Monday, August 31, 2009

I Am

I am...
in love
an outsider
too young
too old
of a different perspective
missing her
loving her

I am...

~Kristin Binder

Honest Scrap

I've been given the Honest Scrap Award by Karen at Busy Hands, Lachlan's Mum at The Path I'm Walking and Franchesca at Handprints from Heaven. This award is for bloggers who write honestly from their heart, from the depth of their soul. Thank you Karen, Lachlan's Mum and Franchesca for the honor!

There are a couple of rules to accepting the award. Firstly is to pass the award on to 7 other bloggers, and secondly to list 10 honest and hopefully interesting things about yourself. Here are 7 (it felt nearly impossible to narrow it down to just 7) of the many touching blogs, that really resonate with me:

These first six bloggers are also navigating through loss, the seventh often offers a mix of opinion, entertainment and insights. Enjoy!

Lost--For--Words at Momentum

And now for the 10 honest and hopefully interesting (though I cannot make any promises here) things about me...
1)I love to sing (in the shower, in the car, at church, anywhere really) which would be all fine and good if it were not for the fact that I am absolutely and undeniably tone deaf. No really, my husband would tell you my singing is like hearing cat's fight.
2)I always wanted to be a war correspondent reporting from the front lines when I was growing up.
3)I am extremely patriotic, and my family lines can be traced back in America to before the Revolutionary War.
4) I have a tattoo that I have regretted since about four minutes after the ink dried.
5)I met my husband while we were both working at Walt Disney World. We are about the least "Disney" people you will ever meet, which makes the irony of this even stronger.
6)I can move my toes independently, like wave at you with each of them. I think its a skill, Dru thinks its creepy.
7)I was hospitalized my first semester of College with a throat infection that required me to be transported by lifestar and to spend a few weeks in ICU. Silly as it sounds considering the tone of this blog, I had always thought that surviving that meant I was good to go, that I had had my run with shit luck and gotten it out of the way.
8)I have always dreamt of being a writer.
9)I am obsessive about keeping my kitchen counters cleaned and wiped down.
10) I snuck into a speech by former President George Bush my Freshmen year of college, and when the journalism students that had been handpicked to question him were asked to report to the mic, I moseyed on up to him like I belonged and asked away, engaging him in conversation. Everyone enjoyed my little interview, except I would imagine, the poor journalism shlub whose spot I had stolen.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Secret Garden Meeting August

If you created a bedroom for your baby tell us what it was like.
When we first bought our house (a few years before getting pregnant) there was a little room with a lot of sunlight that from the jump we referred to as "the baby's room." There was something really endearing about that room, it was covered in the most godawful floral wallpaper, but we loved its brightness and green rug and it seemed the perfect place (with a little paint of course) to set up for our child. We removed the wallpaper and painted the room a buttercup color, decorating it with a bumble bee theme. We had picked that theme because we decided not to know the sex of our baby (I was sure it was a boy) and thought it could go either way, adding some butterflies to the motif if it was a girl. The furniture we bought was a beautiful mahogany set and I loved those last weeks of pregnancy, sitting in there after carefully washing all of the baby's tiny clothes, and folding and hanging them in that little room.

Did you have it ready for them before they were born?
We put the finishing touches on Peyton's bumble bee room a few days before my due date. Actually, Dru put the finishing touches, I watched from the comfort of my rocking chair because it was end of August and I was huge! It was so sweet to see him hanging the shelves, and artwork, and unpacking all of the diapers and baby care items. Even without her home, that room started smelling like a little baby.

If so how did you cope coming home to it without your baby?
When Peyton was alive, we would run into and out of the nursery to get changes of clothes for her to bring back to the hospital. When she died, we closed the door, and with the exception of a few trips into there to cry, the door has remained closed. It was a perfect nursery. It signified the hope that we had, and the happy changes we anticipated. That little room breaks my heart.

Did you pack it all away?
Peyton's room has never been packed away. There are piles of wrapped presents addressed to her, still sitting unopened, that came after her birth, and bags of things from the hospital including her dirty clothes, that sit untouched. This has been a dilemma for me since day one. Peyton's clothes are essentially toxic because they have chemo on them, so they need to be washed, but doing so will wash away the last remaining minty sweet smell of my child, and I have never been able to bring myself to do it. The truth of the matter is that in the last year of going in circles on this issue, the smell has probably been lost. I hate myself for not having done something to preserve it, like put them in ziploc bags at the time.

What is your baby's room now?
A graveyard of memories and hopes that we had for our little girl. The whole house has a bit of this to be honest, the living room has the posters of photos of Peyton that we displayed at the church when she died, and the dining room still has the hundreds of condolensce cards and the funeral book from her service. Nothing feels right. Putting them away feels wrong. Keeping them out feels wrong. I hate that.

If you are trying to conceive again, or are pregnant again how do you feel about setting up another room before your baby is born?
If we get pregnant again I do not want to use that nursery as the baby's room. That is Peyton's room. I have thought about this alot, and think that I will not set anything up until the baby has been brought home healthy. Actually I will probably not set anything up until that baby has been home for a while. That little yellow bumble bee room is Peyton's room. That will always be her room. I think if we had another child I would put them into the office, and make the nursery my space to write, because I usually write about her and that is the room where I feel her presence the strongest. Seems silly, I know, to feel someone's presence in a room that they never came home to, but I just do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another manifestation of my grief ... AKA - How I have allowed my gardens to go to pot... AKA - Mel's 67th Show & Tell

Yesterday, as I pulled out of my driveway to go visit Peyton's grave, I noticed just how awful and overgrown I've allowed our front garden to get, having neglected it (among many other things) these past several months.

I guess I stopped caring about how things looked at about this time...

This summer has been very rainy and gray, allowing the weeds to sort of take over the entire area. I suppose, with all that has been going on, I just sort of hadn't noticed.

A little bunny came over to check out the garden

and upon seeing its condition, stopped,

turned up its nose at me disapprovingly,

and then hopped away.
I can't say that I blame him. Seeing what our gardens had become made me want to turn and walk away too. I took this as a sign that something needed to be done...

It's not much...

but an improvement nonetheless...

To see what the others are sharing for show and tell, visit here.

Word Filled Wednesday

Monday, August 24, 2009

Perfect Moment

I Capture
Perfect Moments.

As babylost Mommas on the road through child loss, it is so easy to miss the good moments as they are happening, because our bodies and minds are busy at work dealing with our grief. That is why I like the idea of this meme, it forces me to focus on something good from the day.

Today my perfect moment happened when I came down to the kitchen to find my husband Dru making the most delicious dinner. Usually his idea of a meal is Ramen noodles with a side of mac and cheese, but tonight he treated me to a grilled sea bass filet, brown and wild rice pilaf, and fresh corn on the cob. For dessert he gave me an oreo stuffed with cookies and cream ice cream. It was heaven.

Be sure to see what others are saying here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

August 23rd


Today was your due date, a date that, while it did not mark your birth, is one that I will always associate with you. I repeated this date over and over during the months that I carried you, to friends, family and strangers alike. They would ask, "when are you due?" and I would smile and tell them this date and inevitably there was always some small talk about timing and the fact that I was having you at the very end of the summer.

A year ago, life was still "normal". We waited in hopeful anticipation of your arrival, and looked forward to counting your fingers and toes. We sat up at night debating your sex, what names to choose (you were nearly a Finnian or Scarlet), and it was this week last year that we finally set up your nursery. We never could have imagined, a year later, that this house would still only be home to the two of us, or that the room that signified so much hope and happiness, would become a neglected reminder of all that we have lost with you. It is so hard baby girl, knowing what never can be with you. We had hoped for so much for you, you deserved so much more than this world and life offered. None of this will ever make sense to me.

Today Daddy and I spent the day with you on our minds. We went to church, and I tried my best to think of your life and doing something to honor it, rather than flashing back to images of your funeral in that very place. After church Daddy and I came home for a bit, then went to get our hair cut. Our friend was doing a cut-a-thon for charity, and I took this as the boost I needed to take care of my neglected appearance. This was my first hair cut since a few weeks prior to your birth. I think of that, and realize just how backwards my priorities were then. I went to the salon to get my hair cut so that I would look nice in the pictures of us together. The idea of that happy moment not arriving never even crossed my mind. I took for granted that you would be born healthy, that I would have you in my arms in those pictures, and the moment would be a beautiful one full of smiles. I feel so foolish when I think of that now, of how I could have wasted any energy at all on my appearance, when I should have been focusing on every second you were with me. Forgive me baby girl, I had no idea how little time we would have together.

After our haircut we went to visit you at the cemetery. Could you feel us there? There are some days that I swear, I feel so connected to you. Today I hoped for that feeling on our visit, but it didn't come. I miss you so very much, and losing that feeling of connection hurts more than I can write here.

So much has changed since we expected your arrival, so many of the people we love most are welcoming more children into their lives, and we sit still. It is in realizing the changes in the lives of others that the reality of this last year hits, of the way the world still turns even when it feels like it stopped when you left.

These next two weeks leading up to your birthday are the last two weeks where I can say "at this time last year, life was normal." I don't know what these upcoming dates are going to bring for us emotionally, just that it's time for me to realize that there is no more "normal." That life. That innocense. They're never coming back. There is no more "normal" to return to, only life after losing you. Please baby girl, help us to find peace with the loss of what once was, and to find hope in what still may be.

Missing you today and always,


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Messages & Signs Mel's 66th Show & Tell

Since Peyton's passing there have been a few little, we will call them "incidents", where I thought that she was sending me some sort of a sign; a gust of wind during a visit to her grave after posing a very important question; walking into my bedroom to find a flashlight flashing across her picture; a light in our dining room hutch (an area of the house that has been ignored) being switched on and illuminating her box of things from the hospital - her handprints, a lock of her hair, etc. I have never really believed in 'ghost stories' per say, but you pepper in a few of these incidences after losing someone so close, and you begin to wonder. I imagine that by the end of this post you might wonder too.

This past week has been hard for me (and, yes, I do know how much of a broken record that makes me sound like) but it has. I have felt panicked and anxious about all of the dates of importance that seem to be running together. This Sunday was the date that she was originally due to arrive, so it is a date that I will always associate with her. September 4th is her birthday (I went two weeks overdue in the end of the summer. This was a fact that I had planned on reminding her of many many times during her life.) And then, of course, there is October 2nd, the day that we conceded to the Cancer and said our goodbyes. I'm very bitter towards Cancer now, and especially the way that when you lose your child to it, every conceivable Cancer organization bombards your mailbox with solicitations. Don't get me wrong, of course I want there to be a cure for Peyton's Cancer, and I give to just about everyone that asks, but it's still hard to have it in your face when you are grieving. I can only liken it to having someone mail you the mug shot of your child's killer. So like I said, I am bitter towards Cancer, but in an effort to avoid going completely off topic, as I do from time to time, I will save my feelings on that for another post.

Now, back to my showing and telling. When I am really low, really really low, my friend Chrissi is the one that usually gets the call. I tend to isolate myself alot these days, not wanting to burden anyone with my grief, so to be pushed to the point of dialing means its a really shitty day. I couldn't call Chrissi last week, she was on vacation in Rhode Island, and I missed her. As soon as she returned, she called me to see how my week had gone, and to tell me that she "had to tell me the cutest story ever!"

What follows here is the story she shared with me, the arc to this post, and I promise, the area where I will do the actual showing.

Chrissi said that she had gone to the beach every day, always hanging out in the same area. She told me that they had chosen that particular area of the beach because there was never anyone walking through and disturbing them, and they were left pretty much to enjoy the beach on their own. On one of the last days of her vacation, they set up in their usual spot, and started to enjoy their day by the ocean. Laying on her back, looking up at the sky, she heard her friend Megan saying "Oh my God Chrissi look!" "What?" Chrissi asked, tilting her head back. She saw a little leather bracelet sitting perched atop the sand and sort of brushed it off with a "yeah, it's a bracelet, so what?" "Look at what it says Chrissi," Megan said pointing, and in realizing what the bracelet said, Chrissi burst into tears. This photo below is of the bracelet that Chrissi found perched right behind her.

And here is where Chrissi tried to recreate the photo that we took here.

So this brings me back to my belief that sometimes Peyton sends funny little signs and messages when she feels they are really needed. This one has me even more convinced (as crazy as that makes me sound) because I can honestly say that I have never in my life randomly come across anything that said Peyton on it. If her name was more common, maybe I would chock it up to coincidence, but it's not, so I will just go on believing that this was Peyton sending a message that she knew her Mommy & Daddy needed to get through the hurt that these dates of her birthday and angelversary bring... a message of peace.

To see what others are sharing today go here.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I have fallen out of love with Fall

Fall has always been my favorite season. In the past, any hints at Autumn's approach: talk of pre-season football, the return of school buses, a few red leaves on the trees, would each bring a smile to my face and a flurry of excitement to my heart with the promise of visits to pumpkin patches, apple picking, and refreshingly cool days.

I had so many plans for us baby girl. I created so many images in my mind during the pregnancy of what last year, our first Fall as a family, was going to be like. I imagined us walking the paths along the river beneath arbors of changing leaves, and dressing you in the pumpkin costume that still hangs in your closet for your first Halloween. I imagined how wonderfully thankful Daddy and I would feel at Thanksgiving, to be home with our child, starting our new family life together.

You were due August 23rd.
You were born September 4th.
You died October 2nd.

Fall is fast approaching, and instead of flurried excitement, I am feeling so incredibly overwhelmed by these looming dates. At night I wake to panic about how quickly the time since we last held you is passing, and the fact that your gravestone hasn't yet been finished. I hate the fact that three seasons have passed without you, and I still feel unable to get over how surreal it can all feel. I feel trapped on pause, like groundhog's day, playing out the same day over and over.

I miss the simplicity of life before losing you. I miss the excitement that Fall used to bring. I miss all of the dreams that I had for you, and what it was like to expect you would be here. I miss you Peyton.

Fall will never be the same.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Yet another hurdle. Mel's 65th show and tell

Let me start by saying that I have a really bad tendency to write utterly appropriate Show and Tell posts on the wrong day, usually a Monday, which is what happened yet again this week here. Lots of showing, lots of telling, wrong day. Oh well.

So in an effort to come up with another sharing post for today, I have decided to show and tell about my pregnancies, past and future.

In the months since Peyton's death many people have offered their opinions about what a future pregnancy would mean to/for me, and I have realized that most of these words, while offered out of love and concern, are somewhat based in misconception about what it is that I find so scary about trying again. I wish it was as simple as lightning doesn't strike twice, but seeing as I have been pregnant twice, and I have no living children, my faith in that belief system is pretty much shot to hell.

When Dru and I decided to start a family, we got pregnant (to both of our surprise) with very little effort. Believe me when I say that this blessing was not taken for granted. I never expected an easy road to motherhood. As a teen I was hospitalized for ovarian cysts, and told by doctors that childbearing would most likely be difficult. Not impossible, just difficult. This came as no big surprise to me, both my mother and sister endured long struggles of their own to have children, and I sort of accepted it as one of those things that runs in the family, like heart disease or slow metabolisms. Learning I was pregnant brought utter elation, and I couldn't wait to share the news of my pregnancy with Dru. We had decided to start trying, fully expecting it would take several months to years, and celebrated and cried and laughed about how completely unprepared we were for it to have happened so quickly. Sitting in my living room, watching my husband's eyes well with this news remains in my heart as one of the most beautiful moments we have ever shared in our married life, the beauty of it making it that much more painful for me, just a short while later, to tell him that I was bleeding, that it wouldn't stop, and that on September 11th, 2007, a day that already held so much emotional charge, my miscarriage had been confirmed.

On Christmas Eve, I found out I was pregnant again. The news of this, our second pregnancy came with more apprehension. It was sad, to lose that naive excitement that we had with the first pregnancy. We were happy of course, but also scared. Scared to feel the pain and disappointment of miscarriage again. We had lost our innocence in the arena of getting pregnant and had learned that this was a prospect that could bring pain. Cautiously optimistic, we forged ahead and hoped for the best, reminding ourselves repeatedly that lightning wouldn't strike us twice. I rarely talk about the miscarriage, about the affect it had on me and my feelings, of all things, of self worth. In my heart, as that first baby's mother, I had failed to carry him/her, to bring my child safely into this world. The lack of answers from the doctors didn't help to ease these feelings any.

So this brings me back to people and why they think I haven't yet tried again. Some think it is a fear of an unsuccessful pregnancy/miscarriage. Ironically, it is not at all. That fear left with Peyton. I carried her not only to term, but two weeks beyond. To say that I loved being pregnant is so inadequate, it was in reality the happiest time of my life. It's true, I was once a very happy person. Smiling, upbeat, nauseatingly optimistic in my expectations. I even have the pictures to prove it.

I am at the point now, having lost faith in most things through this, where I need to be shown that something is possible, not told. The experience of carrying Peyton to term showed me that I could carry a baby to term, and therefore I can now believe it. I know the joy of pregnancy is possible. I know that my body can tolerate a growing child. I know that I can maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat well and exercise. I know these things, so they no longer cause me fear. What I don't know is whether I can create a child that upon entering this world, will not be condemned to die.

Infant Leukemia laughs in the face of my grief and taunts me with its rarity, playing on my feelings of inadequecy for once again failing to bring a healthy child into the world; feelings that come when there are no other explanations. I have no answers. My child is dead and I have no answers. There were absolutely no indications when I was carrying Peyton that anything was wrong. No signs. No symptoms. Nothing. What's even more frustrating is living in a world where modern medicine can do the impossible; clone sheep, change one's gender, transplant the organs of animals into humans; and yet cannot offer a single test to determine whether or not my next child too, will be taken from me by this awful disease. How can I try again if I don't know when to stop worrying that Leukemia will take another child from me? When can I rule it out? At birth? After infancy? Puberty? Unfortunately no expert can give me an answer, just some bullshit about the probabilities of lightning striking twice.

I wish the prospect of trying again was as simple as the judgments others have placed on me
"Have another, you'll feel better."
"And what if I have to bury that one too?"
"What are the odds of it happening again?"
"About the same as they were the first time."
"Why aren't you trying?"
"The grief has made trying impossible at the moment."

All along I have hoped that we wouldn't have to try again, in terms of actually trying. I know how I feel. I know how terrified I am of losing another child, or breaking to the point of no return. I know that my fears can keep me from ever taking that leap of faith. I prayed that when the time came, God would help me out by making that decision for me. Oh how welcome an "oops" moment would be. I want a healthy family. I want to move past this pain, to say "okay, it has happened and I am going to do my best to put my fears aside and make this baby healthy." This was my hope, to leave this decision to God and nature, but even this has become too much to ask for. In yet another smack in the face, my grief over the child I have lost has made the prospect of easily getting pregnant improbable. I haven't talked about this here before, but an apparent side effect of watching your baby die, is having your remaining eggs retreat in fear of meeting a similar fate. I don't know that I would want to take the risk either if I were my eggs. My track record of 0 healthy children for 2 pregnancies is not very encouraging. Somewhere between my anger and bitterness at this new development, the situation is almost laughable. Here Krissy, how about some secondary IF after the death of your only child? Really?

My doctor has started me on hormones to try to get my body back on track, not because we are trying, but because I can't let this go. She says its not time to worry... yet, which is good because I think I have enough on my plate in that department. I was going to take pictures of the hormones for show and tell, but figured you would find very little interest in seeing a photo of little white pills. These hormones have made me even more of an emotional mess these past few weeks, as I am sure my husband would attest to, and will give me some indication by this weekend as to whether or not I am jumping over this hurdle, or standing at the doorstep of another uphill battle towards motherhood. Either way, I think I need a new lightning rod.

See what the others are sharing for this week's show and tell here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Not much has changed.

Today I was looking through some things and came across this bit of writing that I did last December. What struck me in reading it, is how little has changed in terms of my healing from this grief since writing it. Nearly ten months have passed since I put these words on paper, and yet it is as if I had written them this morning. When Peyton was born we were told that there was some chance that she would make it, and I believed the doctors and pictured what life would be like once we had put Cancer behind us. After her passing, the same doctors told us that there had never really been any chance of her becoming well. Sometimes I think of grief much in the same way, and wonder if, even after time and talking and writing; if even despite my best efforts to put this pain behind me, I will realize that healing from the pain of losing my baby girl has never really been a possibility.

When I Look At Her Pictures - Written 12/5/08

When I look at her pictures, my heart leaps and then sinks. I miss her immensely, and remember each moment. I stare and I cry and I question whether there is any justice in a world that allows a baby to suffer so and be taken from her mother and father. I wonder how it will be possible to move on from the loss of this little girl when she is such a huge part of me, when I am always missing her, when I am so in love with her.

When I look at her pictures, they hit me with a flash. Each a memory, an image, a moment in time that I didn’t hold onto nearly long enough. Snapshots of a life too brief devastate me and the tears come quickly, the sadness lingers on my heavy mind. This is my child, who for nine and half months I carried, who was conceived out of love and hope and joy. This is my child who I planned an entire future around.

When I look at her pictures I have never before felt so much pride. This perfect beautiful baby girl, she is my daughter, my little baby. I am proud of her strength, of her will, of her unguarded love. I am proud of the way she looks back at me with eyes sparkling, a knowing smile, her stare entering directly into my soul. I am overwhelmed by the bittersweet reality that she was here, was mine, this beautiful little angel was mine, and now she is gone.

When I look at her pictures, I think of all that could have been, that should have been, that would have defined her. I think of the love who will go unknowingly a whole life without the fullness of having Peyton in his heart, the friends who will never benefit from her love and comfort the way her daddy and I did, the children that are never to be born of her. I think of all the generations that are lost in her death. Her children, and children’s children, and children’s children’s children. I think of so many lives that will now go unlived, because she was the key, their existence impossible now that she is gone.

When I look at her pictures I think of all of my foolish assumptions, how I took her being born healthy for granted, how I believed that it was ok to make plans. I think of all the times people would ask whether I wanted a boy or girl, how I would repeat back the same rehearsed answer I myself had heard a million times, that I didn’t care as long as the baby was healthy, and I didn’t. I run through each moment wondering what I missed, searching my memory for an answer, a sign, a symptom, anything to indicate that things were going so terribly wrong; could this have been prevented?

When I look at her pictures I miss her. I sit with empty arms, not holding her, not rocking her, not breathing her in. I sit here so lonely, staring endlessly at a monitor that beams her image back at me wondering if I ever fully appreciated what I had with her when she was here. I hate myself for all of the many moments of her short life wasted with grief and worry, and loathe others for the many more moments robbed by interruptions and illness and procedures. Oh my little Peyton, what I wouldn’t give to go back, to enjoy you more, to surround you with joy.

When I look at her pictures the reality hits me. I wait and I watch and I wonder knowing we will never again be together in this life; that these things have happened, that they can’t be taken back or done over. When I look at her pictures I let the dark clouds of grief break for a moment because I know the time will come, not in this life but in the next, when I will once again experience the fullness of mothering her, when I will once again hold her in my arms.

Friday, August 7, 2009


What was it like to feel like that;
to smile like that;
in a way that was not forced
or masking a great pain?
My eyes scan the glossy photos,
desperately searching for something familiar.
Who was this girl with the content expression,
did she sense nothing of the road ahead?
Something in me wants to scream at her
for being so gullible,
for expecting so much,
for not knowing this could happen.
I can hardly look at her,
feeling disgusted,
or envious,
or both.
Something in me wants to shake her,
to warn her,
to help her prepare.
I wish I could save her
from the grief that will gray her blue eyes,
and the worry and pain
that will bring wrinkles in her twenties,
and a dullness to her face.
It was only ten months ago,
how could she look so young,
so happy,
so carefree?
I wonder what it would take,
for that expression to return,
but know that the pain of this loss has made that impossible.
That expression,
that feeling,
is reserved for the innocent.
This girl who looks back at me from the photo,
this former me,
this wellspring of naive anticipation,
is now a stranger.
~Kristin Binder

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mel's Show and Tell #64 Kindness

This week, for show and tell, I am focusing on kindness.

Losing Peyton has been the most painful and difficult experience of my life. There are days that are searing and unrelenting in their hurt, and this week proved to be an exceptionally difficult one for me. I don't know why this week was so tough, but then again I have found that there is little rhyme or reason behind most of my bad days. That said, in the darkness that was this terrible week, I found sunshine in three beautiful acts of kindness; acts that touched my heart in their utter selflessness. This post, I am going to focus on the beauty of those acts, rather than the pain of this week.

The first was the act of having Peyton's name memorialized by To Write Their Names In The Sand, with this beautiful photo taken by Carly. Though it is rare for me to be at a loss for words, it seems impossible to sum up the feeling that entered my heart at the sight of this photo, and the knowledge that a stranger honored my child's life in such a beautiful way. Below is the photo of Peyton's name inscribed in the Australian sand, as well as the message that we left for her there. Carly, you are truly an angel on earth. Your ministry serves so many and your selflessness humbles me.

To our sweet little Peyton Elizabeth.

At less than six pounds, you fought with the heart and determination of a prize fighter. Do you know how very proud of you we are? We miss you all the time but know it is your embrace that we feel in the warmth of the sun, your voice that we hear whispering in the breeze, and your spirit floating by in the butterflies that cross our path. Not a day goes by that we aren't missing you Peyton.

We love you so much baby girl and know we will hold you again someday. Love, Mommy and Daddy

The second act that moved me this week, was that of a fellow babylost momma, Dina, who lost her beautiful daughter Dylan Rose to SIDS . Dina, who honors sweet Dylan, and raises SIDS awareness here, remembered my Peyton, by having her name registered for this year's Compassionate Friends Walk to Remember memorial. Dina's sweet baby was taken only a few months ago. I remember what those first months were like, how hard it was to think of anything or anyone else but the pain that I was in. I am amazed at Dina's heart, and thoughtfullness in remembering my child, when the loss of her own is so incredibly raw.

The third act was actually from my Dad, a hidden treasure of love and understanding left for me to find when I needed it most. As I said earlier, this week has been a hard one for me, and just when I felt at my lowest and alone, I stumbled upon this note from my father, a note that reminded me that even in the darkest depths of this grief, the hand of my family has always been within close reach. I am blessed by their love and support.

Dear Krissy,
It's 3:30 in the morning and like you dear daughter the night is not always a friend....cluttered with restless thoughts that don't pass. Tonight I dwell of our visit to Peyton's grave yesterday and what might have been. I've this image of looking down on you as your lovingly plant a new bed of flowers for Peyton careful to arrange it perfectly wanting only the best for her. You and Dru are in my thoughts always and now I will go back to bed and pray for the happier days I know will come. You have no idea how much I love you and how proud and blessed I feel to be your father.
Love with three hand squeezes

Lastly, I need to mention you, the readers of this blog, and what you have meant to me. I know that most of you are on your own journey through loss, and your ability to help a stranger when you have so much of your own pain is unbelievable. Your messages have meant more than you know. Grieving a child is a long and dark road, one which can feel incredibly isolating. There is no greater comfort than knowing that while this is not the path that I would have chosen, you have not left me to walk it alone.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Piano, A Pew, Me and You

How do I see or imagine my baby now that I do not have her with me?
With her help.
How fitting that this question should come up after having just written this letter.

My Sweet Little Peyton,

Today in church, after receiving the Eucharist, I felt your presence with me so strongly when the other parishioners went up for Communion. The church was filled with the sounds of piano music drifting down from the choir loft. The melody was so dramatic. So moving. Could you hear it too? Were you there? I could see things so clearly, my imagination was so crisp. I felt myself drift off into my thoughts of you, and this "dream" that I was experiencing.

At first I saw you, at maybe five years old. You had on a white dress and your hair was long and brown and clipped up at the sides. There were no tubes. There was no Leukemia. Just a mother and her daughter and their love. You ran with me and we played and laughed and smiled, and though I have never been able to imagine what you would have looked like, today I could see your every feature perfectly. You were just beautiful. I lifted you up in the air and listened as you giggled and called my name. My heart was bursting.

I watched you grow and live and thrive. I saw it all Peyton, your life with me and Daddy. You brought us such happiness. I helped you prepare to be a bride; you beamed with the most beautiful smile across your face. You married a man that made you feel the way Daddy makes me feel, and everything felt at peace and right.

My mind followed our family through the years. I saw myself as a Grandmother. Oh Baby Girl, you were amazing. You had children of your own and you showed them such love and care. You brought so much joy into life for your Daddy and me.

Peyton, it was such a beautiful dream, even if that's all it was. I could see you, feel you, smell you. I saw it all, your life as it should have been; no Cancer, no loss; just your beautiful spirit giving and receiving love, and living out a full life. I felt your presence so close to me in that church pew today, felt such joy in my heart at the thought of you. I know that this experience today was your gift to me; a reprieve. I know you were there with me lifting my soul out of the darkness, even if just for a short while; relieving me of this heavy weight of grief. I know this was you showing me your love. I love you too Baby Girl, more than words can say.


A Question, No Answer

"Do you have any children?"

I hate this question and even more so, my inablility to answer it.
Maybe I had been naive to it, or just hadn't noticed the weight that these words could hold. Maybe they had elicited different feelings in the past, bringing images of the happy future that I assumed would be. Maybe it is simply because I could never have imagined a situation where in trying to say the right thing, everything would feel so wrong. Whatever the reason, this question, in all of its cruel irony, seems to surround me now.

I know that my reaction is unnatural, that those who ask me expect smiles, maybe some light bragging, or the passing of a few pictures. I know that when I go to answer, their faces change, and they look around awkwardly for something appropriate to say, or an escape from the conversation. How did I end up here, unable to answer this simple question? This was never supposed to happen.

I hate this unforgiving limbo of having carried a child, birthed a child, loved a child, nursed a child, held a child, and yet, having to feel like an outsider in the realm of motherhood. Is it okay to say that I have a child, if my only child is no longer alive?

I wish there was an easier way to talk about Peyton, to talk about my daughter, to talk about the child that so few actually met and no one else will ever meet. Why don't people ask if I have had any children, that would be easier to explain. "Yes I have had one. No she is not here anymore."

Why can't I answer without stuttering? Why can't I answer without wondering if I am doing Peyton justice, or honoring her appropriately? Why can't I answer in a way that feels right?

Do I have any children? If only it were that cut and dry. If only life had been that easy.