February 10, 2012 - Oliver's Visitation
Ed and his brothers and dad went to the funeral home early to paint some finishing touches on Oliver's casket. We thought it would be fitting for him as an Iowa Hawkeye fan to be buried in gold and black. They did a great job painting and then adding the Hawkeyes logo on top. The kids also added their hand prints in gold to the side so that they would always be with Oliver.
The visitation was held at Hagarty-Wychoff-Grarup funeral home a few blocks away from our house. Family and close friends were there early to meet and see Oliver first. We also wrote notes to Oliver on something that went on top of Oliver's vault. There was a wonderful guest book, if you will, that was a painting of a tree with many of Ollie's favorite things around it. Each guest would put their thumb print on a branch of the tree in a specified color. One for family, another for friends and other visitors. It turned out amazing! We later took it to the school for all of Oliver's classmates to 'sign'. A few good friends of mine got together and spent several hours making some special posters for people to look at while they waited in line at the viewing. We printed out tons of pictures of Oliver throughout his life. I wanted people to see Oliver's fun and loving personality through photos. He was such a sweet and funny kid!
The funeral home was AMAZING. I really can't say enough good things about them. They were very attentive and caring the whole time. One thing I was nervous about was that Oliver wouldn't look like himself, but to my amazement he looked just like he did. That was a huge comfort to my heart. They did a great job with him and I'm so grateful for that.
My beautiful boy
Many people placed special objects with him. This was from one of his former Braves teammates. He brought the hat as well and wrote "Forever Brave" which was so fitting for Ollie and all that he went through. He was the bravest kid I've ever been around. My brother placed a fishing lure and an arrow with him while my other brother placed a golden snitch from Harry Potter in with him. Little tokens of remembrance for him to keep with him always.
There were many beautiful flowers surrounding Oliver from so many caring people and businesses. THANK YOU to everyone that provided such beauty to look at and be surrounded by. It meant a lot to us.
After Oliver passed away I wanted to make hand prints of Oliver in cement, but it didn't work out. We were surprised to see that Ed's brother and dad made this for us at the funeral home.
There was also an Honor Guard present the entire evening made up of police officers and fire fighters. They wore black ribbons on their badges signifying a fallen officer, as Oliver was an honorary fire fighter and police officer. It took my breath away and brought many tears to my eyes. What an honor for such a special boy. I can't thank the men and women that came to support him enough. THANK YOU...
This is Mike, another fireman that has been wonderful throughout Ollie's journey. Oliver sadly passed away on his birthday, February 16. It was also my cousin Andy's birthday as well. Sad days...
We talked with one of our firemen, Ben, that we've come to love. He works at the fire station closest to our house and they are the ones that come if we ever need an ambulance which we've needed many times, especially for Oliver's asthma.
Talking with some of the sweetest people from Old Chicago in Coralville that threw a fundraiser for Oliver. Just LOVED them so much. It was nice to see that they came.
My mom and brothers. Such a difficult night for them. They loved Ollie so much. He was the first grandchild... the first nephew and he was... and still is so loved.
Ed and me with Ollie. We miss him so much.