Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Family, A Mountain, A Moment

This weekend, my husband and I spent a lot of time together, just the two of us, hiking and talking. We visited People's State Forest in Barkhamsted on the Fourth of July, travelling along the Jesse Gerard Trail. We talked about life, about our surroundings, and of course, about our sweet little Peyton. Having nearly reached the top of the mountain, a butterfly, small and white, floated between the two of us, lingering for awhile. I always associate butterflies with Peyton now. We had decorated her steel crib in the hospital with butterflies in a desperate effort to make it feel less cold and clinical; and it has been during some of my lowest moments at Peyton's grave, that these beautiful little creatures have appeared and brought comfort. "Look, it's Peyton." I said to Dru, and we followed as she floated and fluttered before us, up a path and to a beautiful lookout.

The view from atop this rock overlooked the Farmington River, with it's kayakers in brightly colored vessels dancing along the river's bends down below. I wondered how many miles away could be seen from here, and marvelled over the sense of calm that the area below us held from this vantage point. It's amazing how disconnected I have been feeling from that calm these last several months. It was because of the peace in this area that we had decided to settle here, to start our life, to raise a family. My heart welcomed the peace this day. "I can't imagine anything more beautiful than this place?" I said. The view was literally taking my breath away.

I told Dru I felt like Peyton was there with us, that she had offered us this moment, this reprieve to sit among beauty, among each other and be at peace. We thought of her, talked about how we wished she was taking this adventure with us, strapped to our back in a carrier. For a moment, up on that overlook, I imagined how wonderful that would have been. We were not, of course, the first people to discover this lookout, and the remnants of a campfire laid charred in the rock where we stood. I reached into the fire and pulled out a large piece of charcoal, handing it to Dru. "Write her name," I said, "I want a record of her here." We walked the rock finally choosing an area that faced what we thought to be the most beautiful view, and Dru went to work.

As we stood back to admire his handywork, the sun came shining upon us with all of its brightness, allowing us to cast our shadows and love down over her name.

We sat there with her for awhile, breathing her in, before readying ourselves to head back to the trail towards home, looking over our shoulders once more at the name of our lost child on that rock, among so much beauty.

I know in my heart that Peyton had brought us there, to share that place, that moment. I could feel her love and presence all around us. I knew that we had shared this experience, all three of us, as a family.


  1. Yes, she was there with you. Your Peyton. Inscribed on the back of my daughter's butterfly shaped headstone is the quote "the butterfly counts not months but moments..and has time enough"

    There is never enough time though when your child passes away. It's been for years for me and I still feel a sense of brokeness. I promise you, the pain will wane but you will always, always carry your little girl in your heart. Someone once told me they could offer no words of healing, only that they would carry my bucket - a bucket for the tears.
    There are less tears now. Grief is not linear but circular. It feels better then something out of the blue will hit you and leave you sobbing. Writing, releasing the feelings is good. It has always been my vent. I never met you but think of you and your Peyton often...

  2. Just want to say that you two look great :). It makes all the difference in the world to get outside, explore and enjoy. And I love the nature-y tribute to Peyton (am so sure she does as well)!

    It's lovely that you two get to dance with butterflies. Sigh. Not sure if I told you this but after my mom passed on, we got a mockingbird that sung night after night in our yard. And just before my brother passed, there were two mockingbirds in our yard, singing all night long. They sounded (and still sound) beautiful but drove my neighbors absolutely insane-- LOL!

  3. Hey there. This is my first time posting, but I've been following your blog for a few week's now. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story. Peyton is such an inspiration to me and I look forward to meeting her in His Kingdom someday.


  4. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing the story. I loved the pic with the shadow-hands heart. I'm sorry for the loss of your sweet Peyton. She is beautiful. Peace.

  5. My first time here. Peyton is beautiful.

    I'm glad you felt her with you. Love the picture of her name and the hand heart shadow.

  6. This is beautiful. The sun and your shadows are exquisite. My heart breaks for you and your family. What a wonderful little tribute to your beautiful girl. I am new to your blog and will follow your story. Your baby girl was gorgeous!

  7. Beautiful, just like sweet Peyton. I love the heart shadow over her name on the rock. You are so often in my thoughts. xo