It has been nine days since our precious Peyton went to be the the Lord. I cannot help but rejoice for her that she is no longer sick, no longer in pain, and no longer suffering. I cannot be sad for this sweet girl who is dancing, walking, running, talking, seeing, hearing, and doing so many things that she could never do here on earth.
But I weep. I weep for the loss of my youngest daughter. I mourn the loss of the little girl whose many needs filled my days. It is strange being home after having spent 40 days at the hospital with her. It was strange to feel the air outside, to sit in a car, and to enter my home without my daughter.
The past nine days have passed quickly. May 4th seems like yesterday but it seems like an eternity has passed. Out of town visitors have come and gone. A visitation was held. A memorial service took place. We said our goodbyes to the earthly body that was Peyton.
We went to church as a family on Sunday, May 5th, a mere 27 hours after Peyton passed from this life. We couldn't imagine a better place to be than with the church family who has supported us for so long. We went to church on Sunday, May 12th, Mother's Day. It was good to be among our church family but I felt the absence of Peyton in a profound way.
We picked up Peyton's urn this weekend. Another event to add to the ever-growing list of things that make her loss so real.
We picked up her death certificates today, again making this even more real - and "final". Just as Peyton had a lengthy list of health issues in life, her death was marked not by one cause but by several. The only thing I know for sure is that her death did not come as a result of Ron and I making the decision to peel back all of the medical interventions that were sustaining her. People have wondered what happened because she passed so quickly after that meeting we had with the doctors on Wednesday, May 1st. The truth is, before we did a single thing, Peyton's health began to decline on its own. By Thursday morning, before we removed any medications, Peyton had fluid building up on her lungs. By Friday, after we'd removed the final supportive thing, we found out that Peyton had tested positive for stenotrophomonas pneumonia, which is not curable and was indicative of an end of life process. Had we not made the decision to take a palliative care approach, Peyton would have passed away as it was. Yes, things happened quickly. After some amount of pain control was needed, she was finally comfortable and she did pass away peacefully.
The adrenaline that has kept me going since the 4th has been wearing off, particularly in the past day or two. I find myself discovering that there are limits on how much I can do as it relates to the things like the disposal of all of the beautiful flowers, most of which are past their best now. I find myself needing space and "alone" time.
My body aches. My muscles scream out when Ron tries to rub my neck or back. I feel like my body is held together by steel cables, not muscles and soft tissue.
Given where Peyton is now, it would be purely selfish to want her back here. But I miss her so much it hurts. I would love to hold her again without fear of hurting her poor broken little body. I would love to hear her laugh, see her smile, and just have her back.
And so we journey through the early stages of our grief - differently, yet each of us grieving the loss of our daughter and sister. We've got a long road ahead of us. I know I, for one, am feeling a great void in my life. I am not sure how to fill the hours that she once filled. I am not sure what our "new normal" is supposed to look like for the three of us.
I know we'll be leaning on God now more than ever. He will sustain us through the difficult days, weeks and months ahead.