Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Making "The Best" Of The Holidays Without Her

Last weekend was the annual laying of the grave blanket on Peyton's hill.

Since her passing, my parents have made a tradition of providing Peyton with a decorated spray of greens meant to keep her warm and protected from the winter snow.

Here is a picture of my mother with last year's grave blanket...

Due to my being on bed rest, I wasn't sure that I would be able to join my parents on their trip up to see her this year. Ultimately I decided that since the cemetery is only a few minutes from our house, and since this stupid SCH had already cost me the chance of celebrating Peyton's birthday and balloon release with her, I would go along and just lay in the car if I had to.

This year my mother decided to go with a different style for the grave blanket, fashioning it into a candy cane. Didn't she do a lovely job of decorating it? I think this year's is her best one yet...

She and my father brought the candy cane over to Peyton's grave, and I watched from the car as hubs got to work attending to his little girl's spot. Even though she is not here, hubs still takes such care in making sure things are just right for her. He cleared out some fall plantings and cleaned up any lingering leaves...

When everyone was happy with the way things looked, hubs waved me over from the car and I joined in the celebration.

Here we are, all together - Hubs, Me, The Snowflakes, and Peyton...
(please excuse the awful, awful, wild static hair and lack of make-up
nearly a hundred days of bed rest will do that to you)

Peyton had a nice visit with her Gramma and Pop-Pop who said some prayers for her, and talked to her about the upcoming holidays...

There was even enough time to sing a few Christmas carols...

Our time with Peyton, unfortunately, was limited. On bed rest I am not allowed to stand more than 10 minutes at a time, and this short visit had my stomach and back in quite a bit of pain, but it was worth it.

I have really missed being able to visit Peyton on her hill these last few months. A mother feels her child with her always, it's a bond that even death can't break. But for me, that cemetery is sacred ground. It is where my child lays. Even though I carry her spirit with me everywhere, regardless of location, there is still something to be said for being so close to what remains of her physical being.

When we were expecting Peyton, this is certainly not the way I envisioned spending the holidays with my little girl, but nothing about living without your child can be expected. Though not ideal, our visit with Peyton was still nice, and I am grateful to my parents for creating this lovely tradition.

What traditions have you put into place to make "the best"  (or at the very least the "most bearable") of the holidays without your little one's here?


  1. It's beautiful, and bittersweet at the same time. That is so sweet of your parents and husband to decorate so beautifully especially since you are on bedrest.
    I always loved decorating Meredith's grave many times a year, but she is 2 hours away and now my health does not permit me to visit as much as I once did. It hurts, because the little body I never got to hold lies there in the cemetery. I do know she is with Jesus - I try to comfort myself with that fact.
    You and the smowflakes look beautiful - sending Christmas blessings your way. xoxo

  2. It's beautiful Kristin...I need to make a trip to Calvin's grave soon. All his summer decorations have been taken down and his little grave is bare. I've been thinking about getting him a wreath of some sort...I feel enormous guilt that he has nothing decorating his grave. Hope you didn't overdo it...much love xo.

  3. So beautiful...and you are too hard on yourself because I think you look just beautiful. I totally agree...the last of the physical being of our sweet little ones are in those cemeteries...and those precious little bodies meant the world to us. They are loved and cherished and missed more than anyone who just easily throws out "But s/he's not really there, you know?" can imagine. No...maybe not...but those little hands and feet that I dreamed of hugging and kissing for years and years and years are...

    Keeping you and those sweet little snowflakes close to my heart and in prayer!

  4. This has me in tears. I LOVE that you parents give Peyton a Christmas blanket every year. What a beautiful, touching idea. I don't know what else to say. Everything about this touched me and now the tears are falling down in cheeks.

    <3 Peyton <3

  5. Beautiful tradition. Glad you got to be a part of it.

  6. Thanks for sharing the tradition with us. It's an emotional thing to see I am glad you and the snowflakes got to be a part of the tradition. It looks beautiful.

  7. I love her candy cane grave blanket. I especially love that you sang Christmas carols!

  8. love LOVE LOVE it! - Beautiful family picture too

  9. What a nice tradition, I have yet to come up with something truly meaningful to do at the holidays, I guess I keep looking for something perfect and end up without anything. We buy Hadley an ornament and hang a stocking for her but have yet to come up with something really special.
    It breaks my heart to see your parents grieving too, I don't know why but it always touches me when I see my parents doing things for their granddaughter.... sometimes I forget that the loss of our daughter affects more than just me.

  10. I'm glad that you got to go to the cemetery to visit. I agree that there's just something about being close to where their body is even though they're with you everywhere.

    I love the candy cane shape of the grave blanket!

  11. It really is such a beautiful thing to do for Peyton. It makes me tear up. And yes, everything is so bittersweet.

    I make a point of decorating my tree for Jordan. Full of dragonflies and butterflies and various other things we associate with her. It is beautiful but painful really.

    Thinking of Peyton today, and very grateful that she has such a loving supportive family. It's beautiful. xx

  12. It is a very lovely grave blanket. We too have to take Lukas his Christmas wreath. We were told that decorations needed to be taken down and have yet to put anything back up.

    Your parents are so very sweet to go with you to see Peyton.

  13. The grave blanket tradition is so beautiful. Surviving the holidays is difficult with our angels, but surrounding them with beauty is a wonderful way to remember them. When I was growing up, my siblings and I each had our own tree in our bedrooms. It's a tradition I wanted to continue when I had children. I have a small Christmas Tree that I am going to decorate yearly for Claire. Each year I am going to get an ornament that reminds me of her and will add it to her tree. This way I can take care to pick out beautiful things for her and she will be remembered by all of our family during the holidays.

  14. So beautiful...thank you for sharing these precious pictures.

  15. What a beautiful tradition. I am so glad you were able to join in. All my lost little ones were lost very early. I am lucky enough to have had a few wonderful friends who gave me some angel ornaments to hang on my tree in memory of my angels.

  16. I am still in awe over the support that your family provides you. This is how it should be. This is how I pictured it would be. Oh was I mistaken. You have a beautiful family. Thinking of you and Peyton.

  17. I love your family photo, you look gorgeous. What a beautiful tradition your parents started.
    My Christmas tree last year and this year are is all for Sami, covered with pink bulbs. We also have her stocking hanging. It is super small like her with Snow white on it. Last year her stocking was filled with notes from my family.

  18. We plant a small tree at their grave site, and decorate it each year. I just got a string of solar lights for it that I hope will make it even prettier for them.
    We also have their stockings that we hang, and I hope to get ornaments for them, just havent found the right ones yet.
    I really like the blanket idea, it's beautiful.