The first snow storm of the season blanketed Casper earlier this week. As I watched the snow fall, silently covering the city in white, my mind took me back in time to the first Casper snow four years ago. Ironically, just as I am this week, I was fighting my first cold of the season during that snow storm in early October 2013.
We still lived in Rawlins at the time but we were in Casper for a few days so Olivia could receive her weekly chemo treatment at Rocky Mountain Oncology. The snow storm hit unexpectedly, leaving behind more than a foot of early season snow. We couldn’t make the trip back home and instead spent a few days shut inside my parents home.
Rather than feel frustrated by our change in plans, I decided to enjoy the gift of those lazy days with my little family. I curled up in a recliner next to the fire and held Olivia on my chest for hours at a time. She slept so peacefully with her little head pressed into the crook of my neck. That was always her favorite spot to sleep. Occasionally she would let out a little whimper and snuggle in closer. Even with my bright red nose and constant sniffling, being close to her mommy was all my baby wanted.
Those days were so precious. That unexpected snow storm in early fall 2013 gave me the opportunity to slow down and truly enjoy just cuddling with my daughter. There was absolutely nowhere else I had to be or anything else I had to do. I could simply enjoy her. Breathe her in. Take the time to memorize what it felt like to have her sleeping so close.
Little did I know that would be my very last snow storm with Olivia. Just a short week and a half later I got the news that Olivia’s cancer was now terminal. And five days after that on October 22, 2013 my 20 month old baby took her last breath in my arms.
That last snow storm is now a memory I treasure. I am so glad that I embraced those days. What I would give to feel her head pressed against me one more time, just cuddled on the couch, watching the snow fall.
The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research in memory of Olivia Caldwell, who passed away from brain cancer at 20 months old in October 2013. To date we have given $155,000 to pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.