I have been trying not to focus on what happened at this time last year. I did it for the first few days, and to be honest it just nauseated me.
At this time last year... we started chemo on our not even six pound child and watched her swell over night to eight and a half pounds.
At this time last year... I discovered a bump near her eye. A bump I was assured was nothing more than a tear duct. A bump that I was told I was overreacting to because I was "looking for things." A bump that as it turned out was a fungal infection invading my child's face and ultimately caused her death.
At this time last year... we were walking blindly into the worst few weeks of our lives. Weeks that came with surgeries on our child, countless transfusions, constant worry, the news of a tumor in her brain the size of a plum.
You see what I mean? It is hard not to go there, to the the terror of this time last year. So, in an effort to not dwell only on that, I have decided to try (see how honest I am being here... to try) to focus instead on feeling Peyton's spirit with us.
Each evening spanning the time between the moment Peyton came into our lives, and that which she left it (in the physical sense), we have been lighting a candle in our baby's honor. It is on the mantle in our living room, where we spend most of our time, and watching it glow among her picture and a few mementos that mean so much to us, brings me a sense of calm and peace. There is a warmth to the candle, to the white flame that flickers across her picture. Having that light, that warmth, that animation against the stillness of her photo makes me feel like Peyton's soul is here with us, and in feeling her presence in that little light, comes a reprieve from the dark shadows of guilt, questioning and anger. With that candle lit, our house feels a little less empty of our child.
Today, for show and tell, I am sharing with you Peyton's candle, and the significance of those things that we have chosen to put around it.
Right below her picture I keep a rose from her funeral spray.
This beautiful "P" was a gift from one of her Grandma's and brought to her grave for Peyton's first birthday. My husband and I loved it so much, and didn't want the cruel Northeast weather to ruin it, so we brought it home to display near her instead.
Peyton's picture is surrounded by my collection of Willow Tree figurines. These have all been given to us at various times. The one in the back left was a gift given to me by a friend when we first got engaged called "Promise". The one in the back right means so much to me, it was a gift given to us right before Peyton was born, by friends who have blessed us with unrelenting friendship over the course of this impossible year. It is called "Our Gift." One of the little angels, the first one on the right, is from my father. He gave it to me in the early days after Peyton died. It is called "Angel of Remembrance." Ironically he picked it out for me without realizing I even had a collection of them. There is another angel, on the right in front called "Angel of Miracles." This gift was brought to my house for Peyton while she was in the hospital by a friend I have known all my life. It is the only gift, among the stacks of many unwrapped boxes in Peyton's room, that I have been able to bring myself to remove from her nursery. I am sure I am forgetting to mention where some others came from but you get it... Peyton is surrounded by the love of our amazing friends and family.
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