It’s hard to believe that a year has gone by without Olivia. Sometimes it feels like forever and sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday. Thinking about the loss of her can take our breath away in an instant. I know that the loss of my child will be with me for the rest of my life. I am surrounded by her courage, strength, love, humor, laughter, joy and pain. She lives in Sam and in me. We knew her the best and we miss her with all our hearts and souls.
If Olivia is reading this, she’d say, “What are you doing? People don’t want to hear your sad tune….move on….get to the good stuff!”
She’s right. We want to tell you about this past year by using excerpts from her blog. Olivia started her blog in August 2014, a year after she was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma. It’s amazing how many of her writings about living with cancer are similar to living with grief. We hope you understand the correlations and enjoy reading Olivia’s wit and insight again. While Olivia passed away a year ago today, one month after her 28th birthday, we are all lucky to have her voice continue through this blog. Her words have been a comfort and an inspiration to us.
From August 23, 2014 “Say What?”
People react to news in different ways and boy the things they say are bizarre. Throughout this past year, people have reacted to my news in various ways. I sometimes wish I could record or videotape some of the things people have said to me. They range from happy to sad, shocking to serious, and everything else you can imagine.
From April 4,2017 “Babydoll”
I think that’s what scares people the most when they ask me how I am doing. I can see the dread in their faces and the pity when they ask how I feel. It is as if they are afraid of how I will answer and they won’t know how to react. I understand people fall out of touch and we all move on with our lives. I’ve certainly had my share of fair-weather friends. At some point you realize that you need to forget the ones that have forgotten you.
From July 11, 2017 “The Fog”
I have been catching myself lately worrying and thinking about the future rather than staying in the present moment. My mind will wander off thinking about something I need to be doing tomorrow or next week or some worry I have that has nothing to do with what is going on around me. Some days are a hell of a lot easier than others. I’ll find myself feeling fine then all of a sudden a tidal wave will wash over me and cloud my judgement making me feel as if I am grasping for air. We all have days when we have setbacks or things just aren’t going our way. What we have to remember is that it’s just a bad day and not a bad life. One of my good friends once told me that some days we just have to ride the wave.
From July 21, 2016 “Back Again”
When you don’t talk about what you have been through, it eventually catches up to you. I was suppressing my emotions to make everyone else feel comfortable. For me it is usually in the quiet moments when I have lots of free time and I am not in my normal routine. It is when I am in places where I feel most at ease and comfortable, that my anxiety comes out.
From April 2, 2017 “YAP Conference”
But then I quickly remembered that you can’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game you love. You take your past failures, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. Life keeps ticking on.
From September 15, 2014 “Who You Gonna Call"
Support is the most powerful tool for anyone. Knowing that you have a group of people behind you willing to help is the best medicine. When you are fighting a disease on a daily basis you need more than the medicines your doctors give you. Forget the Debbie downers, negative Nancys, and complaining Carols. Find those people who are willing to stand next to you and be part of your bizarre story.
From December 18, 2018 “Montana”
If anyone knows me, my family will always come first and our friends that have become like family. We all have had our shares of ups and downs. The only difference is that when something happens to us we dust ourselves and get back up. At the end of the day what matters most is how you feel about yourself and whom you choose to surround yourself with. Pick people that support you and love you for who you are. People may come and go in your life but the good ones will tough it out with you. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
Rather than finding the right words to close, we’re going to end with one of Olivia’s quotes. Thanks for reading and thank you to everyone for your support, prayers and love.
From January 5, 2017 “Silver Lining”
Life is about finding that silver lining in everything. It’s about finding the positive in the most negative situations. Mind you it isn’t always easy, but sometimes you have to buckle down and get the job done. It’s about focusing on the tasks in front of you rather than dwelling on the past. It’s about not looking into the future and worrying about the what-ifs. I could spend my time dreaming of what my life would be if I didn’t have cancer, but I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have met all these amazing people or gotten my horse Joe. My granny used to always tell me “life isn’t always easy, but it is how we handle these tough situations that make us into the person we are meant to be”.
Olivia’s updated blog site: thesarcasticsarcoma.com