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A day

Yesterday was such an emotional day. Hannah’s funeral was in a beautiful setting, a room decorated with her favorite toys, most sparkly dress up clothes and her ever-present treasures. When we signed in the registry, we picked up a ribbon and we also picked from a box of “treasures”, strings of beads and fun little knick-knacks, all sorts of the glittery things that would have made her eyes light up. Her family wanted us all to have a treasure to keep of Hannah and I have a little butterfly stamp that I will always keep for Peyton, to tell her some day of the special friend she had, even if for just a short time.

It was a heart-wrenching experience, looking down on Hannah in her favorite Belle costume with the little crown on her blond curls and realize that I would never see her emptying her purse-of-the-day onto the table to show all the other little girls her treasures, never see her pulling the hand of a happy follower to whatever adventure she had in mind, never see her smile and laugh with her family or friends ever again. It hurt so bad and yet, I just touched her little hand and I know she’s waiting for the day when we can play together again.

The family was so sweet to me. I didn’t really realize that I worried that they would be upset with me for being there when she passed. It wasn’t until the grandparents hugged me and whispered such sweet words in my ear that I felt relieved that they didn’t feel I had intruded into such a personal family time. I love Hannah so much, but nothing compared to what they could feel for her and I just hope they understood that I represented many friends who loved and cared for the whole family.

Hannah’s family shared favorite memories of their times with Hannah, they gave us an even more intimate glimpse into the life she shared with so many. They talked about the importance of not just the length of her life but the depths of the impact in that lifetime. And Hannah definitely touched a lot of hearts.

In talking to people around the Children’s Cancer Center, we talk about survivor guilt. How kids, especially the teenage kids, would suffer from guilt related to making it through their cancer when they see the friends who don’t survive. It hadn’t hit me that I would feel some of that. I was thinking about how we would talk to Lisa at the next Little Tales meeting when Mary Ann said that they would be attending the bereavement lunch and it dawned that she wouldn’t be at Little Tales anymore.

I just felt this ball in the pit of my stomach that here I am hugging her and saying all those things that don’t console or really comfort, and I could walk away with my daughter still alive and Lisa and Shawn were going to a home that would forever be missing their daughter. I feel weird about it, I feel relieved in a way and guilty for that. I feel so bad for being grateful that it’s not my daughter and I pray that it never will be. I will confess to thinking about what if it were Peyton, what would we chose to dress her in, who would speak about the impact that Peyton had on the world, how would I be able to stand there like Lisa and face all the people who pressed their cheek to hers and tried to express their sadness.

And I’m thankful. I’m not thankful that it was Hannah or any other child. But I’m thankful that it’s not Peyton, not our child and not our family. And as I’m sitting here confessing what feels like a dirty secret, I’m so ashamed of that.

I was so exhausted mentally and emotionally after coming home that I laid down for a 15-minute power nap and woke up 13 hours later. Peter had fed the kids, made sure they got their baths and took care of them all night while I slept it all away for a while. I have such a sweet husband who took care of all that so I could recharge my batteries and just recoup a few of the sleepless nights I’ve had.

This seems like such a bummer post, but it’s part of the whole package. It’s not all giggles and funny episodes of “Life with the Mayhews”, some days its just “Life with Cancer”. Some days it just hurts to face the reality of it all.

f.r.o.G…fully relying on God

7 Comments on “A day”

  1. #1 Katie
    on Oct 11th, 2007 at 8:17 pm

    Hey I just wanted to say that you are a great friend and I am sure that Lisa truly appreciates you in her time of need. It is an unbelievable world and all of these strong children fighting cancer, their family members who have to live with it, and the friends who stand by our sides, are amazing in every sense of the word. I am glad to have the chance to know everyone from the CCC. It is hard, but totally worth it just to have these amazing people my life for a moment. Thank you for your burnt skin on every ribbon and your uncraftyness! Ha, kidding, love you all, Katie

  2. #2 Amy Nasworthy
    on Oct 11th, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    I have a huge amount of guilt too, but it because my kids are healthy. I had a scare with one of my kids and I was freaking out. He ended up being fine but wow was it scary!
    You cancer mom's are a special breed and I love how you support each other. I hope that I am able to offer a bit of support too.

  3. #3 alayna
    on Oct 11th, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    You've just proclaimed all of our "dirty little secrets" out there for the whole world to read, and it's so true. We all feel the instant relief that it's not our child and the instant shame for feeling that way. But you know, shame's job is to keep things hidden, and it's always good to expose things to the light. So thanks for exposing us all, even if you did make me cry. You're right – I too always try to look at the humorous side of life – but childhood cancer just sucks and there is no getting around that, especially when it takes a precious child away.

    I'm glad you got to get that much-needed rest and recharge, and I will be praying for Hannah's family and all of you.

    Alayna Brooks

  4. #4 Jennifer
    on Oct 11th, 2007 at 11:21 pm


    No one expects that every journal entry will be funny or even uplifting. You have an amazing way of using humor to deal with this ugly disease and that humor is a really good thing. But everyone who is following your journey knows that there is a balance between the humor and the fear. We know you are scared and that each day that Peyton walks this earth and fights this fight is a blessing. We know that there is fear, joy, and even guilt. Don't be ashamed to feel those things. They are what is driving you to beat this beast. I certainly can't say that I'm glad you have days when the humor takes a backseat to the fear and sadness, but I am glad that you are acknowledging all of those feelings. Keep on keepin' on sister! I'm sending extra prayers for you tonight. Give Peyton hugs from her Kansas friends for us!


  5. #5 Angela
    on Oct 12th, 2007 at 7:36 am

    It is okay to feel sad and greatful in the same moment. I know that the crazyness of it all must seem endless. You and your friends add new families to your lives because of cancer's awfulness and you have to say goodby to dear little ones along the way. Thank you for fighting for your daughters life and being the loving person you are to comfort those who lose the fight.
    Thanks to Pete for letting you have the rest you need so you can face another day.
    Love you.

  6. #6 tacy Price
    on Oct 12th, 2007 at 8:09 pm

    I have been reading your jornal posts for awhile now. You have a great ability to share pieces of your world including the fact that your daughter has cancer-but as I am reading I am not thinking poor them-I am thinking how hope and humor just made me smile-and in the process educated me about childhood cancer! Do not feel this last post was a bummer to us-it was part of reality and we are sad right along with you. So give yourself time to grieve-as well as knowing it is ok to feel thankful and sad at the same time (I feel it every day-My husband was wounded in Iraq and it is difficult but I should be so thankful he is alive and isn't hurt worse)
    Just wanted to let you know others are thinking of you and your family. Also-What an amazing husband you have-you got to sleep how long?? and your house was still standing?? LOL
    Warmest Regards to you


  7. #7 Marie
    on Oct 12th, 2007 at 9:29 pm

    I've been following Peyton's page for a while now after finding it through Jacob Duckworth's. I enjoy the way you write with such humor but at the same time, it's very serious. So don't be worried about this post, it wouldn't be right to find humor in this situation anyway and nobody expects you to! Don't feel ashamed for being grateful that Peyton lives, if anything these children like Hannah and Jacob have given a great gift if they can make parents look at their own kids and feel grateful to have them. And remember that if had been the other way around, I'm sure Lisa would have felt the exact same way.