Grief. Grieving. Grievance.
So many ways to say it. They all suck. Excuse my language, but really--- it sucks. I recently read an article about the five stages of grief. 5 stages! I remember learning about grief during health class when I was in high school. It should come as no surprise to me. But, as I read this article, I found myself angry and terrified. Angry at the thought that this "grieving" is going to take forever and terrified that it may take forever. I want to feel normal again.
It's been 8 weeks since Peyton's funeral and 9 since the twins were born. 9 weeks. I feel like I blinked. There's no way our lives were turned upside down 9 weeks ago. I don't even feel like it's been a week, how can it be 9? For the past 9 weeks I feel like I've been in a fog. Going through the motions-- doing what I need to do for my family. A tear here and there, but honestly--- I've been plain numb. I keep waiting for the other shoe to fall. When will I start "feeling" the loss of Peyton?
I've heard comments made from family and friends like -- I'm worried about Ashley. How's Ashley doing? The truth is, I'm fine. Honestly. But this all makes sense--- perhaps I'm stuck in the first stage of grief still -- 1. Shock and Denial. It's about as real as it gets.
This week, we took Preston in to Children's Mercy for an ultrasound on his hips. (They were checking for hip displasia due to his being born breech.) The planner that I am, I spent all day Sunday mentally preparing myself for making the trip back to CM. I kept thinking that I was going to have a mental breakdown or something. Well, we went made it there and back with zero tears. Zero feelings even. Numb. Being numb is exhausting.
Guilt is exhausting too. I find myself feeling lots of guilt. Mom guilt is terrible, but it's reached a whole new level. Anytime we're asked to do something or go somewhere, I instantly begin to feel guilt for leaving my children with anyone other than me. Guilt isn't something I had anticipated, much less realized how bad it was, until Nick asked me last week point blank, why do you feel so guilty? You need time for you, time for us. He's right-- I know he is, but it still doesn't take the guilt away.
Anyways-- as I continue in this state of "shock/denial", bare with me. I knew that this wasn't going to be easy and I know that there is a purpose to everything. But, today, I will snuggle Preston and Kaylee and hope that I can just skip straight to acceptance.
But through all of this, there are smiles and moments of reflection. It's amazing how much Peyton is with us on a daily basis. During the most stressful and happiest times, Peyton is here. Nick and I recently read an article that my aunt had posted about the signs that a lost loved one is with you. Whether it be Peyton visiting us in our dreams, feeling him through "electrical activity", symbolic message, movement of an item-- we know that our angel baby is with us every single day.
Nick and I began to realize this about a month ago when a picture that we had sitting on a shelf fell. It was a picture of Preston and Peyton from when they were in the hospital. The first time it happened, we didnt' think too much of it, but after the 3rd time, it got our attention. A few weeks ago, Nick, Preston and I went to Wichita for our friend, Pat's 30th birthday party. We dropped Kaylee off in Topeka with my mom and then headed to Wichita for the night. Throughout the trip, Nick and I talked a lot about Peyton, Christmas, etc. Multiple times, we would hear this "magical" sound. Nick and I would look at each other with looks of, did you hear that?. After about the 4th time, Nick said to me-- you know, I think Peyton is here. He's telling us he's here with that sound. The sound was coming from one of Kaylee's toys-- a frozen wand that makes "magical" sounds. However, that only happens if you push a button. Anyways--- Peyton was with us on our car ride and Nick and I couldn't help but smile. On Thanksgiving, I was talking to my mom-- I look up at a picture we had hanging of the twins and the picture had been moved. I literally looked at my mom and said he's here, he's with us.
So despite the fog that I've been in for the past 2 months, Peyton has helped me when I've needed it most. There isn't a second that goes by that I don't think about him, wonder what he's doing right now. There are a lot of angels in heaven holding him and we know he is in good hands.