideration. It could be a therapy of sorts and a way for your young children to understand in the future just how much of an impact their amazing little sister made in so many people's lives. Do it locally, maybe some sort of fundraising effort to support a great cause? Or maybe for just your personal use, never to be shared with anyone. Either way, don't write it off, pardon the pun :-)

Hang in there Julie, no one can understand how you are feeling, coping, getting through day to day, but know that there are so many of us out here still keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers.

Erika

Jodi said...

Julie, been thinking about all of you lots. Just know that whatever you do to get through each day is the right thing. We will need to get together when you guys are in town. Just let me know. Love ya JODI

Anonymous said...

Just wanted you all to know we continue to pray for you every day and are sending sunny thoughts your way!
Jen Weber

The conlon family said...

Let me know when you are ready are we will be there. I'm still planning on painting your house.

Anonymous said...

Your heart is too pure to not be falling apart on the inside right now Julie. You know she is in a better place, but it doesn't mean you don't miss her cause she's not with you. I can't imagine honey. Don't question yourself, because you don't ever need to. You have done it all your way the whole time, and from what we have all seen, it's been absolutely perfect. The emptiness would overwhelm you at times. Keep doing what your doing Julie...you will find your way out of the darkness.

Your amazing family touches so many lives. There is so much love there. Olivia will live not only in heaven, but here also, in all of our hearts forever.

Keep writing Julie...your great at it. You continue to touch our lives everyday, and the messages you send out open all of our hearts and make us better people.

You and Olivia continue to do God's work together

Love,

Courtney Pritchard

Kate Axline said...

Julie, the fact that you are wondering if you are handling this ok is a good sign.. But also remember sweet Olivia would not want to feeling guilty for having a fun day with Brooklyn..After all she went through I really think that she would just want you to breathe and enjoy what you have left. She knows you love her and you miss her. You loved her so well while she was on this earth, it is enough to last until you all join in heaven. Somedays are going to be hour to hour and some minute to minute...But there will be some that are all happy. Her spirit will be in that day with all of you. That day will come.It will come. Hugs,prayers and love...