The Reality of My Son's Life After Losing His Twin Sister to Brain Cancer


I write often about the struggles that come with being a grieving mother. The loss of my daughter can be all-consuming, especially this time of year, as we rapidly approach the anniversary of Olivia’s death.

But what I don’t talk about very often is the incredible toll the loss of Olivia has taken on her twin brother, Wyatt. People ask me all the time if he even remembers her. If he really understands he has a twin sister.

He does. I know without a shadow of a doubt.

My sweet little blonde-haired, blue-eyed boy has had his heart broken more times than I would ever like to count. He survived premature birth, watching his sister go through cancer treatment, and then losing her at the tender age of 20 months old. He has also had to live through the divorce of his parents and the tremendous amount of disruption that has caused.

And all those losses and changes have been so hard on my oldest boy.

There are times when Wyatt is so angry about all that’s happened he can’t do anything besides fall to his knees, fists clenched, and scream in rage.

Sometimes he throws things.

He yells.

He hits.

He sobs hysterically.

He doesn’t know what to count on.

He questions whether all the people he loves will be taken away one way or another.

These are huge questions a 5-year-old should never have to ponder.

To say it breaks my heart is the understatement of the century.

I have a hard enough time as an adult wrapping my head around why childhood cancer had to enter our family. I have no idea why our walk has been so incredibly hard. I don’t even pretend to have the answers to those questions. But to know my boy is dealing with these same things at his sweet age is enough to bring me to tears daily.

Pediatric cancer doesn’t just affect the child battling cancer or the parents. It also changes the lives of the siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends forever.

You cannot watch a child battle cancer and not have it change you drastically.

But you can do something.

Donate at least $25 to the Olivia Caldwell Foundation before September 30th and be entered into a drawing for 2 tickets to the University of Wyoming vs. New Mexico football game on October 28. Be part of the change. Help save the lives of children battling cancer today and those who will in the future.

Our kids deserve better than this.

The Olivia Caldwell Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit that raises money for pediatric cancer research. To date we have given $155,000 to pediatric cancer research. You can learn more and donate by visiting www.oliviacaldwellfoundation.org.

This post was originally published on the Olivia Caldwell Foundation blog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Related to Childhood Cancer

adult and child hands holding red heart, health care love and family concept

8 Things Child Life Specialists Want You to Know for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Every year, more than 15,000 kids and young adults in the U.S. are diagnosed with cancer, the leading killer of children by disease. This means every day, more than 40 families receive the devastating news. These patients and their families are desperately in need of reassurance, information and guidance to offer support and navigate them [...]
small child's hand in hand of adult parent closeup

These Are the Things You Should Do for a Pediatric Cancer Family

When my daughter was a year-and-a-half, my husband and I found ourselves in a specialist’s office, only to hear the words, “I’m sorry, but she has cancer.” Much like cases of shock are depicted in movies, the sound in my ears immediately went out and my vision got blurry, even before the tears started. I [...]
20 Critical Childhood Cancer Facts

20 Critical Childhood Cancer Facts Everyone Should Know

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to bring attention to the need for funding for pediatric research, and to shine a spotlight on the thousands of children whose families are told “your child has cancer” each year. Although it’s a month-long event, the devastating reality of childhood cancer is something that should be [...]
Kylie jenner feature

Kylie Jenner Uses Her Birthday and Cosmetic Company to Donate to Teen Cancer America

The Kardashian and Jenner family members are notorious for their controversial headline-grabbing news, but Kylie Jenner’s latest announcement is making headlines for an entirely different reason. The beauty mogul announced last week she will be donating $500,000 from her Kylie Cosmetics Limited Edition Birthday Collection Lip Kit sales to Teen Cancer America, a charity devoted to transforming [...]