Two years ago today, Mark and I received one of the greatest gifts of our lives... our sweet Ollie ❤️ It's no surprise to me that the first birthday we have to endure "after Ollie" happens to fall on Thanksgiving. Ollie's life and death have been a painful, but beautiful lesson on love and gratitude. A few days after his cardiac arrest, Ollie was still on ECMO. Mark and I were wandering around the hospital, trying to find some peace about everything that had happened. We wandered into the chapel at the hospital, sat and prayed. Then, other people began sitting down too, and soon a priest was processing down the aisle toward the alter. And a mass began. It was New Years Day mass, though we didn't have a clue what date it was. The homily spoke of the Virgin Mary and her love for her Son. Toward the end, the priest was making a point that during hard times you need to find peace and strength in the love and support of those around you, your friends and family. That that will get you through. At that time, we felt the priest was speaking to US and we took his message as a sign that everything was going to be okay, that Ollie was going to be fine. A few days later, we found out that he wasn't going to be okay. But, the thing that did get us through the nightmare of losing our child, was exactly what the priest said in his message that day, the love and support of family friends. And, once the dust settled a bit and we realized that life does go on, and that we had to as well... for all of these special people in our life, but most of all, for Maddie. So, we quickly learned that one way to face each day is to start out by recalling all of the things we have to be thankful for. And, that's how we've made it this far, all thanks to love and gratitude. And, here we are facing a very painful day. Right now I should be hanging birthday decorations (I'm still going to hang some), today we should be watching Ollie blow out his candles, devouring cupcakes, opening his presents, maybe he'd even be running around, and he'd definitely be gazing at his Mommy, showering me with his trademark, open-mouth wet kisses and patting my back with each hug. But, it's Thanksgiving, so we're having both mine and Mark's family over. We'll all have each other to face this day, and our home with be overflowing with love and support on this day that we are reminded of all that we have to be thankful for. Ollie's lesson lives on and continues to carry me through. Thank you, sweet Ollie. I know you'll be smiling down on us today ❤️ Happy, happy 2nd Birthday to Heaven's sweetest angel ❤️❤️❤️ This picture was taken last year on Ollie's actual birthday. I made him pancakes, his first time having them, and like every other food, he LOVED them ❤️
On January 3, 2013, my 1 yr old son, Ollie, passed away. That's where my life "before Ollie" ends and my grief journey begins... My new normal, my path toward healing, my life "after Ollie". I'm a grieving mother who believes in hope. This is my story.