Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another Shining Angel

I've tried many, many times over the last six hours or so to begin this post with words that expressed both deep respect and intense sadness. None truly suffice. So, I will just write from the heart here in the hopes that my words can somehow express to the Jones and Fraijo families how touched and grateful I am to have known your sweet Olivia and so many of you, and how deeply sad I am for your loss.

The passing of any person is sad, but the passing of a child is just... breathtakingly sad. Gasping, sobbing, unfairly, desperately sad. Horrifyingly unfair. The kind of unfairness that reaches deep into your insides and pulls out your heart.

Olivia was, without a doubt, a special little girl with a very special family. I could see that so vividly on the night that nearly the whole Jones clan, plus Aunt Lizzie (CAL), came a-knockin' on my hospital room door.  She and her sisters had spent that afternoon decorating a beautiful (and delicious) red velvet cake with a giant purple flower and Olivia wanted to share some with P and I.  We knew of each other before and by some sick stroke of...luck, yes, I will say luck, were on the same floor at MD Anderson, in rooms across from one another, at the same time. You see, for those who don't know, Oliva's family, through some strange twists in the universe, is very friendly with my extended family, the Romans. My Grandma Roman taught several of Olivia's Aunts and Uncles. Olivia's cousin was my cousin's confirmation sponsor. Our Aunts are great friends. The odd thing is that it took both of us ending up at MDA (and a facebook connection through Craig Brandmeier) to find all of this out. Her Aunt Lizzie has been amazing to me and my Mom and it really felt like little, sweet Olivia was family. 

She fought so valiantly, with so much courage, through more than I could ever imagine anyone enduring, let alone someone of only twelve. She was determined. Her family is amazing, it is no wonder. There is so much love and support between them, they are inspiring. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to sit with Olivia a few times, chatting about Glee (she had the coolest Glee poster that was signed by the whole cast, she was so proud of it!) and sharing pictures of our pets (her little Sassy and my two nuggets). Her hospital room had been converted into a warm, PINK, comfort zone, her ever-dedicated mom and sisters decorated every inch of it. I recall that she had some awesome nail art painted onto her delicate hands and toes too. (Guess what Olivia? I painted mine sparkly pink with flowers and jewels last night, just for you). When I say that I was and am still inspired by her, I truly mean it in a way that she will stay with me forever.

Rest in sweet, comfortable, beautiful peace Olivia. You touched so many and I feel so, so blessed to be one of them. You were a warrior. I think Hit Girl would be proud. To the Jones and Fraijo families: We are wishing you comfort and peace in this time. There is so little than can be said. You have all been so wonderful to us, please know that Phil and I are keeping you close in our hearts during this time. Your Olivia is now a shining angel.
So much LOVE.

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  1. Laura,
    Your mom sent me a note about Olivia's passing. I'm so sorry to learn that she's lost what sounded like a truly heroic battle over years. Your post gives shape to my sense of who she was, how present her family was, and the way she touched your life. She would be pleased with your tribute, as I'm sure her family is. Stay strong. <3 Chris

  2. Laura, thank you so much for your sweet tribute to our lovely Olivia. Our hearts are breaking. She fought to the very end, never giving up, never complaining. An example to all of us. She remembered meeting you and Phil and bringing you the cake and the lovely bracelet you made her. I want to make sure you know you touched her heart like she touched yours! You are a treasure and I am so happy we have become friends. I am in awe of your courage. You are an inspiration to anyone who comes in contact with you. xoxo Aunt Lizzie

  3. Oh my goodness, what a post to stumble on. This is my first time here, and this breaks my heart.

    i cannot imagine a child having to fight such a horrid horrid illness. I look at my kids and think 'please don't ever get sick'.

    I have breast cancer and just had my bilateral mastectomy last month. I am starting chemo next wednesday. I am frightened and scared. And I am 35 not 12.

    It just breaks my heart for her family. How nice that you had a chance to spend time with Olivia.