Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The first few days

What better thing to do on a rainy day than write.

March 24, 2012.  The first day of my life without Olivia.  It sucks.  Erick and I both agreed that we didn't want to be alone so we called our friends and asked them to come to our house.  By Saturday night, our house was packed with friends and family and it continued  for an entire week.  Food, flowers, and gifts were being delivered to our home.  It was so comforting to have the distraction from our reality.  But, when it came time for visitors to leave......  oh, that's right.  Olivia is still gone. I would go to sleep at night with the help of Xanax but wake up to my nightmare each morning.  I think one night, I actually dreamed that it was just a nightmare and Olivia was still alive.  My mind was playing games with me or was it the Xanax?  Or, was it just part of grieving?  Whatever it was, it was awful.  I wanted a do-over in life.  I wanted out!  But, each morning we woke up, cried  and continued being parents to Ainsley.  My mother-in-law slept at our house, which was nice to have her there.

By day two of our new life, we were faced with writing an obituary.  Erick handled it and did it beautifully.  We were also faced with contacting the mortician in Florida because Olivia was still there, remember?  Because Olivia was young, an autopsy was required.  Oh, that makes me sick to think of that process so I don't choose to write about that.  Oh, and I did wish for her organs to be donated.  Something good has to come from this, right?  I am thankful for my father-in-law, a lawyer, who helped in getting death certificates  for life insurance policies that we had.  Sounds strange that we had life insurance on Olivia but my dad had purchased  one through some local organization never thinking we'd need it.  But, there we were........ using it towards a funeral.

Day 3, we're meeting with the Pastor from our church to discuss funeral arrangements.  We're also meeting with my friend's father, who is a funeral director to discuss those details.  What color casket? What size?  Olivia was "big enough" to be in an adult size casket.   Oh, good for her.  I hope you sense the sarcasm.  I asked the funeral director how much all of this would cost.  Why?  I don't know. It just came out of my mouth.  When he told me, my response was "that is what we should be spending on her wedding some day".  At this point, we were learning that Olivia would be coming home from Florida on Wednesday.  Her viewing would be on Thursday and her private funeral would be on Friday.  She died on a Friday and we'd bury her one week later.

More visitors were stopping by.  My two friends that I had met through Olivia's soccer team had stopped by with an envelop of money that they collected from the PTA at Olivia's school.  There I stood in the entryway of my house telling them the details of Olivia's death.  I think I kept repeating my story to remind myself that it really did happen.  Jen and Leslie were brought to tears, of course.  I was again in my stoic, robotic state.  Tears only came while alone.

Day 4.  I hd just gotten out of the shower when I heard my mom talking to someone who's voice I did not recognize.  It was a news reporter from WPXI.  Julie and her camera man were in my house wishing to interview us.  I declined being on camera and wished for none of our family members to be interviewed.  Julie did ask if they could just see pictures of Olivia for the story.  I guess they were going to run the story no matter what so I let them come in so that they could film some footage.  I guess we spend the flood gates because Channel 4 was at my door , then Channel 2 had called my mom then later ran the story while standing outside of Olivia school.  One news channel did interview our neighbor, Harry.  He did an awesome job speaking fondly of our Olivia.  Day 4 also took us to a cemetery.  Yes, we had to pick a grave site, a burial plot for our 8 year old daughter.  A final resting spot that we later named, La La's spot.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Going home

Once I decided to leave the hospital, I was standing outside of the room where Olivia died.  I was shaking uncontrollably, shivering.  My aunt, who came to simply get an update for the family, suggested to the nurse that I was in shock and perhaps they could give me something to help.  Someone handed me a prescription for Xanax.

We walked outside and it was dark and raining......  such a difference from hours before.  Well, everything was different hours before.  I had Olivia then and now I do not.  I sat in the backseat of someone's car and could hardly keep myself upright.  I slumped over and leaned onto my bag that my aunt had brought from the vacation home.  We drove to a CVS, I think, where I handed my prescription slip and my insurance card to a drive through window.  We then drove back to the vacation home.  My cousin, the one driving the boat, was waiting for me when we arrived.  She said how sorry she was.  I know that sounds very simplistic but what else could she say.  It was an accident.  Yes, a terrible one but an accident.  

I went into the house and my mom grabbed me and hugged me.  I still haven't cried.  I felt like I was walking through life as a zombie.  I sat down on the couch where my cousin Mark came to comfort me.  There was nothing that anyone could do.  I just wanted to curl up into a ball and pretend this isn't really happening.  I wanted to be with Erick and Ainsley.  I wanted my Olivia back here with me for our get away weekend.   Oh how I wanted this nightmare to be over but this is only the beginning of my nightmare.  This fucking nightmare is now my reality.  Excuse my language.  

The hospital had asked me if I wanted a social worker to come to the house to talk and I took them up on the offer.  She stopped by a little while later while I was still laying on the couch now holding onto Olivia's green blanket that she slept with every night since she was a baby.  I remember telling the social worker, Kim, that I was so scared that Erick would blame me for this and  would leave me.  At some point, I think, while I was in the hospital or later, I had inquired about organ donation.  What?  Seriously?  I consented to have any viable organ of Olivia's donated.  Someone from the organ donation department did call me on my cell and we arranged it.  I will blog about this later.   I remember feeling so tired but incredibly empty inside.  I remember still hearing my dad cry and cry and cry.  Me?  Still no t ears.  I have no idea what time it is at this point but I'm given a Xanax and I go into a bedroom to sleep.  My mom shared a bed with me.

The next morning, we woke up very early because my cousin, Mark had arranged for us to return to Pittsburgh.  I wasn't about to stay in Florida any longer than I need to.  This will later haunt me.  I left my daughter alone.  

My mom hopped into the bathroom to shower but I heard her vomit.  I showered next and then we left the house with our luggage.  Olivia's clothes were still packed in her suitcase.  I was leaving her in Florida.  Even when I type it......  it sounds horrible.  

I think I sat on the plane by complete strangers and was completely in a zombie state from the Xanax (too high of a dosage for me).  I dozed off on the plane but was startled awake by my own realization that Olivia was dead.  

We had another lay over in Atlanta, GA where I would call my friend Lori.  She had known what happened because my family had called my friend Melissa for me.  I wanted Melissa to call our friends and for someone to check on Erick the night of the accident.  Lori was a member at our church so I called her to ask if she would call our Pastor because I now have to plan a funeral.  Lori had already taken care of it.  Eventually, we arrive in Pittsburgh and back into my parent's car where Olivia's booster seat was waiting for her.  I sat in the backseat and my mom sat next to me.  Staring out the window the entire time but I could see the stickers that Olivia put on the back door.  She was everywhere but she wasn't here.  

Erick opened the front door of our split level home.   Ainsley was standing at the top of our steps and the first thing that comes out of her adorable little mouth is, "Where's LaLa".  I didn't think that my heart could break any more.  My mother-in-law was there to distract Ainsley while Erick and I went downstairs to our bedroom.  We sat on the bed and hugged each other while Erick cried.  Me?  Nothing.  I am numb.  I am dead inside.  

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The little things that she'll miss

Today, my friend Leslie and I went to sweat our butts off at Hot Yoga.  She and I have been going to yoga for about a year now.    Leslie's daughter, ironically enough is named Olivia, was texting her mom before our class started about this weekend's school dance.  Olivia and my Olivia were in the same grade and were on the soccer team together.

Leslie's Olivia had decided that she wanted to go to the dance on Saturday.  She then texted Leslie to tell her that a boy had asked her to go to the dance with him.  Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I don't usually let my emotions show in front of my friends but this time was different.  Sitting in a dark and HOT room, I cried.  Than Leslie began to cry.  I cried because it was so cute that she was asked to a dance and I cried because my Olivia will never get that chance of being asked to a dance.  She'll never have those butterflies in her stomach when she starts liking boys.....  there is just so much that she'll never got to experience as a 7th grade girl.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Bins and more bins

When we became pregnant for the second time, we decided to find out the sex because of all of the clothing that we had stored in our attic.  Olivia had a ton of clothes.......  partially because I am a shopping addict and we had clothing donated to us by family members.  So, if we were having a boy, I was getting rid of all of those clothes that Olivia had grown out of.  THANK GOODNESS THAT WE HAD ANOTHER GIRL.  I often think about "what if".  What if we had a boy?  I would have gotten rid of Olivia's clothes and would have only had the clothes in her closet, which, by the way are still THERE.   They will stay there until Ainsley can fit into them.

On Sunday, I ventured up into the attic to look for the next set of bins of clothes.   I came across several bins of clothes that Ainsley could wear this summer, fall, next summer, next fall, the following spring, and then.......  we'll eventually hit the end of our supply.

Going through the bins, I have mixed emotions.  Some of the outfits bring back memories or where we were when Olivia wore this.  Some of the clothes I will not part with even after Ainsley wears them.  They have too strong of a connection to Olivia.   I have created a new bin of clothes that I refer to as my memory bin.