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