I love my daughter and treasure so much the memories I have of her. But (much like our view of God) often the intensity of her spirit dims and the scope of her touch shrinks when I don't have others perceptions of her. Today I have been loaded up with the words of people who loved her-- not because they had to, but because they loved to love her. This surplus should last me for a while.
The way Olivia touched mine and Brian's life will never leave me. It will always be at the forefront when I think of her, which is often. But how she reached out and touched others without having good muscles or words to do it with is beyond me. I do understand that after someone dies its everyone's instinct to make them some sort of a "saint". Olivia did have a nasty attitude from time to time and did plenty of "naughty" things-- don't get me wrong, but she was a very special girl who had the intense pleasure and incredible opportunity to connect with others.
Today I was reminded that hosts of people at Children's Mercy Hospital here in Kansas City, other patient families and especially staff were truly touched and honored to know my child. They all still remember her and tell stories of her sassy little attitude and determined spirit. I am SO proud to be her mother. After that very touching phone call with a CMH employee I got to turn in my volunteer form to CCVI (Children's Center for the Visually Impaired) where Liv attended preschool. It had been several weeks since I had walked into that building and honestly I was a little worried about how emotionally overwhelming it might be. There were a few small moments that I saw Liv so vividly in that building, but it was a beautiful array of memories and happy, not sad. Again, we were welcomed by everyone in the building who knew us. They wanted to say "hello" to Gabby, but also to hug us and remember all the things we both loved about Liv.
These people who have surrounded us for years, both at the hospital and the preschool, are part of what our family misses so much about missing Liv. They were family to us and spurred us on to care for our daughter well and to never, NEVER underestimate her. If someone did once, they never would twice, that is for sure. Thank you, if you are reading this as an employee of either facility. We dearly love you and miss you tons. Thanks for your care for Liv and our family, and especially thank you for keeping her memory alive--we are astonished and flattered.
And, just because I can't help it...