So Am I

by Nathan Peterson

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  • I wrote this book during Olivia’s life—it starts from the day she was born and ends the day she passed away.

    This book is not about what happened on the outside (although I did include a journal entry for each month Olivia was alive to help fill in the story). This book is about what was happening inside me during these moments, and a condensing of the lessons I learned about life, living, and letting go from Olivia.

    The theme of this book, as was the theme of our lives during these 14 months, is *rest in the midst of uncertainty*.

    We found out about Olivia’s condition while Heather was pregnant with her. The following months were a blur of doctor visits, sonograms, meetings with specialists and grief counselors, planning for the day Olivia would be born… the day we would say goodbye.

    Everything was planned. I had a picture in my head. They said there would be a person there with a basket—that when we were ready, they would place her in that basket and take her away. I wondered what it would feel like after that. Would we stay at the hospital for a while? How would the drive home feel?

    It turns out that sometimes Trisomy 18 babies do survive birth. Sometimes they even come home for a while. I guess they figured they’d prepare us for the worst. Whatever “worst” is. “Worst” is definitely not synonymous with “most difficult”.

    Olivia came home. The following 14 months were full of the most difficult moments of my life. They were also full of the most beautiful ones. They were full of life.

    Olivia, a baby girl deemed “incompatible with life," brought a full lifetime’s worth of life into these short 14 months.

    Olivia, a baby girl, deemed “incompatible with life," redefined life for me and my wife and family.

    This book is my best attempt at sharing that life with you. And what I couldn’t fit into words, I poured into music.

    As you read the book—as you listen to the music—please let yourself return to where you are. Notice it. And notice that while my story is unique to me, it is also universal—it is your story as well. We all have our own path to walk; we are all on the same journey, somehow.

    THANK YOU for traveling these 14 months with me.

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1.
So Am I 02:23
When it's been far too long and I'm this close to giving up, When the sun doesn't shine; it's far too gone and so am I. When it feels all the time like your best is all behind, You're counting days, you're killing time, you're all but gone, and so am I. But you're still here, you're breathing out, you're breathing in, you're alive. And maybe life is still ahead; it's there for you and so am I. We're still here, we're breathing out, we're breathing in, we're alive. And maybe life is still ahead.
2.
Olivia 04:24
I started writing this the day Olivia was born. I hope it conveys some fraction of the beauty and hope Olivia has brought into our lives. You'll never know the feel of sand between your toes Or laugh for hours till the sun begins to show You'll never climb so high you're scared to let go Or walk a thousand miles with someone that you know You'll never know it, but you did, but you did It's a thousand miles I never will forget... You'll never know the feel of standing in the rain Staring at someone's back who promised he would stay You'll never break the heart of someone that you love Or dance for hours till the sun begins to show You'll never know it, but you did, but you did I will dance with you You'll be beautiful I'll walk you through the night Things are gonna be alright This is life the way it is, but it's real And if it hurts then it hurts till the end Oh, I would do it all again I will carry you You'll be beautiful I'll walk you to the light Things are gonna be alright Things are gonna be alright Olivia.
3.
Time is not running out There is not someone chasing you down You are not gonna drown It's just an inch of water Not enough to make you drown It's just a rope they tied on But it's enough to hold you down You can run, you can fly You have wings, you've always had them You are not gonna die It's just an inch of water Not enough to make you drown It's just a rope they tied on But it's enough to hold you down But it's enough to hold you down Is it enough to hold you down?
4.
Rest In You 04:47
When darkness falls and I can't see When I am blind your hand is over me, it is over me And when I run and when I hide Even there your hand is over me, it is over me And when I fail, when I trip and fall You pick me up, your hand is over me, it is over me And when I'm old and when I die You call me out, your hand is over me, it is over me When the road is long, when all hope is gone In the suffering we will rest in you When the silence stings and it's hard to sing In the suffering we will rest in you I've tried my best to win for so long, so long I've tried my best to win for so long, so long When the silence stings and it's hard to sing In the suffering we will rest in you.

about

I wrote and recorded this album during the 14-month life of our fourth child, Olivia.

credits

released June 23, 2017

Written, performed, recorded, and produced by Nathan Peterson
Mixed by Matt Rausch, Nashville
Mastered by Tom Baker, LA

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Nathan Peterson Peoria, Illinois

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