There is a family out there that mourns their little four year old girl. In fact I'm sure there's a lot of families out there mourning their four year old girls, but today and everyday one family in particular strikes me. Most heart families know of her story, going on the Make-a-Wish trip that she had long waited for and danced with excitement. She slept in her Minnie dresses and counted the days until they could go. The whole family packed and took off for Orlando, only they never got there. Sweet baby girl went into rejection and needed to be hospitalized. Somewhere in the cath lab something went terribly wrong and a family of six flew back as a group of five accompanying a casket back home. My paranoia of this repeating itself with Olivia's Make-a-Wish experience was almost enough for me to insist on something completely different despite the fact that she's totally in love with all things Disney.
Their family was reeling from the loss as Olivia was placed on the transplant list and I read and followed their story days before she went into the OR. Every day I watch my little girl get stronger, now skipping naps and wearing big girl undies when she feels like it but I know that sneaky darkness is out there waiting to fall on us just like an Alaskan night sky. I know that if that is her fate there will be no outrunning it or hiding from the darkness. The fear becomes more real with every passing day and all the firsts that still go on. Livvy can now read some of her favorite nighttime books by heart. I lay there and listen to her and think what if we don't get this on camera and this is the last time I hear that sweet voice? She gets so excited at certain parts that I start giggling before she even gets to them now. She half read them to her Uncle Eddy last night but was more excited that she had more than the usual audience of Mommy and Daddy.
I've never met them, never reached out to them but in their pain and sadness much like links in a chain, we are intertwined, just like the donor family. Out of their sadness comes our joy. Some days it feels a little like a chain, cold and heavy keeping me rooted in one spot that I feel as though it takes everything I've got to move or to think of anything more than the image of funerals. It could be us grieving our everything, our way of life, a silent house, life without laughter.
For now this is about as close to heaven as I'd like Olivia to get until she's old and gray.