Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Third Anniversary

Today we remember Peyton on the third anniversary of her passing.

Another year has gone by. Another anniversary. Three years has passed in an instant, yet it has been the longest three years of my life in many ways.

I felt like the second year was harder than the first in many ways, but it truly was. This third year has passed by in a flash and I feel in some ways it was perhaps a little easier than the previous two years, but in many ways it held many difficulties of its own. The third year was challenging. Long gone are the days of feeling numb because of the sheer grief I experienced in the beginning. Even the days of overwhelming sadness and grief have lessened in number. I no longer feel the strong waves of grief crashing into me daily as I struggle through the days since losing Peyton. But I do feel grief and loss. I feel sorrow and pain. I feel all of the things associated with loss, but it's somehow a little different. I am not "better". I am not "over it" - and there should be no expectation that this could happen.

I mentioned in my post last year how I felt like the level of depression during the second year was far greater than in the first. I can honestly tell you that the depression is still present. There was a point this year where I honestly thought that the depression was lifting somewhat. Not entirely, but I was feeling "better" to an extent. I had been taking anti-depressants and I honestly didn't want to be taking medication to help me feel better. I just wanted to be better. I went off the medication.

It was during this time where I was bombarded by a crushing wave of grief; blindsided during a message at church. I was shattered in that moment as the message ushered in so many emotions I hadn't felt in quite some time. The message had nothing to do with Peyton or our situation. It did involve a young child in the hospital needing a miracle. He got his miracle. We did not receive the miracle we prayed for - not the one that would keep Peyton here with us on earth. I truly know she is healed, but in this moment ... in this moment, I cannot even begin to express the waves of grief that kept crashing over my heart and soul as memories of those last weeks in the hospital with Peyton came flooding back.

I really haven't shared this with many at all, but this let into a season where my depression just went spiraling out of my control to the point where my brain was keenly aware of how people might choose to respond in a desperate attempt to flee the bondage of depression. I understand that. It scared me. In my lowest moment I had Ron take me immediately to the doctor where I asked to be put back on anti-depressants. I remain on them today and I will remain on them as long as I need because there just should not be any shame in needing help to cope with any form of depression. There shouldn't be a stigma attached to requiring medical help. People get medical help for all kinds of issues. Depression shouldn't be thought of differently.

As far as depression goes, I am much better after being back on medication for a few months or so now. I think Ron would agree that I made the right decision that day.

Moira is doing exceptionally well, all things considered. She still thinks about her sister. That day at church when I experienced that moment - Moira came out of her service having drawn a picture of Peyton lying in a hospital bed. It appeared as if she was waving. Moira's service was in no way the same as the service I had been in. There would have been no connection and no way for her to know what I had seen and heard in my service. Yet she came out having drawn this. When asked why she drew that, she simply responded that she just felt like she had to. Of course I cried at this. It felt to me like Peyton was telling me she was ok.

Ron has spent the past year and a half back in school. He initially was getting some pre-requisites under his belt, but he is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy through Liberty University. It is primarily done online, but does require some on-campus visits throughout the program. He completed his first week at Liberty just last month. The next will be in June.

We are also working on ourselves and our family as we try to reclaim some form of "normal". For so many years our lives revolved around the care of Peyton. Much as we tried, with the level of care she required, there really was no way to have a "normal" marriage. We are working together on reclaiming that. We just celebrated 16 years of marriage last week. I am truly thankful to be on this journey with Ron.

Many thanks to everyone who has continued to hold us in prayer, especially at this time of year. We truly appreciate you.

If you have a particular memory of Peyton you'd like to share in the comments, I would love to hear from you.  Thank you so much!

You can take a look back at her Tribute HERE.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  {Romans 8:28, NIV}

May 18, 2006 {3 days old}

October 2013 {17 months old}

Peyton and Daddy - May 3, 2013

Peyton and Moira - May 3, 2013

Peyton and Mommy - May 3, 2013


February 20, 2013 - laughs and smiles while wearing Mommy's glasses

Friday, May 15, 2015

Nine

Our precious Peyton would have been nine years old today.  I am sharing some images from each May of her life:

May 2006 - newborn

May 2007 - 1st birthday


May 2008 - 2nd birthday

May 2009 - 3rd birthday

May 2010 - 4th birthday

May 2011 - 5th birthday

May 2012 - 6th birthday

May 3, 2013 - This is one of the last photographs of Peyton before she passed away the following day. In this picture, she was 12 days shy of her 7th birthday.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Sweet P.


February 2013 - Truly one of the last best pictures I have of sweet Peyton. She was wearing mommy's glasses and was full of smiles and giggles.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Second Anniversary

Today we remember our precious Peyton on the second anniversary of her passing.

It seems so surreal that it has been two years. One year was hard to fathom, but two??  I honestly don't know where this past year has gone. It has flown by. Two years has passed yet I remember vividly the events leading up to this day in 2013. It was yesterday. It was a lifetime ago.

I re-read the post I shared on the first anniversary and considered where we were then versus where we are now. One might make the assumption that being a year further removed from the loss would make things easier, but I have to say that this past year has been far more difficult for me than the first year. I had heard that the second year can be harder. I wasn't sure about that when I first heard that, but for me it has proven to be true. I don't know if it's the fact that I'm not in the fog, haze, and disbelief over her loss; things that maybe sheltered me from feeling the entire impact of loss during the first year. I'm not sure.

The level of depression I felt during this second year was far greater than during the first. Of course, being in the second year, I felt like I had to not be depressed; to not show it in public. I felt like I was obligated to get back to what everyone else went back to in the days and weeks after losing Peyton - a "normal" life. Intense depression will keep you from what is considered "normal". I don't think life would be "normal" even if the depression hadn't settled in like it did.

I am doing much better now. It's an uphill climb out of depression - and it is not easy. I am far better than I was those many months ago. It's three steps forward, two steps back sometimes. But most days are better now. Much better! Not a day goes by without remembering Peyton, and that's a good thing. She'll always be a part of our family.

I will say that in the midst of this year, I have restored an important relationship which really needed restoring. I am so beyond grateful for that. It has brought much peace to me.

Just like last year, the past 40 days have been spent reliving the days that I spent with Peyton in the hospital. I so vividly remember how the events unfolded. I look back in thanks for the time that I got to spend with Peyton in her last weeks. I am thankful for so many things - the exceptional team of doctors and nurses who worked so hard to help her; the friends who helped us both at home with Moira and with us at the hospital; new friends that came into our lives because they wanted to do something; family who were able to be with us both before and after Peyton passed; our church family who stepped in like nothing I've ever seen before and carried us through such a difficult time.  While I can recount the events of those days, I've tried to put more focus on the things to be thankful for and on how I saw God's hand in the entire situation.

Moira is doing much better this year. She misses Peyton greatly. She loves her sister something fierce. We've been blessed with such an exceptional guidance counsellor at her school who has made herself available to Moira to talk to. She also invited Moira this year to participate in a brand new program offered after school - a support group for kids in the school who have been through a loss. I think this was such a valuable opportunity for Moira. I have no idea who was in the program or anything that was discussed - and that's how it was designed. All I know is that it seemed to be very beneficial to her, and that is such a blessing to us.

We recently learned that one of Peyton's home nurses passed away a couple months ago. She was the last home nurse to work with Peyton. She was with us in the ER the day we went in for the last time. We had no idea that that was going to be it. I did get the chance to have lunch with the nurse one day sometime in the past year or so. I had no idea that that was that last time I'd ever see her again. She was an exceptional nurse and a wonderful lady. She is greatly missed.

As we try to learn what "normal" looks like for our family, my prayer has been that God reveals to us what our "next" will be. I've been praying fervently for this for over a year. I have felt strongly that there is something, but have no clue what it's supposed to look like. I continue to pray for wisdom and discernment in this area for our family. I know God has a plan and a purpose for us and we wait expectantly that He will lead us to exactly what that purpose is.

Many thanks to everyone who has continued to hold us in prayer, especially at this time of year. We truly appreciate you.

If you have a particular memory of Peyton you'd like to share in the comments, I would love to hear from you.  Thank you so much!

You can take a look back at her Tribute HERE.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  {Romans 8:28, NIV}


May 18, 2006 {3 days old}

October 2013 {17 months old}

Peyton and Daddy - May 3, 2013

Peyton and Moira - May 3, 2013

Peyton and Mommy - May 3, 2013


February 20, 2013 - laughs and smiles while wearing Mommy's glasses

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eight

Sweet Peyton would have been eight years old today.  I am sharing some images from each May of her life:

2006 - newborn

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013 - one of the last pictures taken of her, less than 24 hours before she passed away

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Sweet P.