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Brylee earns her wings

Published: Tuesday, May 20 2014 7:25 p.m. MDT

Brylee Olson rests on her father, Cory's, lap at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brylee Olson rests on her father, Cory's, lap at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PRICE — The Olson family returned home from yet another trip to Primary Children's Hospital.

Lara Olson hauled new medical supplies for her 3-year-old into her home.

It was April 18. Olson took the feeding tube supplies to her coat closet that had been transformed into a medical supply cabinet. It had been used to house all of Brylee Olson's chemotherapy supplies since March 6, 2013.

As Lara Olson attempted to squeeze the new equipment into the closet, she quickly realized there was not enough room for both. So into the trashcan the chemotherapy supplies went. Brylee would not need them any more.

"I just sobbed by the trashcan," she said. "It was like our lifeline."

Brylee Olson rests on her mother, Lara's, lap at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brylee Olson rests on her mother, Lara's, lap at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

The chemotherapy supplies were indeed a lifeline of hope for the family — weapons lying in wait to be brandished for each attack on a brain tumor Brylee had at the base of her spinal cord. Doctors diagnosed the tumor — diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG — as inoperable and terminal.

On April 18, Lara Olson made an entry on her blog. She and her husband, Cory Olson, "had to make the hardest decision in our lives. We decided that it would be best to put Brylee on hospice and to let her go."

On Monday night, the 14-month battle finally ended. Brylee passed away at 8:47 p.m. surrounded by her family.

Wednesday would have been her fourth birthday.

"My world is shattered. My heart is ripped out," her mother wrote in a Facebook post as she informed the hundreds following her family's journey that Brylee had died.

Lara and Cory Olson comfort their daughter Brylee at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Lara and Cory Olson comfort their daughter Brylee at their home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"I will always be missing a part of me. She will be forever loved and missed. Fly high, sweet Bree. I love you, baby girl."

A collage with photos of Brylee began circulating shortly after her death.

"Please share this photo. Let mama know we will always remember her precious Brylee."

Lara Olson's Facebook page was quickly flooded with words of comfort, memories of Brylee and offerings of condolences and prayers.

Several people commented that their hearts were broken. Many more commented that Brylee had finally earned her wings.

On April 23, Lara and Cory Olson said they knew the day they would have to say goodbye to Brylee would eventually come. But it was a day they couldn't prepare for, no matter how much time they had.

Brylee Olson holds her mother, Lara's, leg at her home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brylee Olson holds her mother, Lara's, leg at her home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"When we came home from the hospital, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be," Lara Olson said in April. "We’ve had 13 months of knowing that this was coming. But when it's all of a sudden slapped in your face, … you think you're prepared, but you're not."

After Brylee's breathing changed at 3 a.m. Monday, her mother knew it was the beginning of the end. Brylee fought on for nearly 18 more hours.

On Tuesday, the Olsons prepared for the funeral. Lara Olson said she hasn't had a chance to sit down.

"I don't really know what I'm feeling," she said. "Today is just miserable."

Lara Olson said she's angry at cancer. She's angry at DIPG. She's angry Brylee's body wasn't able to fight for two more days and make it to her birthday. Despite her grieving, a few thoughts console the broken heart of a mother.

Brylee Olson plays with stuffed animals at her home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Brylee Olson plays with stuffed animals at her home in Price April 23, 2014. Brylee was diagnosed with an inoperable and terminal brain tumor 14 months ago and has died two days short of her fourth birthday . (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

"I do know that she's not suffering anymore," she said, "that she's running around playing, and she's got her curls back."

A viewing will run from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday and 9-10:30 a.m. Friday at 449 N. 100 E. in Price. The funeral will follow the viewing at 11 a.m. Friday, those in attendance are invited to wear pink.

Fundraising activities scheduled for Brylee and the family will continue as scheduled on May 30 in Layton and May 31 in Price. Donations for the family can also be made on Lara's blog.

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company