Yes, you read that right.
When you start a post with a sentence like that, you sort of have to expect that half of your readers are going to roll their eyes and click elsewhere.
I don't know this friend well. In fact, I think we may have only met in person once. She started calling my mother shortly after Peyton died to say that she had received a message for me and my mom would take it down and bring it on her next visit, at which point I would just sort of shrug it off as someone trying to offer me some comfort and move on.
Some people believe in spirits.
Some believe their children become angels who reside in the heavens. Some see them in the beauty of nature. Others believe that death is the end, and there is nothing beyond it.
I believe that Peyton's spirit lives on. I believe this because I feel it. I feel her. There is something uniquely Peyton that washes over me from time to time, and I know in my heart that she is in that place you go when you leave this world, nudging me along and offering me comfort.
In the early months after Peyton died, I thought I was losing it.
I thought that having this child ripped from my body then thrown in the earth was going to be the end for me. One day I was downstairs, taking out my anger and sorrow on the elliptical machine, and I lost track of time. When I emerged from the basement, the daylight had gotten away from me, and walking upstairs, my heart caught in my throat at the realization that the house had gone dark.
I hate walking into dark rooms.
All was blackness around me, with the exception of a small stream of light coming from our dining room. I hadn't been in that room for weeks. It had become a dumping grounds of sorts for all of the condolence cards, and items from the hospital, and when I couldn't figure out what to do with either, I flipped off the lights and didn't return.
Coming up from the basement, I found myself drawn toward the light, and wondering about its origin. I discovered that it was coming from our hutch. It was shining on a small white box -the box of her things that the hospital had given us - her hand prints in plaster- a lock of her sandy brown hair. An entire life packaged into a container far too small to hold a pair of shoes.
What I found particularly odd about the situation was that the light that was shining on Peyton's things requires for you to physically walk over and touch an area of the hutch to turn it on. I hadn't, but I felt in my heart that I knew who had, and a sense of peace washed over me.
I told hubs about this little moment that I had had with Peyton, and the light, and he sort of discounted it as another wacky behavior from his grieving wife. He checked my forehead for a fever, told me I looked like I could use some rest, and reassured me that it must have been something to do with our electric.
A few days later, I was walking up to our bedroom. There is a picture of Peyton on the nightstand, with a flashlight beside it. I keep the flashlight there because I am a terrible insomniac, and rather than wake hubs up with a lamp, the flashlight offers me enough light to read. When I walked into the bedroom, the flashlight was flashing. On. Off. On. Off. casting it's beam against her photograph. I am not gonna lie, the sight of it really had me sort of freaked out. I called to hubs (knowing he would never believe me on this otherwise) and he came running upstairs to see what had happened. The flashlight, which was a good 10 feet away from either of us, continued flashing against her picture.
Hubs was stopped in his tracks.
A light on a hutch being turned on, he could make sense of. A flashlight flashing on and off with no explanation - not so much.
It was a few days later when my mother called to tell me that her friend had "received" a message from Peyton. I sort of rolled my eyes, but listened anyway. "Okay mom," I said, "what did Peyton say in her message this time?" My mom went to reading what she had written down, and I felt myself go white. The message read:
"Laughter is needed to fill our hearts. Twinkle. Twinkle."
I hadn't told my mother yet about the light in the hutch, nor had I told her about Peyton fooling with the flashlight, but reading "Twinkle. Twinkle." in the message, I knew exactly what Peyton was referring to.
On a seperate occasion, I had gone to Peyton's hill with my father to plant some flowers. On a whim, we decided to collect rocks and make them into the shape of a heart, planting the flowers within them. Later my mother told me she had received a call from her friend with a new message from Peyton. It read:
"Tell my mommy and daddy I can see heart flower."
I asked my mother if she had told her friend about the garden my father and I had created, and she told me that my asking this was the first she had heard of it. My dad had never brought up the fact that we made the garden into the shape of heart.
There have been several more messages that Peyton has sent to this women since her passing. Some that seem to make sense or bring us peace:
"Tell them I have so much love tucked into my heart,
because we will always be together."
because we will always be together."
And others that seem to have no significance, and leave us scratching our heads:
"Tell them I love pickle ice cream."
This weekend, I was sitting in the room that will become the snowflakes' nursery, doing a good job of directing hubs around the room to pack things away to be moved into my writing space, when I came across a few of the notes that my mother's friend had sent with messages from Peyton written on them. I was reading them aloud to hubs, and we were laughing at some of them, and finding meaning in others. Finally I came to the last note we had received.
It was from late last year - a time that was difficult for us. We were struggling with infertility, had not yet been diagnosed with blocked tubes, and had no idea that IVF was in our future. This message at the time had seemed the most bizarre and out there yet, and I tossed it aside, thinking myself a fool for ever having found meaning in any of them.
This weekend, however, when I read it back again, this ridiculous little note suddenly didn't feel so ridiculous anymore. It read:
"Twice baked potatoes can be very, very good."
"The twins!" I said, as if truly reading the note for the first time. "Twice baked potatoes - she was talking about the twins. She knew before we knew."
"Maybe," hubs said, raising an eyebrow and smiling.