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.