The Longing Lab

Road safety advocate Eric Olson on learning to reframe the loss of his daughter

April 30, 2024 Amanda McCracken Season 3 Episode 22
Road safety advocate Eric Olson on learning to reframe the loss of his daughter
The Longing Lab
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The Longing Lab
Road safety advocate Eric Olson on learning to reframe the loss of his daughter
Apr 30, 2024 Season 3 Episode 22
Amanda McCracken

Episode 22 On May 9, 2023, five-year-old Sidney Mae Olson was struck and killed by a truck in a cross walk. Her father, Eric Olson, discusses the longing that transpired following her death and what he’s learned about himself, his relationship with his daughter, and the interconnectedness of everything. 

Eric Olson is an advocate for vulnerable road users like his daughter. Eric is President of the Sidney Mae Olson Rainbow Fund, which he co-founded with his wife Mary Beth Ellis to create safer, more livable communities for families. Their work to drive change while navigating grief has been featured in the media and has inspired a growing community known as “Sidney’s Rainbows.” Eric is a long-time software company leader and a dedicated supporter of his wife’s professional triathlon career. He is an avid cyclist, trail runner, and skier living in New England with his wife and 3-year-old son Ellis. #livelikearainbow

Learn more about donating or volunteering at https://www.therainbow.fund/

 In this episode, (in order) we talked about: 

*How he reframed his loss and developed a new relationship with his daughter
*How his relationship with his wife has been shaped by this tragic event 

*The power of EMDR therapy in helping him process the events of the day

*The significance of rainbows in their organization, Sidney’s Rainbows

*Advice for someone with a friend who is grieving the loss of a child

*How the event galvanized their parenting style with Ellis 

*How and why they developed the organization Sidney’s Rainbows

*Statistics highlighting pedestrian deaths caused by traffic


Quotes

“I long for a different kind of relationship with my daughter.”

“There are moments in life that change your perspective with everything. That was it for me.”

“My mind works forward not back. It was less yearning for what we had and more what we hadn’t had yet. You realize you’ve lost the moments that you never get to have. We were a week away from kindergarten orientation."

" There’s the saying, ‘You can never swim in the same river twice’ cause it’s always flowing….I’ve thought a lot about that since. How do we maintain that flow forward and connectivity with Sid in a different way."

"Your mind naturally wants to fix things. You can be taken down with that.  Or if you choose to look it as a lesson—that we control nothing—then you can see it as an opportunity to let go of some of those things. What I can control is my internal world."

“It feels like I’m building a relationship with her where she still surprises me, which she did a lot. One of the things I loved about her was  that she was always wanting to surprise other people and delight them. The morning I left, she left a note and a flower on my desk."

 “She’s not gone, she’s just here in a very different way.”

“Her spirit is part of us. When we make a decision, we are very much consulting with Sid…I talk to her all the time.”

“You don’t have to do anything. You just have to show up. That’s hard for me. I’m such a fixer. A lot of what I do for my job is problem solve all day. In situations like this, I realized, in the past, I was looking for ways to fix it. If I couldn’t fix it, (I thought) I shouldn’t be involved."

“There are 42,000 traffic deaths a year. I think we just think of that as the cost of our transportation system. But if you look at other places around the world, that is not the case."

“Hoping that our story can help drive change to reduce traffic deaths and inspire people to know you can get through more than you think.”

“Notice it. Name it. Feel it. Let it flow.”

Show Notes

Episode 22 On May 9, 2023, five-year-old Sidney Mae Olson was struck and killed by a truck in a cross walk. Her father, Eric Olson, discusses the longing that transpired following her death and what he’s learned about himself, his relationship with his daughter, and the interconnectedness of everything. 

Eric Olson is an advocate for vulnerable road users like his daughter. Eric is President of the Sidney Mae Olson Rainbow Fund, which he co-founded with his wife Mary Beth Ellis to create safer, more livable communities for families. Their work to drive change while navigating grief has been featured in the media and has inspired a growing community known as “Sidney’s Rainbows.” Eric is a long-time software company leader and a dedicated supporter of his wife’s professional triathlon career. He is an avid cyclist, trail runner, and skier living in New England with his wife and 3-year-old son Ellis. #livelikearainbow

Learn more about donating or volunteering at https://www.therainbow.fund/

 In this episode, (in order) we talked about: 

*How he reframed his loss and developed a new relationship with his daughter
*How his relationship with his wife has been shaped by this tragic event 

*The power of EMDR therapy in helping him process the events of the day

*The significance of rainbows in their organization, Sidney’s Rainbows

*Advice for someone with a friend who is grieving the loss of a child

*How the event galvanized their parenting style with Ellis 

*How and why they developed the organization Sidney’s Rainbows

*Statistics highlighting pedestrian deaths caused by traffic


Quotes

“I long for a different kind of relationship with my daughter.”

“There are moments in life that change your perspective with everything. That was it for me.”

“My mind works forward not back. It was less yearning for what we had and more what we hadn’t had yet. You realize you’ve lost the moments that you never get to have. We were a week away from kindergarten orientation."

" There’s the saying, ‘You can never swim in the same river twice’ cause it’s always flowing….I’ve thought a lot about that since. How do we maintain that flow forward and connectivity with Sid in a different way."

"Your mind naturally wants to fix things. You can be taken down with that.  Or if you choose to look it as a lesson—that we control nothing—then you can see it as an opportunity to let go of some of those things. What I can control is my internal world."

“It feels like I’m building a relationship with her where she still surprises me, which she did a lot. One of the things I loved about her was  that she was always wanting to surprise other people and delight them. The morning I left, she left a note and a flower on my desk."

 “She’s not gone, she’s just here in a very different way.”

“Her spirit is part of us. When we make a decision, we are very much consulting with Sid…I talk to her all the time.”

“You don’t have to do anything. You just have to show up. That’s hard for me. I’m such a fixer. A lot of what I do for my job is problem solve all day. In situations like this, I realized, in the past, I was looking for ways to fix it. If I couldn’t fix it, (I thought) I shouldn’t be involved."

“There are 42,000 traffic deaths a year. I think we just think of that as the cost of our transportation system. But if you look at other places around the world, that is not the case."

“Hoping that our story can help drive change to reduce traffic deaths and inspire people to know you can get through more than you think.”

“Notice it. Name it. Feel it. Let it flow.”