A Complete Collection

It’s strange and sad to think that all the pictures and videos we have of Olivia are all we’ll ever have. Surely our memories with her will last a lifetime, but the actual collection of pictures is complete. I’m thankful we have (literally) thousands of pictures of her, but it’s a hard pill to swallow that there won’t ever be another. It makes me cherish every single one more than I thought possible. Even the outtakes. The ones I wouldn’t post online because I worried about how she looked hooked up to so many machines and with tape across her face. The ones I didn’t share on the blog because the lighting was bad, or the picture was too grainy, or her outfit didn’t match her blankets that day.

Every single photo now means the world to me. They bring me back to a very concrete moment in time when she was here and we were there with her. I still scroll through the “favorites” album on my phone a few times a day, and I usually watch at least a couple videos so I can see her little fingers waving in the air or catch her raising her eyebrows at us. I’ll re-watch a video where she starts crying because I’ll never see her cry again, or I’ll watch the clips of her on our walks outside because it reminds me that we gave her as much as we possibly could.

Anyways, this thought all started because I’ve been creating a few physical artifacts to help us remember Olivia. Videos like the one above, framed art, photo books etc.

While working on each project there’s been this overwhelming sense of finality. Finality might be the wrong word, but the thought crossed my mind that I probably won’t ever make another video of Olivia… because we won’t have any new material to work with. And the photo book I’m putting together isn’t going to be just the first of many. This will be the only one. The word that keeps making its way into my mind is “complete”. I’ve now organized all of our pictures: from my phone and Luke’s, from my big camera, from Jocelyn and from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I’ve organized the pictures and the videos separately, grouped certain events in aptly labeled folders, and as I did so I realized that all of these files represent Olivia’s entire life captured on camera. It’s like this amazing collection that I will never, ever let out of my sight. I cherish it and love looking through it, and yet the whole time there’s this constant reminder that this collection of photos and videos is complete. It will always be exactly as it is right now.

This video above is one of the things I recently started… something I’ll add to the collection of things that capture Olivia’s life as a whole, from start to finish. Something we can watch over and over again whenever we want to see our little girl. Something to remind us that she was fiercely courageous and just so darn sweet, and that that’s how we should be too: relentless, strong, full of life.

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as Luke and I do.


  1. So beautifully written and documented as always, Wink. It makes me so happy to see her sweet little fingers wrapped around yours and Luke’s, and to see pictures of you two giggling with her. Love you so much.

  2. This is a beautiful piece of work Whitney. So touching and so so special. It brought many tears and smiles. A day doesnt go by that I don’t think of her. I pray for her every day and look at her prayer card I carry with me. She was a beautiful special gift from God. She touched us all so much and we will never forget her and her adorable faces, sweetness and struggles. You and Luke are so very strong and we are always here for you both.

  3. All of this–your writing, your photos, your video–spoken from your heart and moving swiftly to ours. Thank you for sharing your most private thoughts and for sharing this video. Life is so precious and you made so much of Olivia’s life. Keep writing. I can see where Olivia got her fierce courage.

  4. Thank you for giving me this wonderful video of my beautiful granddaughter & sharing such a personal time for you & Luke. This is so priceless to me. Olivia was so courageous & wonderfully adorable with so much life in those expressive eyes of her. Beautiful

  5. Thank you, Whitney. Olivia Grace touched all of us who came to know her. Her fingers wavering and her feet wiggling, but those eyes followed you attentively listening to your voice. The little angels are playing and keeping her company. She is watching over us. She was loved by you both and everyone who she came into contact with. My sweet Olivia will always be In my heart!

  6. Whitney, this is beautiful. I bet you’ll find new ways to honor your sweet girl for the rest of time. Rarely a day goes by that we don’t tell a story or mention Guido’s sister Vanessa- especially to our kids who never met her- but they sure do know her. Much love, Mary

  7. These pictures are gorgeous and the music is perfect.

    Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you both and sweet Olivia 💖🌺

  8. I cannot express the emotions I have felt while following your journey, just as I can never imagine what you both have gone through. Whitney, my dear, sweet friend, I am so speechless and unbelievably impressed by your eloquence and way with words. As much as you’re going through, I feel like you’ve calmed me – and everyone else who is here out of such complete love. I truly wish for you to find peace. I think of Olivia all the time. I betcha my Daddio is playing her some sweet lullabies… “Somewhere, out there….”

  9. Whitney, as always moving, touching and so real to read your words and to think of the journey you and Luke have been on. So glad you can look back and see the joy along with the pain and still feel only the love.

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