Thoughts Worth Thinking
I attended a funeral today. The 5 year old son of my cousin died this week. Born at 24 weeks, he spent the first 9 months of his life in the hospital. He weighed less than 2 pounds and was just 12 inches. It was startling that he ever made it home, let alone to the age of 5. His life was one of medical procedures, pain and suffering, yet if you speak to anyone who knew him, from his teachers to his family or friends, it was a life filled with happiness and joy as well. His death at a young age was not unexpected, though still extremely hard on all of us who knew him.
It is by my own inaction that I sit here and type that I hardly knew Peyton. Without trying to make excuses, I am much older than most of my cousins and was well on my way to living my adult life before most of them were even out of elementary school. This has led to me often feeling quite distant and removed when I attend family gatherings. I am grateful that these cousins never allow me to feel that way for long. Even in their time of grief they welcome me, love me unconditionally.
It is always those that have so little time among us that teach us what it truly means to be alive. By all accounts he was a smart, caring, loving and extremely happy child. He knew he was living a difficult life, one that would break most of us, but that was never a reason to not enjoy things, to learn things or to love. Perhaps there is some truth to a notion presented today that Peyton always knew his lifetime would be shorter than most. Several people mentioned they felt they were on borrowed time with him, that he should have died younger, that all signs pointed to him not living out his second year. Regardless, while he lived he taught his mother the value of patience, taught his father to enjoy every silly moment and taught his brother the value of companionship.
Time will tell if I have learned anything from Peyton. I hope I have learned to value my time with family more, to reach out and become closer with them. I should have already known that. It is unfortunate that it takes someone passing for me to ponder it.