Friday, August 27, 2010

It could be worse.

I am not a fan of taking comfort in that expression. 

Tom & I attended a support group for grieving parents for a few months after Peyton went to Heaven.  The stories we heard there were heartbreaking.  Even though we were all in the same situation, the ways we arrived there were very different.  We would leave the meeting so sad thinking about the other parents and the different ways our children left this earth.

We couldn’t help but think, “at least Peyton didn’t die like _______ or _______.”  I felt it was wrong to take comfort in the fact that, “it could be worse.”  We are human and we like to make comparisons.

What if it couldn’t be worse?  What if you are the person that has it the worst?  Where do you find your comfort?  We all have varying degrees of hard times in our lives, everything is relative.  So while it is good to recognize that other people have gone through hard times and survived them, I don’t want to draw my strength from that.  My strength comes from knowing a living, loving God.

I hope this makes some kind of sense.  I hope I haven’t given the impression that I think I’ve had it the worst.  I am trying to say that I cannot draw strength from something of this earth.  I get peace and strength from my heavenly Father.  Earthly things change; God does not.

I would love to have some comments on this. :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I’m having a hard time starting this post.  I said I would write about some of the times Peyton got in trouble.  I thought I would start out with the most serious.  The others I can pretty much laugh about, this one, not so much. 

When Peyton started going to rodeos, he was 15.  He went with older boys.   I knew the chance I was taking letting him hang out with older people.  I knew the things he would be exposed to.  I prayed he would make good choices.  We waited up for him every time he came home from the rodeos, even though it was very late. 

We let him go camping with a couple of guys he rodeod with.   I got a call around 12:00 a.m. from the county sheriff’s office.  Peyton had been arrested.  The boys had gotten to their camping spot, had a few beers and then decided to drive to town.  The boy driving had pulled out onto a major highway without turning his lights on.  The policeman saw them and pulled them over. 

Since Peyton was a minor, the officer called us before they even got to the station.  Peyton was in jail for about 15 minutes.  The officer let us know that he was very polite and didn’t give them any trouble.  I wasn’t impressed. 

I don’t think we even spoke on the way home.  My mind was reeling.  Is this the first time?  Is this just the beginning? etc. etc.  I was so angry with him.  I was afraid I would say something or give him a punishment I would regret.  I told him to go to bed.  Tom & I lay in bed for a few minutes and Peyton called to me.  I went to his room and he asked me what is punishment would be.  I told him we would discuss it in the morning.  He said, “Mom!” in such an anguished voice I almost felt sorry for him. 

I sat down and talked with him about the dangers of alcohol, etc.  I also spoke to him about his reputation and the repercussions of his actions.  Teenagers like to say they don’t care what people think about them.  I explained to Peyton that he did care.  Do you want people to trust you? believe you?  What if there is a girl you like and her dad won’t let her see you because he heard you’d been arrested?

He was grounded from everything for 2 weeks.  Maybe it should have been longer.  I knew my son and believe it was long enough.  He was a humble person for a very long time after that.  I can’t say for sure that he never drank again.  I hope not, but he was a teenager that loved pushing the envelope. 

Those boys he was with that night?  The driver came to our home and apologized.  I also know he went to his girlfriend’s father and apologized.  He’s a good guy that made a bad choice.  Both of these boys men were pall bearers at Peyton’s funeral.  The one who wasn’t driving got saved not too long after Peyton went to Heaven.  Tom & I watched him get baptized.  We love them both very much.

A few days after his arrest, Peyton asked me, “Mom, have you ever been in handcuffs?”  I said, “NO!”  Peyton said, “It is awful.”

I can almost laugh about that, but not quite.

I’ve shed some tears writing this.  It was such a hard thing when it happened.  I didn’t want to make this blog about a “perfect Peyton.”  He wasn’t.  He was a typical teenager with a little something extra, at least to us who love him. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The annual staff at the high school ordered Tom & I a yearbook.  I picked it up on Friday and wanted to share what I found in it. annual pic

This mention of Peyton really got to me.  Tearing up even now as I type this. Click on the picture to make it large enough to read.

Chris quote

I love these kids and this community and I am forever grateful.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More about Peyton

Today, I helped a couple of girls move into their college dorms.  They are so excited!!!!  I was glad to be part of it.  I feel for so many parents that are packing their children off to college. Their “babies” are leaving the nest.  I know if Peyton were still here, I would be in the same boat they are, wanting to be able to let go, but wanting to hold on.  I told Peyton he could live with us forever.  I am missing him so much. 

In September of Peyton’s sophomore year, he scored a 21 on the ACT.  He was impressed.  He said, “Mom, I know Seniors that haven’t scored a 19.”  He didn’t realize the gift he had been given until then.  He was very smart and took it for granted.  He thought everyone had it as easy with schoolwork as he did.  Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t “apply” himself.  He made As & Bs (mostly Bs).  I told  him Cs were unacceptable.  He thought I was too strict.  I think the ACT opened his eyes a little bit. 

The last six months of Peyton’s earthly life were very focused.  He was determined to ride in the PBR.  I’d never seen him so passionate about anything.  He was maturing and becoming responsible in ways every parent wants.   He only got to drive for a couple of months before he went to Heaven.  He loved that freedom.   He had gotten a job the week before his accident.  It was only a couple of hours a day after school, but he was thrilled.  I told him I didn’t think it would be fair of us to quit his allowance because he was working, so he got both.  (Gas was almost $4 a gallon at this time)  He only received one paycheck and he immediately put it in his gas tank.  I have his wallet, it has $1 in it along with his drivers license and hunter’s education card. 

I don’t know the purpose of this post, other than letting me tell some more about the son I love so much.  I’m a proud parent but I know Peyton wasn’t perfect.  Very soon, I will post a couple of stories about Peyton getting in trouble.  It’s only fair you have a well rounded picture, right?

Peyton is in Heaven.  He doesn’t miss me or anything about this earth.  Heaven is Heaven, even for a 16 yr old cowboy.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Then vs Now

I know God is calling me to be less and less concerned about myself.  Less of me and more of Him.  I type these words and they seem cliche’.  I’ve heard people that are way more spiritual than I am say them and now they are coming out of my mouth.  What are You up to God?

For the last few days there has been an unrest inside of me.  There are times it  feels as if my spirit is vibrating inside me.  That’s not an accurate description, but it is all my human mind has.  I’ve been praying more and more throughout the day. 

There are times I want to go back to the way I was before Peyton went to Heaven.  I want my life to be the way it used to be.  We were very happy and were incredibly blessed.

Presently, I am grateful for who I’ve become.  I have grown and changed in ways that I never would have imagined.   In most situations, I am a more sympathetic and caring person. 

Other times situations will arise and I have no patience for them.  In my mind I am thinking, “If I have made it through the death of my son, you can make it through _________.”  Do you see that small and selfish word in purple?  “I” is a very dangerous thing to focus on.  It truly wasn’t “I” who made it through.  God carried me through.  This was too big for “I” and He never left me. 

Would I bring Peyton back if I could?  YES!!!!!! 

Am I grateful for all God has done for me since Peyton has been gone?  YES!!!! 

Am I a better person now than I was when Peyton was here?  YES!!!!

This is God making something good out of something evil.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bloggy Banter – Love it!!

Here is a question that was in the comments of my previous post.

Do I have to continue to miss AND grieve? I thought I read somewhere that grief was a 'spirit'. So, here is the actual question: can't my heart be whole as in Shalom - nothing missing, nothing broken and miss my loved ones beyond all reason of my natural mind AND in that name of Jesus kick the spirit of grief out?

This question was asked because I said in my previous post -

“I know I will miss Peyton & grieve for him until I see him again, but living the way I've been living is not right.

Isaiah 61:3

3To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

In the verse it shows a trade….the garment of praise FOR the spirit of heaviness.  Grief is a spirit and we should not carry it.  When I wrote that email, I was living with the spirit of grief and I knew better.  I can miss Peyton and not be grief stricken.  I can also make the trade again and give away the “garment of praise” and take on the “spirit of heaviness”.  I have made that trade many times, but not as often or for as long.  It is a learning and healing process (31 months so far), not a one time decision. (if you knew me, you would know how much I wish it were a one time decision)

Having said all of that, I will not grieve for Peyton until I see him again.  I will miss him and even cry but the grief will not swallow me up. 

I hope I haven’t gotten too hung up on ‘terminolgy” in this post - missing vs grieving.  I want to be totally honest about what I believe. 

I believe my God is a healing, restorative, loving God and He is bigger than any kind of grief. 

Thanks for the question Dar.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

“Never mind God, I got this.”

This is an excerpt from an email I sent to a wonderful friend of mine.  I sent it after coming out of suffering 3 weeks of misery.

The past few weeks I have given in too much to it (grief).  I know I am grieving/will continue to grieve, but it had taken over most of my thought life.  I know I will miss Peyton & grieve for him until I see him again, but living the way I've been living is not right.  I am functioning and productive but feel like I am broken inside.

In the beginning I came against the grief with prayer etc. from a survival instinct.  But now after 30 months, I let it sneak back in slowly and was learning to live with it on a daily basis.  This is not where I want to be and have to stop it now.

The last part about it sneaking in and living with it, that is the battle now.  The tears and the turmoil don’t come as often and when it did come…….I thought I could handle it.  “Never mind God, I got this.”  Foolishness.

I can’t believe I did this.  (I don’t know why I’m always surprised at my humanity)  I was no longer desperate for God’s help!!! 

Another excerpt from the same email

I'm going back; back to the way I was when this horrible thing happened.  I am going to have the mind set that this grief is trying to drive me crazy but I won't let it. It still is trying to drive me crazy, it is just slower and sneakier than it was in the beginning.

I am here to say I am back in that place, a place of desperation,  desperate for my Father and His life giving Word.  Desperate for Him, not only in the bad times but the good times and everything kind of time in between. 

What I am trying to say is, I let myself get comfortable with where I was in the grieving process and my relationship with God.  This is not acceptable.  Pressing in and growing, that is what I am called to.  He loves me too much for me to remain in the same place.

Thanks for reading and you know I love comments :)