SO AM I (book)
I wrote this book during Olivia’s life—it starts from the day she was born and ends the day she passed away.
This book is not about what happened on the outside (although I did include a journal entry for each month Olivia was alive to help fill in the story). This book is about what was happening inside me during these moments, and a condensing of the lessons I learned about life, living, and letting go from Olivia.
The theme of this book, as was the theme of our lives during these 14 months, is rest in the midst of uncertainty.
We found out about Olivia’s condition while Heather was pregnant with her. The following months were a blur of doctor visits, sonograms, meetings with specialists and grief counselors, planning for the day Olivia would be born… the day we would say goodbye.
Everything was planned. I had a picture in my head. They said there would be a person there with a basket—that when we were ready, they would place her in that basket and take her away. I wondered what it would feel like after that. Would we stay at the hospital for a while? How would the drive home feel?
It turns out that sometimes Trisomy 18 babies do survive birth. Sometimes they even come home for a while. I guess they figured they’d prepare us for the worst. Whatever “worst” is. “Worst” is definitely not synonymous with “most difficult”.
Olivia came home. The following 14 months were full of the most difficult moments of my life. They were also full of the most beautiful ones. They were full of life.
Olivia, a baby girl deemed “incompatible with life”, brought a full lifetime’s worth of life into these short 14 months.
Olivia, a baby girl, deemed “incompatible with life”, redefined life for me and my wife and family.
This book is my best attempt at sharing that life with you. And what I couldn’t fit into words, I poured into music.
As you read the book—as you listen to the music—please let yourself return to where you are. Notice it. And notice that while my story is unique to me, it is also universal—it is your story as well. We all have our own path to walk; we are all on the same journey, somehow.
THANK YOU for traveling these 14 months with me.