Last night I dreamt about Olivia all night. I dreamed Heather dug her up and was holding her. She looked fine. No decay. She was moving. I have this dream often. I always think, “Wait, are we sure she’s dead?! She’s moving”. Everyone in the dream tells me it’s totally normal and that she’s dead. But last night she talked. She said she loved me, Jude, Charlie, Ruth, and Heather. “ARE WE SURE SHE’S DEAD?!” She just spoke for crying out loud. “Yes, that’s normal.” They put her in a big cold room to freeze her, for some reason. There were other children there too. One by one the children began waking up. They were fine. After all the kids were alive, Olivia started breathing. Over the following days she started eating. She was growing. She was alive.
I woke up feeling like I never slept. I spent the entire evening with Olivia. Again. Like the old days. Watching her do things everyone said were impossible for her to do - being amazed by my daughter’s determination, strength, and beauty - watching, as her fighting brought so many others to life. That’s what she did.
Today, I made breakfast for the family. Helped clean up. Did yoga and pull-ups and voice practice. I went outside for a run and there were four baby birds on the sidewalk. Two were still breathing. I lost it. I picked them up and put them on the grass, together so they were touching. I don’t know, maybe that will bring the two living ones some comfort for their last moments. I’m obviously hyper-sensitive right now. I wish I could take care of those birds. I didn’t touch them with my skin but I wanted to. I wish I could touch Olivia again.
I saw a 14yr old girl with Downs at the pool this weekend. She came right up to me and stared in my face. I don’t know why she did that, but all I could think was “We were ready for that. We were ready for the wheelchairs and the care-taking. We were ready to give up our lives.” Now we “have our lives back”, but we don’t want it. We want Olivia.
There are more important things than doing well. Than “success”. We found one of them. Heather and I don’t want “success” anymore. We want life.