Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bibles and a Benefit

This was Peyton’s bible.


We gave it to him for Christmas; his last Christmas here on earth.  In the days following the accident, I was desperate for Peyton’s accident to be a wake-up call to people.  I wanted the kids to know they could make a difference while they were here on this earth.  The only way to make a difference is by using and knowing the Word of God.  That is the reason I wanted “History Maker” to be sung at the service.


This is a powerful song and I wanted them to hear it.  We had the words shown on the screen and people were asked to stand and sing along.  Not a typical thing to do in a funeral service, but why not?

We gave Peyton’s bible to his good friend, Brock.  He reads it regularly.  We were able to give the same kind of bible to all the pallbearers and a few more of Peyton’s close friends.  I loved being able to give them and see their faces when they realized what it was.

The Benefit…..and more bibles.

The rodeo organization Peyton was riding in was the YBRA.  Youth Bull Riders Association.  The winter series is held in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  They schedule these shows every two weeks.  Peyton had ridden in two of these rodeos.  I don’t remember how soon after the accident the announcer called, but he did.  They planned on making the next rodeo a benefit for our family.

The rodeo community is very close knit and takes care of each other.  We had not been involved in this sport very long, but they were ready to help.  Not only did they have the rodeo, they also held an auction.  They auctioned off some serious stuff.  I was humbled beyond imagination by the way these people treated me.  They had the poster framed and gave it to me that night.  Tom had gotten a stomach bug and was unable to attend.  Again, our friends rallied around us and drove me to the benefit.  There were over 100 people from Alma that drove the 2.5 hours to support this effort.  Kayli sung the National Anthem.  It was an extremely emotional night. 

The rodeo was on a Saturday and the following Tuesday night, the announcer and his family came to our home to give us the proceeds.  I don’t even know how far they drove to do this.  They were so nice.  We took them into Peyton’s room to look around. They didn’t have to take the time to do this, but they did and it meant a lot to us. The benefit raised enough money to pay for Peyton’s funeral and his headstone.  When we were going through this terrible time, we didn’t think about how much things cost.  We got what we wanted and knew we would pay for it somehow.  It was a tremendous blessing to have this taken care of.

Tom attended the next scheduled rodeo two weeks later.  He took 250 camouflage New Testaments to hand out to the riders as a thank you for their support.  They had a sticker in each one that said

In Memory of Peyton Jackson

Read it, Live it

After I ordered these New Testaments, a man called  and said he didn’t have enough to ship the whole 250, but he would get them to me ASAP, and asked when did I have to have them.  I explained the situation and he said he could have them there by the time I needed them.  Then he asked if he could pray for me.  I said yes and he did, right there on the phone.  God loves us so much.

I am about to be finished with filling in the time line after Peyton’s accident.  There maybe a little more, but I think it is time to start blogging about the present.  I am ready.  We keep praying at church about “turning the corner”.  I’m turning the corner concerning the grief process.  I’m sure I will still share Peyton stories and I will never hide my feelings or my struggles. 

My God is great and greatly to be praised.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Weeks After

Peyton’s service was on a Thursday.  We went back to work the following Wednesday.  I didn’t think I was ready, but Tom wanted to go back to work.  I knew I wasn’t going to stay home by myself, so I went back to work too.  For a few months, I would get up and get ready for work without going into the rest of the house.  We have a master bath connected to our room, so everything I needed was right there.  I couldn’t stand it that Peyton wasn’t in his room asleep. 

When he was still here, I would call him from work everyday at 7:30 to say good morning, have a great day and love you.  Every day at 3:30 I would talk to him again and ask about his day.  For months, those two times a day were very hard.  My subconscious mind knew what time it was and that I should be talking to Peyton.  That’s just how it is.  In the beginning, certain hours bring an extra dose of sorrow.  As time goes on, it is certain days or seasons that bring the sadness closer to the surface.  I am expecting those times to subside too.  There were times that I wanted to ask other parents who had lost children about the progress they had made or what I should expect in the future.  I never did.  I didn’t want the answers.  Everyone is different and my progress is between me, my husband and my Heavenly Father.  I don’t mind sharing my feelings, as a matter of fact, it is a relief to share.  What I mean is I was not going to compare my journey to anyone else’s.

We have a chair and a half in our living room.  This was “my” chair and Tom sat in the recliner.  After Peyton was gone, I changed seats and started sitting on the couch.  You see, if I sat on the couch I could hold Tom’s hand.  I didn’t want to be any further away than that.  I’m still sitting on the couch.

I’ve written before about what great co-workers I have.  I received countless, random hugs and encouraging emails for over a year.  I have taken the day off when the anniversary has rolled around.  This year one of the bosses came to my office to let me know it was okay to take a few days off.  It means everything that they remember.  I’ve got a cheerful post about my office coming up.  We have fun at work too!

In the months following Peyton’s death, people were extremely good to us.  Friends sought us out and took us to dinner.  We have been remembered on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and our birthdays. 

Trips to Wal-mart were agony.  So many times I would think, “Peyton likes that” and then realize it didn’t matter and then I would cry.   There were times I would go to Wal-mart and I would pray, “Lord, let me see someone in Wal-mart that loves me.”  He never failed me.  So if you talked to me in Wal-mart during that time, you were an answer to prayer.  God is good.  Now I can pray, “Lord let me see someone in here to love on.”  I hope I am paying attention.

The next installment will be about Bibles.  Curious?

Thanks for reading and all the comments.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Home Going Service

The service was to start at 2:00.  I told the funeral director I wanted the car to pick us up at 12:45.  He argued with me.  He didn’t understand.  I wanted to be there while people were arriving.  I wanted to see them, to remember them all. 

When Tom & I arrived, my co-workers were already there.  We have around 50 people in our office.  I know at least 30 of them were there that day.  Several of them had visited us in our home in the days before the funeral.

Our church parking lot had recently been re-surfaced.  The lines hadn’t been re-painted yet.  I know the church staff worked very hard getting everything ready,  the lines were painted, extra chairs were put out.  Our praise and worship team was there to provide us with anointed music.   I was surprised to see them all there.  The fact that they were there blessed me.  The music blessed us all. 

The memorial DVD was playing as people arrived.  It was perfect.  Around 1:45 the director asked if it was okay to start.  It was early, but there wasn’t any room left in the church.  The over flow was overflowing.  There were kids sitting in the floor.  I didn’t get to see them, but there were cowboys dressed in all their gear.  I don’t know if this is standard practice, but one of the EMTs was there.  The owner of the bull that Peyton was riding was there and spoke to us.  I don’t know if they thought we would blame them, of course we don’t.  The shop where we get our haircut, closed for the service and all three girls were there.  Peyton’s bosses closed their business and they were there.  I was overwhelmed with all the people stopping their lives to come and support us.  It was estimated there were 1300 people in attendance.

Six people besides the Pastor spoke at the service.  The first one was a former employer.  I thought he probably saw a side of Peyton that most people didn’t have the chance to see.  Peyton would ride around with Bill and go to convenience stores and try to buy tobacco products.  If they sold it to him, they were fined.  I remember once Peyton came home and told us he felt bad for one lady.  She sold it to him and Peyton didn’t think she could afford to pay a fine.   A year or so later he was buying smokeless tobacco for his own underage use.   Three cousins spoke, one was his English teacher and two friends.  They all told funny stories and had us all laughing.  Pastor did a wonderful job and when people left, they knew Peyton was in Heaven and they could go there too if they accepted Jesus as their Savior. 

On the way to the cemetery I got a look at all the cars, they were everywhere, many of them with rebel flags flying.   After the graveside service, I noticed one mom giving all the kids yellow roses to lay on top of his casket.

When we arrived home, our church had a great meal prepared.  I was so glad when people ate with us.  I wasn’t ready for Tom and I to be home alone.

These are just the things I know about.  I’m sure there are other acts of kindness I haven’t heard about.  The next few posts will be about the days, weeks, & months following Peyton’s service, the day to day hurting and healing.  I hope I can do it justice.

There were things I didn’t mention in my previous post about the days leading up to the service.  I had already written about them in this post.  (there are some things in this one that I’ve talked about here too)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Days Before Peyton’s Home Going Service – Part III

Hour after hour people came and loved us and supported us.  I remember finally getting out of the house and going to Wal-Mart for waterproof mascara.

One night the kids came and brought us $1800 they had collected for us.  They collected this in a matter of days, from teenagers.  I’m sure it was a sacrifice for a lot of them.  They ended up collecting more and buying us benches and a cherry tree for our backyard.  The picture in my header was taken the day they brought them.

Our Pastors went with us to the funeral home to make plans for the service.   Picking out the casket was horrible and I broke down.  People shouldn’t have to do this for their child.  I pulled myself together and looked around.  It had to be wood.  Then I started asking myself and Tom questions, very matter of factly.

“Do we want a matte finish or shiny?” – Matte

“What type of wood?'”- Oak 

I don’t remember the other questions, we just got the job done.

When they asked about pallbearers, I couldn’t stand it.  I didn’t want these boys to have to do something like that.  I believe those boys did a lot of growing up that week.  I am so proud of them.

Visitation was on a Wednesday night.  The funeral director said there were around 800 people that came through that night, people we went to high school with, Peyton’s little league and traveling baseball team coaches…………a lot of people, a lot of teenagers.  After visitation, I heard that the kids were going to a local church.  I wanted to go.  Tom and I went and listened.  The boy (Mason) that had arranged the service was a Senior in high school.  His college aged brother (Mikell) had just gone to Heaven the week before.    Peyton had ask if he could go to Mikell’s funeral.  I didn’t let him.   Maybe I should have, I don’t know.  I do know that Mikell was there to greet Peyton when he got to Heaven.  It was difficult to sit and listen to the kids.  They were hurting, but they were helping each other.  I am so proud of them.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Days Before Peyton’s Home Going Service – Part II

The day after Peyton’s accident was on a Sunday, there were a couple of rows of teenagers at our church that regularly attended other churches or didn’t have a church home. (I wish I had been there to see that!) We had a special speaker that day. She had lost a friend in her pre-teen years. She was able to speak words of comfort to those kids that another person couldn’t. God is sooooo good.

The next day, the kids gathered at Burke’s house. Several coaches were there too. Burke’s aunt took pictures and I am so glad she did.



IMG_5268 Nathan Praying

My heart hurt so much for these kids. I didn’t want them to be in this kind of pain. They were there for each other. I am so proud of them.

I had to call one of the owner’s of the business where Peyton’s worked, to tell him the news. I didn’t want him to hear it from anyone else. The anguish in his voice……… I’ll never forget it. Peyton had only worked there 4 days, but they had known him for most of his life. I had worked for these same people and they got to know Peyton very well. I wrote about one of them in this story.

I don’t remember the order these things occurred, I just know they happened. I want to put exclamation marks after every line; I won’t, but read it like I did.

Food, food and more food was brought to our home.

People even thought to bring aluminum foil, toilet paper, chip clips, coffee, Ziploc bags, press-n-seal wrap (I’d never used that before, now it is a staple in my pantry), bottled water, soda, the list goes on and on.

Our postman left 2 books of stamps in our mailbox

Two of our friends washed our vehicles inside and out and filled them with gas.

There were teenagers at our house every night (sometimes during the day too) talking and telling stories about Peyton. We laughed a lot. I got notes from girls (I wish boys did things like this, but the ones I know, don’t) telling me how Peyton had made an impact on their lives. I had one girl take me aside and tell me how knowing him had changed her. I couldn’t believe this. She spoke so eloquently and from the heart. I couldn’t help but wonder, “how old is this child?” even though I knew she was only 15. She is still blessing us today.

Two news stations came and interviewed Tom & I. The first was a woman, very professional. The second was a man. He had to run his own camera. I’ll never forget the tears he shed as we were telling our story. He even signed the visitor book.

I like getting these facts written down. I like being able to remember the people behind these acts of kindness. It’s love in action and that is how life is supposed to be.

Thanks for reading and your patience. I’ve said it before, I don’t care for long posts, so that’s it for now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homework Poem

The following is a poem a couple of Peyton's friends wrote as a homework assignment. I don't know if they realize how much it means to us that Peyton is still a part of their lives. We love these kids. When I asked permission if I could put this on my blog, she said, "Yes, we did it to celebrate Peyton." So here it is. It made me cry, but it also makes me feel good.

Hair red as fire
Smile bright as the sun
A natural born cowboy
His spirit, a rebellious one
Always the class clown
Making everyone laugh
Although always picking fun
The best friend you could have

So incredibly clever and athletic
School and sports a breeze
He would have gone so far
With the slightest of ease
Then tragedy struck
Ending it all

Fearless was his only flaw
"Spur Some Fur" changed us all
Bulls were his passion
His dreams set so high
But it all changed so quickly
No time for goodbyes

Two years have flown by
Yet it feels like only yesterday
We still miss his laughter
And that big grin on his face
The memories he left
Will be forever etched on our hearts
The impact he made
Will never depart

Never will we forget him
And how he made us all laugh
Up in Heaven now
The best angel they could have

By Casey Jo & Sarah

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Days Before Peyton’s Home Going Service

The posts in the coming days are going to be  about writing down the history of events that happened right after Peyton’s accident.  I am going to unapologetically brag on my friends, my community and my church.  They all held us up and loved us in ways we needed to be loved.  They were amazing.  I have read other blogs that have lists of do’s and don’ts concerning helping the grieving.  These people are the example of the do’s.  They did everything right.

When we came home that night there were ……….I don’t even know how many cars in our yard.  We walked in and our house was filled with our friends.  They all had the same look on their faces.  Disbelief.  I don’t remember everyone that was there or any conversations we had.  I do know that we were surrounded by people who loved us.  They took care of us.  They put their hand to whatever needed doing.  The dishes had been washed and put away, by two men!  The clean clothes in the laundry room had been put up and the floors were swept.

I heard later that several people traveled to the town where the accident happened.  They wanted to be with us, drive us home, whatever they could do.  We were already headed home. I know a group of them met each other in a convenience store parking lot and cried together.

My best friend lives approximately 2 hours away.  Her parents drove 2 hours to pick her up and 2 hours to bring her here.  They didn’t want her driving by herself.  I don’t think she could have.  She stayed in town for 6 days, leaving her family to be with us.  Her family joined her later and came to the home going service.

That night the organ donation place called me and asked me a whole bunch of questions.  I didn’t understand the need for all of that, Peyton specified “organ donor” on his license.  But I answered every question.  They were very kind and apologetic for having to ask me all those questions.

I don’t like long posts, so I am going to do this in installments.  I hope you check back to read the rest of the story.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Today after praying and reading my Bible, I was looking for a notebook to write down what I was praying and where God had directed my reading.  I found a small notebook and the first several pages had writing on them.  I was tearing them out, reading to see what they were.  Most of the pages were where I was planning a get together.  It had menus, games and a guest list.  I had written several names on the guest list.  At the bottom of the list, Peyton had added his name.   I was good with that, it made me smile.  The other side of the page I had written people’s last names and the number of people in their family. I had written our last name………it had a three under it.  I cried.

There were several people over our house tonight., each of them missing Peyton in their own way.  I had so many text messages today; many of them just to say “I love you” or “I am thinking of you today.”  If I wrote our last name today and had to say how many are in our family, I would have to write more than three.  Even though I am missing Peyton so much right now, I am grateful our family has grown so large.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Two Years Without Him

Tuesday, January 12th is Peyton’s second anniversary in Heaven.  I choose to think about his two years instead of mine.  My days (as you know if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time) are not all bad; in fact they are mostly good.  I am blessed and I know it.  Peyton is …….well my mind can’t even fathom how good his life is in Heaven.

Last year on this anniversary, I said it seemed like forever and it seemed like yesterday since I had seen or talked to Peyton.  This year it only seems like forever.  I am two years closer to seeing him again.  I wish I had some inspirational words to type to you today.  I don’t.  I do know that I am way better now than I was a year ago. 

In the coming weeks, I am going to write about what the first weeks of our life without Peyton were like.  I want to remember, not to wallow in self-pity or grief, but to realize how far we’ve come.  I will tell you stories of the incredible blessings that came to us in our nightmare.  These blessings were lifelines.  I want you to know about them; I want to remember and have them written down for everyone to see.  God loves us and He uses people to show His love.

Thank you to all our friends for your continued love and support. 

FYI Facebook friends this blog posts automatically to Facebook.   If you comment on Facebook instead of the blog, I will not be able to read it until January 30th.  I am fasting Facebook until then.  I am expecting to hear from God a lot during this time.  I am excited about this time and excited about sharing it with you.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Is the title of this post correct?  I thought we’d all be scooting around town in our hover crafts, or using our personal jet packs by now.  Maybe we haven’t caught up with the sci-fi predictions for travel, but the technology we have at our fingertips (literally) is unbelievable. 

I thoroughly enjoy texting (never thought I’d type that in a million years).  Facebook is ……….well, I have no words, but I am loving it!!  I just connected with someone I went to grade school with in another state.  I haven’t spoken to this person in 30 years!!

Blogging (deserves it’s own separate paragraph) has been such a blessing to me.  To be able to type my little heart out ……………and have people read it, amazes me.  I’ve linked my blog with others and have had incredible feedback.  I’ve read other blogs that have blessed me, taught me and made me laugh, all good things.  Blogging has made my life better, reading your comments and your blogs has made my life richer.  Thank you!!

I’m leaning toward “Twitter” but I haven’t taken the plunge.  Should I? Do you?  If you do, tell me why if you don’t mind.

Happy 2010!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Rest of the Story - (from yesterday)

Introducing Tallis Cole, born 12-30-09 @ 6:38 p.m. weighing in at a healthy 8 lbs 13 oz and 22 inches long.

Here he is last night.


Here he is today, much better.

Tallis Cole

He is precious. 

I waited until today to post about him because I needed to get my thoughts together about the events that transpired and my reaction to them.  I was very disappointed in myself.

Tallis’ mom had a difficult time in delivery (yes, she had him naturally)  The family saw things that were frightening and had them very worried.  Tom & I joined the family shortly after we found out there was a problem.

I didn’t handle it well.  I was afraid.  Then to top it off, I didn’t cut myself a bit of slack about being afraid.  But God is good and faithful and He loves me.  He didn’t want me to be under condemnation.  This morning I read a blog and she was talking about Gideon.  Just the story I needed to hear, because I was acting just like him.

Judges 6:13

But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.

I was feeling desperate.  I wanted this baby to be healthy and whole.  I didn’t want another tragedy to come to our family.  I had a terrible time getting my emotions under control.  I didn’t get my emotions under control until Tom was praying for Tallis’ dad. 

Judges 6:12

When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.

God was calling Gideon a mighty warrior, even as Gideon was hiding in the winepress threshing wheat.  I am a mighty warrior, even though I was afraid.

Judges 6:15-16

“But Lord,” Gideon asked, "how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family."

The LORD answered, "I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.

Gideon had a very low opinion of himself, just as I did last night, but God never left him and led Gideon to victory.  God has never left me and I will win.  I do not base my life on my experiences.  I base it on the Word of God.  If He says I can do it, I can and I will because He is always with me.

I wrote this post because the fear I felt is part of the grief journey.  This terrible thing has happened to us and it rattles my faith when other challenges arise.  It is so important to fortify myself with the Word and be ready for ANYTHING.

I thank God for my husband.  He was well able to pray and bring some peace and comfort to us.  Tomorrow……I am going to hold that baby!!!!!!!!!!!