ANDOVER, MASS. (WHDH) - The parents of a five-year-old girl who was killed at an Andover crosswalk last month are speaking out about how they are processing their grief and working to honor her memory.
It was four weeks ago when Sidney Mae Olson was crossing the road at the intersection of Main and Elm streets, heading to art class when she was struck in the street.
Speaking to 7NEWS, her parents say they are now hoping to make local streets safer while pushing positivity.
“You just want to give her a hug, you just want to kiss her head, kiss her good night – the small things,” said the child’s mother, Mary Beth Ellis.
For Sidney’s parents, their pain has been unimaginable – something only those who have gone through it can truly understand.
“I wake up multiple times in the night, just sort of hoping it was a bad dream,” said Eric Olson, the 5 year old’s father.
“It’s like a nightmare that, unfortunately, there’s no waking up from,” Mary Beth added.
Through their anguish, sitting in their family room, Sidney’s parents are only beginning to process the heart-wrenching loss of their sparkly-eyed, shining star daughter.
“The bad times just feel completely empty,” Eric said. “The good times, though – I think there is hope, and there’s a real belief that we can continue her spirit, continue to have a relationship with her and live that out in the community.”
Sidney was on her way to art class with her family when tragedy struck in downtown Andover. As police investigated the crash, officials said the driver of the tractor-trailer remained on scene and cooperated with authorities.
Her family recounted the kind of energy and enthusiasm the child had until the very end.
“You feel her energy – I think that the law of thermodynamics says that energy is still here, so, [we] try to feel her around us and – hopefully live in a way she would want us to,” Mary Beth said.
The child’s parents say they are now channeling their shock and sadness into positivity in hopes of creating change through a scholarship in Sidney’s name.
“In the wake of their daughter Sidney Olson’s death this week, the Olson family has established a scholarship fund at Andover-based SHED Children’s Campus to provide a vehicle for those wanting to help the family and the community,” a news release from the family stated. “All donations will be used to fund enrollment to the school’s “curiosity-based” education for those who can’t afford it, including pre-K, kindergarten, and school-aged programs.”
“We know she’s with us – she can never leave us, we have the memories and she shaped us,” her father explained. “We are different than we were before she was born.
“As hard as the awful moments are, doing constructive things that are honoring Sid has been the best part of my day – even the worst days,” Mary Beth told 7NEWS. “If I can do one small thing to honor her and to continue her legacy, it makes me feel just a little better.”
On Thursday, June 8, residents in town will gather at the Doherty Middle School with local and state officials to address both short- and long-term efforts to make the streets safer.
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