Thursday, October 1, 2009

Grief. Hope. Thanks. - One Year Without Peyton

At this time last year... this is it. This is the last time I can say this when referring to Peyton's life. Tomorrow marks one year since this beautiful little girl, wrapped in the arms of her mother, stroked on the forehead by her father, and held in the gaze of her loving grandparents, took her final breath and left this world. Tomorrow night I will think about how at this time last year, at around 5:00 pm, Peyton Elizabeth left her body, the body that had brought her so much pain and suffering, and took flight. I like to think of it that way, that Peyton fluttered out of that room, leaving the heaviness of the air in it, the sobbing cries of her parents and grandparents, the averted eyes of the caregivers, all behind. I like to think that Peyton went somewhere beautiful and free and began her new journey.

In this past year I have felt Peyton's presence so many places. The flashing of our flashlight. In the shapes of clouds above her grave or the skies outside a plane window. In a "p" that seemed to appear in soap on the shower wall. In the fluttering of butterflies and the breaking of sun through a gray cloudy day. For the last year I have felt her with me at my lowest times, her soul just barely out of reach, and in feeling her there, felt hope. Hope that life would once again hold joy and peace for me. Hope that maybe this wasn't it for my child. Hope that she made it to a better place, and is at peace with what happened to her, and knows how very, very  much her Mommy and Daddy miss her. Hope that the final breath, the one she struggled to draw to stay with us, did not mark the end of my child. Hope that somewhere, somehow, in a way that I am too insignificant to understand, Peyton goes on.

When I think of this past year, I can't help but be reminded of the famous poem Footprints. We all have our own Gods, our own beliefs, our own ideologies, but in looking back on this past year, on the very darkest of hours and those that felt too crushing to overcome, it was in those moments that I felt Peyton's presence come through for me the strongest, reaching out her little hand to say, "Mommy, I'm here with you. It's going to be okay. I'm okay." I could focus today on the hurt, the injustice, the anger at a life cut cruelly short, but instead today I choose to honor this, her last day of life, by remembering and feeling grateful for the many acts of love that Peyton has bestowed upon me as her mother.

I miss you baby girl. There will never be a moment in my life when your absence is not felt. There will never be a memory made, that would not have been better with you in it. Thank you for staying with me those forty two weeks, for working so hard to thrive inside of me and never letting on how sick you were. I was blessed to have that time with you, that blissfully hopeful and naive time. Regardless of the outcome, I am so grateful for it. It was the happiest of my life.
Thank you for never letting on to the pain you were in. You were so strong and brave, letting Mommy and Daddy hug and cuddle and snuggle with you through your chemo and transfusions and operations. In my life, I have never received such unguarded and selfless love, as I did from you, my child. I needed to mother you. I needed to have time with you. I am so very grateful for each second of strength that you mustered to stay with me. I will never understand the how's and why's of this, but will forever be grateful that while you were here you allowed me to love you, to nurse you, to hold you skin to skin, and to bond with you. Thank you for leaving such an incredibly deep imprint in my soul. You changed me Peyton. You changed how I view everything. To be your mother, to watch you and learn from you and your strength leaves me grateful beyond words. You, my sweet child, you were the strongest person I have ever known. Thank you for sacrificing through pain to grace me with your presence for twenty eight days.  Thank you for your big personality. For your many, many expressions for me to draw upon when I want to see you in my mind. Thank you for the ways you looked at me, and for the incredible amounts of comfort you brought Daddy and me, when your appearance reassured us after receiving bad news from the doctors. Thank you for the hours on end, especially that last night of your life, when you gazed directly into my eyes. This, my child, was such a gift.
Thank you for not leaving me that day. For staying in my heart, on my mind, in my memories. Thank you for the comfort I feel in my visits to your grave, and the little special ways you show me you have never left me. Thank you for showing me what it means to truly, deeply, love. For watching over your Daddy and me and keeping us together when so many couples pull apart in grief. I am trying to push aside my anger, the trauma, my sadness and simply focus on the lessons your life has taught me - to show people how much we love them, to not take things for granted. Thank you for your patience with me, especially during the moments when I have not exhibited the same selfless grace that you did.
Most especially, my sweet child, thank you for helping me survive losing you. It has been a year without you, and I am still here. Thank you for surrounding me with the love and support of an amazing family. Thank you for affecting them in such a way that they understand my grief, my need to remember, and all that has been lost with you. Thank you for bringing such amazing friends to my side. Your short little life has meant so much to so many and rekindled lost relationships and brought great friends even closer. Thank you for giving me a voice to write as an outlet, for showing me a way to the blogs and helping me find people to connect with who truly understand. Thank you for reminding me that as isolating as child loss feels, I have never been left alone.
Thank you my Peyton, my daughter, my sweet child. You've helped me survive. You've gotten me through. I love you always.

Thank you.

32 comments:

  1. Beautiful and heartbreaking. :( I am sad with you, I am remembering Peyton with you.

    Many MANY *hugs*...today, tomorrow and in the days that follow.

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  2. Wow, what an incredible post. Thank YOU for writing it.
    Remembering Peyton with you, with so much love.

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  3. Your post made me weep. She is so beautiful and I am so sorry she is not here with you, nestled in your arms and in your love. I can't believe how we as parents survive the loss of our children. It's the worst pain I've ever felt, and the emptiness left behind is indescribable. I'm so glad you've taken some comfort in the signs Peyton has left you. I believe that our angels leave us little whispers of hope to tell us that they are indeed safe and in a better, more beautiful place than we could ever imagine. I also believe that they feel every ounce of love we have for them, that they know how much they are loved and missed and that they wait for us to give back all the love we've been holding for them. Thinking of your beautiful girl on her angelversary. Sending you hugs....

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  4. I'm crying as I write this, your writing really touched me. Especially the image of Peyton flying away, leaving her body behind. I'm just lost for words. I'm thinking of you and Peyton, and remembering her with you.

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  5. I know Peyton must be so proud of her mommy as she watches you. This is so beautiful. You are so right, they have taught us so much. "Thank you" is so fitting, and a lovely way to remember her on this day. Thinking about you and praying for you.

    XX

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  6. Beautiful words to your daughter. I wish you could have had her longer. I am so sorry. You are in my prayers and she is in God's arms.
    Take care and God Bless.

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  7. Thinking of you and Peyton and feeling the warmth of her spirit as it has touched you.

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  8. ...That letter to your daughter...beautiful. I am in tears. Thinking of you especially tommorow.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. For sharing your beautiful little girl with us.
    We will be thinking of you both tomorrow---
    Warm hugs and positive energy and peace your way-

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  10. Beautiful words. Praying for you always.

    ((hugs))

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  11. Remembering Peyton with you. Crying with you. Celebrating with you.

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  12. Remembering you, your family, and your beautiful little girl...

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  13. I am really at a loss for words. Thank you for visiting my page, and for sharing your story here. Hugs to you.

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  14. This is so beautiful. I can't write anything that would do your words justice.
    I feel certain that Peyton knows how very loved she was and how very loved she is.
    Remembering your beautiful daughter. xo

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  15. Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little girl. I'm remembering Peyton with you today! Many thoughts and prayers sent your way today on this most difficult of days.

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  16. We love you so much, Peyton. Your cousins miss you too. There is not a day that goes by without Emily wanting to talk about you, pray for you, or make something for you. Thank you so for teaching us all so much about love in your short lifetime. And thank you for continuing to watch over your mommy and daddy.

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  17. Thinking of you on this hard day - what a beautiful tribute.

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  18. Much love and peace to you.

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  19. Oh my...what a gorgeous post, a birthday letter to your sweet Peyton. My youngest came down from her nap as I was reading it. "Who's that?" she asked, searching your sweet girls face without any concern for the tube in her nose. "Peyton" I answered. "Is she with Emma?" she asked. "Yes" I nodded, and she's on our wall, right there, on the top. See her?" "Oh yes" she agreed "with all of Emma's angel friends."

    Remembering with you...

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  20. My thoughts are with you and your family. I just can't read this without crying. One minute at a time, Mom.

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  21. I am breathless and aching. Remembering and holding you all close.

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  22. Ok, I am crying!!! Your letter to Peyton is beautiful! Our babies impact our lives so much that they could never be forgotten. I am reminded of after Carleigh's birth when we had her service. An elderly gentlemen apologized to us for not coming. He had lost a baby many years ago when he and his wife were young and it still affected him to this day. He said it would have been too hard. I don't know why I'm sharing this. Maybe because it shows that they always have an impact on our lives. ?

    I am sending you a (((hug))) and am thinking of your sweet Peyton.

    And thank you for your comment. I like what you said about Romeo and Juliet. That was nice.

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  23. Thinking of you and Peyton today. (((hugs)))

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  24. Amazing and beautiful tribute to your beloved child.

    Hold on to every precious memory. Good and bad, they have made you stronger. She will never leave your side. She is your angel.

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  25. Thinking of you and your beautiful Peyton. I hope she is blowing out her candle with all of our babies up in Heaven. I hope you have been able to find some peace during this difficult day. My heart aches for you. xx

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  26. Rembering your beautiful daughter with you on this bittersweet day and holding you close in my thoughts and prayers. Peyton will never be forgotten. (((HUGS)))

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  27. Great post. You are honoring your late infant daughter by showing the world what strength she has given you in the form of family and friends and all the time that has passed, slowly but passed....

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  28. I wasn't able to post the other day but I will say that this was absolutely beautiful. Peyton you are truly blessed with a very strong mother.

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  29. What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing with us. It is really humbling to see what others like you have gone through - and how you have been able to survive it, despite the pain. Thinking of you and your family...and of your little angel Peyton.
    Hugs to you.

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  30. I too find myself in tears after reading this.. Peyton is very blessed to have you as her mother.. your love is just spilling over into your words.. Hugs for you and your husband this week especially..

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  31. Wow, wow, wow. Such a beautiful (and tear-jerking) painting of Peyton's life...

    Love you guys,
    Deb and Chris

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