Happy Birthday, Peyton.

On this day, what would have been Peyton's 26th birthday, we would love it if you would read this beautiful message written by Peyton's aunt, Melisse Copley.

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Happy Birthday, Peyton. I’m actually writing this post on my birthday. I’m writing to celebrate your birthday though, just 4 days after mine. Truthfully, I don’t know where to start. Your absence is, as I’ve said many times before, conspicuous, and, frankly, still heart wrenching and unnatural. I miss you so much. We all do.

I miss your laugh. I miss how silly you were. I miss middle-of-the-night kitchen talks with you and Austin whenever I came home for a visit. I miss playing games with you and that period of time you pretended to curse – but only by saying everything with a W – to irritate your mom. I miss how you made time to spend with us and how you made each of us feel like you loved us the most.


I miss the life we lived while you were living. I miss the way the world felt with you in it. I miss the way our family functioned while you were still here with us. There’s so much to miss. I know I’m not supposed to, but I miss who we all were before we lost you.


In February, you’ll have been gone for 5 years. That truly boggles my mind. There are days when the pain of your parting feels so fresh and intense. Other days, missing you is a deep ache, an unsatisfiable longing.


We’re all grieving so differently. I wish I could talk to you about it. Our responses to our sorrow are as different as the way we process this loss. Some of us feel closer to God now, strengthened by Him. I’m not sure that’s how I feel exactly. I do feel close to God, but our relationship looks so very different now than it did before. My understanding of who He is has shifted. He has been and continues to be ever-so-gentle with the untangling of what I believed then vs. what I know now. I’d love to talk to you about that. You were not only a good listener, but you also offered insights and perspectives and, of course, lots of heart and affection.


There have been so many things spoken about the impact you had in the 21 years you were with us. I’m not sure there’s anything left to say that’s new. Of course, I’m grateful for those years. Naturally, I’m thankful to have known you and loved you and been loved by you. Absolutely, I’m encouraged when I think of you whole and happy and reconciled to God.


And yet, I wish you were here. I want you here. Life is not the same without you. Trips home feel incomplete without you. This life feels incomplete without you.


Happy Birthday, Pey. Love you more than a number. Mean it.

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