Saturday, March 30, 2013

One year later...

It was a year ago today that we had to say goodbye (for now) to my little girl, my sweet Payton.  A year ago today my heart broke, never to heal fully.

A friend told me that the first year is always the hardest.  I understand why.  For me, it has been the back and forth of emotions, smiling and crying at once.  Part of me wants to fast forward to a time when the sadness isn't so intense and the other part of me wants to go back and relive all the time I shared with her.  This makes it so hard to live in the present.  

Over the last few months, I've felt like I've been losing her all over again. I've been desperate to watch videos and look at photographs to remember her and what it was like to have her here with me.  But right now I still get sad reminiscing because it reminds me of how much I lost.  I know she would not want me to mourn her forever, so I try to be strong and happy.  But I also try to allow myself moments of weakness and sadness.

It still amazes me how much I truly love Payton.  She was my child.  I don't like to compare myself to parents who have lost children but that's what I feel like.  A friend recently wrote that "if love could have saved Payton, she would have lived forever".  This is true not only because of our love for her, but she gave so much in return.  On Payton's blog last year, I described how in her last moments she used all the strength left in her little body to smile and wag her tail at us when the oxygen chamber was opened.  

She was so very sick and yet all she cared about was us.  I get so tense and emotional just thinking about it, and I will never understand why such a perfect soul had to endure so much and leave this earth so soon.  Payton's illness and struggles were a constant reminder that the end would come at some point, and yet I was still not ready. I don't think anyone ever is. I know she is free from the sickness and pain and her body is restored but I am selfish and want her here with me.
I long for the day when we can be together again, when I can hold her and kiss her.  But until that day, I will continue on as best I can to live in a way that makes her proud.  I'm still shocked at how many emails I get, about 2-3 a month, from those whose pugs are experiencing seizures or have been diagnosed with PDE. It was always difficult, but with Payton gone, it's even harder. However, I persevere in her honor, proud to carry her story and help others from our experiences. She will always be such an inspiration.  

I have come to realize that I will always carry this profound loss with me, that I will always miss Payton, but as time goes by, it does become easier to live with the pain.  I am still a work in progress, but I sleep better, smile more often, have a lot less anxiety, and can see a light in the distance.  Donald and Daisy can't replace Payton nor eliminate the pain, but they have brought joy back into our lives. And as long as I try to live as Payton did, keeping my senses open to experience the special moments that life has in store for me, I know I will be happy.  A friend suggested that Payton pops in on her special friends.  This made me laugh thinking about her nosing around (probably trying to steal kibble), so the next time something around the house reminds me of her, I'm going to imagine her visiting me too.

As a symbol of her life, I'm going to make the Pink Flowers for Payton campaign an annual tradition each spring.  In addition to a full vegetable garden and herbs, I will be planting these beauties on Sunday.

I'll leave you with two videos looking back at memories from Payton's remarkable life. 


PS.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Easter weekend, enjoying family and friends.



  1. I understand how you feel. I just read a book about a woman who lost her baby son to a horrible degenerative disease, the book is called The Still Point in a Turning World. At one point in the book she rails about the fact that her loss is the worst, worst them people losing spouses or pets or friends. Then she realizes that no loss is comparable to any other loss, that all losses are legitimate and equally painful and that no ones experiene of grief is the same. She even mentions a friend who lost her dog and with whom she discusses the loss and grief, so I can totally see how losing a beloved pet and a child can be similar, even though all grief is unique. I really recommend the book.

    I feel like my pets are my children and I can in particular imagine the agony of losing Norbert and Tubby as I think that will be the worst, and with their advancing years I know its not far off. Ir emember when Norbert had bloat and was going in for emergency surgery all he wanted to do was get up and comfort me because I was sobbing, I am sure that is the sort of spirit Payton had too.

    I am so glad that Donald and Daisy have brought you comfort. I know they can never replace Payton but I do think when a dog is lost its right to get another, dogs deserve the loving homes we have and I know that our departed babies would want us to have other pets to share our love and have wonderful lives. I know that when Norbert and Tubby leave me they will want me to get other dogs, I plan to give the new dogs the same names in their memory and honor. I know that is odd to a lot of people but I think its an appropriate memorial.

    You and Payton are an inspiration and will be forever.

    urban hounds

  2. I forgot to add the flowers are so beautiful, if we had a garden I would plant some pink ones in her honor as well

    urban hounds

  3. It is so very hard to deal with... I never thought I could love anyone as much as Yoda and when he passed it was crushing... We still have his leash and collar hanging at the front door - neither Mike or I have had the strength to move it, even a year later.

    I love the pink flowers and having that tradition to remember Payton.

    I like to think that Yoda & Payton are playing together on the bridge and counting the days until we will be with them again.

    Pugs & Kisses,

    Cindy, Brutus & Ellie

  4. I hadn't realized how close together Payton and Emma's passing was until now. I remember stumbling across your blog when I frantically googled "pug favoring right side with stiff neck". The 3rd link found was "Pug Dog Encephalitis". My mind told me that it just COULD NOT be PDE! But, something in my heart made me google "Pug Dog Encephalitis Resources" and your blog was the 1st link I clicked on. I wanted to read about the experience, not just the symptoms like the other website would've given me.

    It is an experience that I do not wish upon any Pug or any human that has to deal with it. Your blog gave me hope, but it was too late for my Emma. She had rapid progression and nothing would've stopped it. Your words are sad but refreshing at the same time. Especially for someone who has dealt with PDE and those who grew to "know" Payton. Unfortunately I didn't have the honor of following her story while she was alive and going through this ordeal. I may just have to go plant a pink flower in memory of Payton! ((( HUGS ))) Mindy

  5. Major leakage...
    And jealous that you can actually plant some flowers : )
    Our ground is still covered with snow, melting slowly though... We will again plant some pink flowers for Payton when it is warmer.
    Payton brings spring every year.


  6. Your little girl Payton touched so many lives and was so loved by Tim and you...
    Snuggly Pug Hugs,
    Eddie the Pug from NorCal

  7. Every time I see a pink flower, I will always think of Payton. I will forever plant pink flowers in her memory.
    Your heart has been shattered, and in time pieces of life will fill the void,, but the cracks, and scars will remain. But you will be strong- because Payton lives in your heart, and she will hold you up- until you hold her again,

  8. I have been searching all day for the right words to say but I think Tweedles has said it beautifully. I think that spring has finally arrived so we will be shopping for pink flowers very soon
    Linda, Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  9. We can't wait for our pink bleeding hearts to bloom this year! Mama always thinks about Payton when she sees pink flowers ... sometimes her eyes get leaky! This post made mama leaky, too!

    We love you, Aunt Christy!!!!!

    Love Zoe, Peyton, Webster, Liberty & Whitney

  10. The first year is the hardest - going through all the seasons without them. Cory and I talk about Rooney, Babe, and Rue (our pugs of the past) most every single day. Although it does make me sad, just talking about them and continuing to celebrate their lives years later, makes me feel equally happy.

    I hope planting the pink flowers today helped you to feel close to Payton. I like picturing her walking in the flower bed, sniffing all of her pink flowers. :)


  11. Keeping you guys in our thoughts. My dad said he's going to plant some pink flowers in memory of Payton once it gets warmer here.


  12. How did we miss this post????? We are bawling our eyes outright now. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. The videos put us over the edge. Love to you all xoxo Forever Payton xoxo

    Pugs and Kisses

  13. This spring we are going to plant a pink garden in Payton's Memeory ♥♥♥
    Pugs and Kisses

  14. Just reread this. Tearing up at my desk. Love to you guys always.