Short life, but a long shadow of love

JO MOIR
Last updated 05:00 11/01/2014
Pei Shan Gan farewells her 11-month-old daughter, Olivia Lu
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

THE HARDEST THING: Pei Shan Gan farewells her 11-month-old daughter, Olivia Lu. The Dominion Post was given permission to attend the Kapiti service.

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For such a short life there were many kind words and tears at the funeral of 11-month-old Olivia Lu, who died in a car crash just three days after her first Christmas.

More than 100 family and friends, including representatives from Kapiti District Council, where Olivia's mother Pei Shan Gan had worked for three years, attended the service.

Olivia's father, Bo Lu, and his wife had family attend from Malaysia, and in a gesture of support local motels had offered rooms to out-of-town guests.

Olivia died after her parents' car hit a concrete median barrier and flipped onto its roof on State Highway 1 near Raumati South, where two lanes merge, on December 28.

She and her mother were flown to Wellington Hospital where doctors tried to save Olivia, but she died that night after losing too much blood.

Ms Gan was in a wheelchair at the funeral, after her discharge from hospital on Tuesday.

Her uncle, Tony Gan, said she was doing extremely well considering her injuries but was very much grieving for her young daughter.

"She's got some temporary memory loss and is still getting a lot of headaches," he said.

Yesterday Mr Gan - acting on behalf of the family - spoke of Olivia's "beautiful smile and endless giggling".

"We'll never know why but it's pointless to look for a reason," he said. "Her life may have been short but she touched everyone she knew."

Ms Gan's manager at Kapiti Council, where she worked in the finance team, recalled Olivia's love of the calculator when she visited the council office almost daily.

"She took after her mother with that calculator," Matt McGlinchey said. "She was really clever, you could see the intelligence burning in her eyes."

The entire staff were in disbelief at her death and would always remember her as "an absolute treasure and just adorable".

Kapiti Mayor Ross Church, the chief executive, councillors and other colleagues were all at the service in support of the family.

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- The Dominion Post

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