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.