Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fading Memories

I asked my husband the other day if he felt like he was losing Peyton. He nodded. I admitted that I felt it, too.

Peyton hasn't been replaced. She hasn't been overlooked, or intentionally forgotten, or fallen in any way down the rungs of love in our heart, and yet my husband and I, two parents who think of her multiple times a day, have felt our memories of her slipping further out of reach.

We started talking about the memories that we hadn't lost. The sweet, minty smell of her. How she let out a little kitten-like sigh when she would lift her head to readjust against my chest. I mentioned her hands, how they were exactly like my mother's but on a tiny scale, and how her entire life there was goo on her knuckles and a bruise on the back of her hand from that very first IV.

We talked about the emotions that follow us along certain drives--the drives down the roads away from our house on the way to and from the hospital. I remember in crisp detail what life was like the day before the fungal infection was discovered. How full of hope we felt. I remember conversations about the Fall, and stopping at Dunkin Donuts on our way to see her that first time. If I close my eyes, I can probably replay every moment of Peyton's short life in my mind.

My husband shared his memories, too. He said he didn't think that his were as crisp as mine--something he attributes to the fact that he didn't see Peyton's death coming. I saw it coming. I didn't want to, and wouldn't have admitted it even to myself at the time, but I did. In my heart of hearts, I knew she wouldn't survive and I am disgusted by that.

I started to say that I thought the reason we felt like we were losing the details of our daughter, Peyton, was a self-preservation thing--because to stay there, in that dark, early, abyss of grief would be so crushing we couldn't possibly survive. I do think to some degree that that's true, but as I was saying it to him, it hit me. My memories of Peyton aren't numbing or disappearing, so how can I say that I am losing her when every detail, every-single-detail of her tiny life, is burned into my brain?

No, it's not that I am losing her. It's that now that I have had other children, healthy children, growing and changing and doing-by-the-day children - the magnitude of just how brief, just how robbed, just how un-lived a life my first child had-- it's overwhelming. I only have so many memories of Peyton, because there only are so many memories of Peyton. Twenty-eight days of life is not enough.


  1. A lot of my memories are starting to fade, and I agree, I definitely think it's a self-preservation thing.

    There's nothing to be disgusted by in knowing her death was approaching, I think in my heart of hearts, once it was initially mentioned to me, I knew that would ultimately be the outcome of my son's short life too. It's devastating in that you couldn't continue to hold out hope, but again I think it helps your mind to prepare your heart for the shatter that is about to occur.

    All three of your babies are beautiful.

  2. I don't think the time we have is ever enough, but you are right 28 days is not near enough. I am sure Peyton is looking down on you and the snowflakes and is smiling upon all of you and helping you get through your daily trials. You will NEVER forget her nor will she ever be less important to you.

  3. Neither is 15 minutes for us to have had our Molly girl living outside of me. So beautiful written Kristen. I am once again typing through my tears. Thank you for capturing to so well here the journey through baby loss and rainbow parenting. I get. I wish I didn't, but I do and I thank you for sharing. I can't believe that it has been almost four years since I last held my first baby girl.

    Sending lots of love and comfort your way as you honor the life and memories that you have and hold dear of your sweet Peyton, while at the same time do your best (and an amazing job at that) to parent and celebrate your two precious snowflakes. xoxo

  4. Peyton was just SO beautiful.


  5. Oh my! This post rings so true with me right now. I feel I'm losing Florence, but like you I can remember every single detail of her short life, but it doesn't compare to the lives of my other children, there's just so little of her, she was just, a baby.(though there's no *just*)
    I understand too, the feeling of disgust, I hate hate hate that I knew Florence wouldn't live, it horrifies me.

    1. There is part of grief you don't even experience until you have other children. It is the "everyday life FORCES itself upon you" part. The time slips away, and although you still have memories, it diminishes, because the other children demand the now, living time. It is part of the "grief sucks" you don't even feel until years later. You can't dedicate hours to thinking of them, you can't visit their grave everyday, or smell their clothes, because life pulls at you. It is just a reminder that living children have immediate needs, but this precious little one, is gone, with no demands, no needs, no time...

  6. I completely and utterly understand this. Not for having children after my loss but the lack of memories that are burned in years ago...not a continuation. Hugs-

  7. I love the way you put this. Usually people think that having other children makes losing an infant less painful somehow ... what you point out is exactly the opposite: that having other children makes it even more painfully clear what you lost. Thank you for saying this.

    She was such a beautiful baby.

  8. Oh Kristin, what a touching, heartbreaking post. I do believe it is self preservation when the details of memories fade. She was such a beautiful baby girl.

  9. Of course, she is and will always be there. Looking at where you stand with your twins also being there in your life, I can only imagine that sometimes while doing, even some normal mundane stuff with them would take you back to what Peyton would have been doing at this point of time.

    I get those moments. I wonder what F's sister would have been's crazy that their birthdays were three days apart. And last night I was wondering if I would have had to do combined parties for them...sad, really.

    Hugs, K.

  10. Lately I feel so disconnected from Janessa. I feel like she has slipped further from me than she already was. The truth is, in my mind, I am in that room with her in my arms But I used to feel so close to her. I don't know how to word it to do the feeling justice, but now, I no longer feel her like I once did, & I feel awful about that. Maybe it is self preservation. But it's not working. Hugs my friend.

  11. Oh I get it. Maybe it is that we're at the same stage of our grief (give or take a month or two). And what feels particularly hard for me, and always has done, is that we don't really have any memories. None of her alive anyway. Only those 21 hours cradling her very fragile dead body. It is so cruel, for all of us. We didn't have enough time.
    I miss Peyton with you.

  12. Big hugs on a powerful post, so beautifully and honestly written. Time, never enough of it and the memories you do have are so precious but hard also. Thinking of you

  13. I get it too like so many. The memories we have aren't enough to sustain us for a lifetime without them.

  14. John, who NEVER shares much emotion with me, said today that he just couldn't 'dwell' on the loss of this baby. I asked him if he felt like he dwelt on Matthew. He said he did...for a long time...because he held him, felt him...listened to his last breath. He loved this baby, he grieves this baby, but he knows that 'dwelling' robbed him of so much of who he this day.

    So he said he didn't want to dwell, but purpose his memories to be the ones that make his heart happy...watching him kick in my soft his skin curly his hair was...what a proud father he became because of Matthew. And what he will remember from this miraculous it was. How shocked we were that yet again, it wiggly on the screen it was.

    I told him I didn't think that was dwelling, nor did I think that he dwelt on Matthew. I think it's safeguarding our hearts and providing the hearts we need to be the parents we need and want to be to these precious siblings. I think it's natural that more of the horror falls away and the sweet remains, even if we lose tiny bits of it in the process. It's human. It's how we have to function as parents to children who deserve our whole hearts.

    But it hurts, doesn't it? It sucks, really, and I hardly ever use that word. It isn't fair. And I hate it. Like you's just not enough.

    lots of love, friend. xoxoxoxo

  15. I just went today to see a new psychologist where we moved after not seeing one for about 6 months and while I need to see one and continue to work on me I stopped for a moment and thought, "am I continuing to see a psychologist so that I can continue to retell every little detail of June's 22 days?" Is that healthy? Is that just sad? I don't know. All I know is that I felt such a peace today after my counseling session where I now know I have a safe place to come each week and talk about June all I want. And relive each little thought, feeling, and detail of her life which for me makes my life bearable. Praying for you all the time as walk this grief journey.