And I'm here to tell you, we survived. I feel like we should all applaud, pat ourselves on the back, or if Kaylee had her way, we would all shout HOORAY! We did it! We actually made it through a year that I was absolutely terrified of facing.
I'll never forget the day that I sat in my hospital bed begging my doctor not to dismiss me from the hospital. Tears rolled down my cheeks, as I explained to her how scared I was to go home. Now, while most people may find this to seem a little silly, it to me, is not. Going home meant that what seemed like my worst nightmare, was indeed reality. Going home, meant that I was going to have to stand in front of family and friends as we buried my son. No pinching necessary, this was real life.
Despite my angst, after five days in the hospital, we went home. And you know what? I went to sleep in tears that night. It sucked. And the next day, Nick and I went out to buy an outfit for our son to be buried in. At the time, it seemed so surreal. What we should have been doing was picking out an outfit to baptize Peyton in. But, instead, that was not the case. The funny thing is--- I had actually ordered an outfit for Peyton a few months prior, but it just didn't seem like the "right" one. So--- in my sense of crazy, Nick and I went on the adventure looking for the perfect outfit. Seems like such a small detail, but it was a detail that I knew that we would forever remember.
I want you all to know that the pain does not go away. It doesn't. There isn't a single day, or a single second, for that matter, that I don't think about my son. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, sweating, terrified that I have forgotten what Peyton looked like, what color was his hair? His eyes? What did he weigh again? For those that know me, you know that my memory is typically really good. I can tell you what nearly every classmate from kindergarten's birthday is. I just remember. It's a funny thing what grief can do to your mind. You forget. And then, you remember again. Sometimes--- it's just a matter of getting through the fog.
Although the pain does not go away, you do learn how to manage it. You smile, because, despite having been through something I would have never dreamt I would have to go through, there is still happiness to be had.
I've learned more in the past year about myself, my marriage and my family than I have in a long time. We've made so many memories. When I think back on the year that has passed, I sit here smiling. Because, we lived life to the absolute fullest. No regrets. At the end of the day, Peyton's death taught me to do that. It taught me to be a better listener, more patient and to enjoy the little moments just as much as the big ones.
Nick and I are so blessed for the lives that we do have. We have an amazing family and our friends are the best. And, we have two beautiful children that we get to spend our lives with here on Earth and one beautiful, handsome angel that I will be forever grateful for.
This past weekend, we celebrated Preston's 1st birthday. We concluded his birthday with a balloon release to Heaven in remembrance of Peyton. I know that Peyton was there with us that day. The sun was so bright, but if you look carefully, you can see a "white" balloon. Except, we only had blue and orange balloons.
Peyton continues to remind us daily that he is with us. It's the most peaceful feeling. Honestly--- I wake up most days with a smile on my face because I just "know" that he's here. It's kind of crazy, because I know the kids and Nick feel it too. Kaylee will randomly start talking about Peyton. And Preston, he's drawn to his twin brother.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everyone's kindness over the past year. This may have been an unexpected journey, but behind every storm, there is a rainbow. It is through the strength of others that we are able to focus on the rainbow and remember the storm.
"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."