Erin Olmsted Story

by Sandy Olmsted -Mom

Today is August 6, 2011. A bouquet of flowers has been delivered to the maternity ward a Palos Hospital. Each new mom, on this day, is to receive a flower with the "remembrance card" I have made and carefully attached with a purple ribbon to the stems...my gift to Erin. I head to the cemetery where I replace the flowers in vases of her headstone, trim the grass and straighten up, as I do this the tears fall, with all the memories of the days and years we had together.

Today would have been Erin's 32nd birthday. Most people acknowledge their children's "special day" with a card or gift...a phone call...dinner or maybe even a party. That is what we SHOULD be doing. Instead, I think about the life we SHOULD be having...what we SHOULD be doing today. We should be celebrating with dinner or a party...with her boyfriend or maybe even a husband. Children? A lot of Erin's friends are married and beginning to have children. My heart breaks each time I think of the children that will never be born. Our old daughter, over the past 14 years, became our youngest child.

I can still see as clearly as if it were yesterday, the look on Erin's face the evening we celebrated her 17th birthday. We were in Arizona on a family vacation. At dinner, we toasted her and sang the traditional Happy Birthday Song. She had a huge smile on her face and said "NEXT year, I'll be 18!" Little did any of us know that we would never celebrate another birthday with Erin. Erin died 5 months short of the birthday, she thought, would mark the beginning of her journey into adulthood. On March 2, 1997, not only was Erin's life cut short and that journey never taken, but I feel that we began a journey of our own -- serving a life sentence for something we had no control over...all because someone ELSE chose to drive drunk.

Life goes on. We've all heard it and we all know it to be true, but unless you've "been there, " you couldn't possibly EVER imagine just how difficutl it is for...just that...life to go on. The challenges that each day brings, the milestone events in our family, everything has a level of sadness that prevents us from being totally happy. Ther eis a hole in our hearts that will never be filled, an emptiness in our leives that can never be restored. 

Life goes on. We've all heard it and we all know it to be true, but unless you've "been there, " you couldn't possibly EVER imagine just how difficult it is for...just that...life to go on. The challenges that each day brings, the milestone events in our family, everything has a level of sadness that prevents us from being totally happy. There is a hole in our hearts that will never be filled, an emptiness in our lives that can never be restored.  

As I leave the cemetery, I kiss Erin's picture, tell her I love her and miss her...and, as the tears fall, silently whisper...Happy Birthday, Honey.