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Strength Today and Bright Hope Tomorrow

Written By Mikki Weddle

Human Good Series: What Is Grief, Anyway?

“Man makes his plans but the Lord establishes his steps” I recently saw this and I couldn't agree more.

As I sit here amidst the uncertainty of what is looming in the coming minutes, hours, days, and the foreseeable future, I try to set my mind on things above and avoid the anxiousness that is surrounding me. I have often thought to myself in the last week about all that is going on. I am reminded that I have weathered much worse as a bereaved parent. I am still here after undergoing the devastating loss of Peyton. To me, there is no greater pain than to lose a child. However, I am not without hope.

What has this road of child loss been for me, as a parent? There are so many words that I could use to describe this journey – horrific, hopeful, longing, desperation, grateful, and the list goes on. I know many of you are new to this foundation, so I wanted to give you a little background of what happened to my sweet son.

In February 2016, Dan, Oakley, and I spent a week at the happiest place on earth, Disney World. Peyton and Hunter stayed at home to man the fort. We traveled back to Memphis on Saturday, February 20 relaxed and ready to be home. When we arrived home, Peyton and Hunter were out with friends. At around 6 AM on February 21st, someone rang the doorbell. I immediately woke up and shook Dan that someone was at the door. We both stumbled to the front to peer out the window to see a sheriff's car. “Please God, let Pey be in the back of that car,” I thought to myself.

I will never forget the words of the officer.  “Do you have a son named Peyton Weddle?“ "Yes, we do." "Does he drive a white Jaguar?" "Yes, he does." "Well, I am so sorry to inform you that there has been an accident and he did not survive.”  I went numb and have very little memory of the next few minutes. I remember Dan bracing himself on the wall and saying something.  I somehow made it to my bedroom where I cried out in anguish over and over no, no, no. I could not breathe, My body went numb. I remember grabbing my phone to call my other sons Braeden and Hunter. I called my sister, I called my neighbor, and I called my best friend from church and at some point, 14yo Oakley stumbled down the stairs to see what all the commotion was about.  Before I knew it, I was surrounded by family and friends-my friends and Peyton's friends. The next minutes, hours, days and weeks are basically a blur. I have vague memories of acts of kindness people extended to our family-food, toilet paper(who knew that one would need this during this time but we did), house cleaning, etc. so grateful for those people that just “did”. Dan took care of all of the logistics of everything that goes into losing a loved one in such a tragic way-medical examiner, insurance, funeral home, retrieving Pey's belongings...I honestly have no idea what all he had to do. He spared me a lot of the details. This man was a rock. He and Pey had a special bond-golf.  They played together, watched it together and enjoyed the sport as father and son. It was special. This loss was devastating to him, but he just "did"-over and over. I remained in shock. I felt like I was outside of my body looking at all of these things that were happening and thinking was a nightmare. But, this was now my reality. I remember the first time I actually got on social media and seeing people posting their everyday woes and joys and thinking to myself, "Hey, my son has died-STOP." Or the first time I went out to the store. People were going about their business as normal, but I thought everyone was looking at me as someone that had a huge sign that said, "Look at me-I just lost my son."  My body was in shock and my mind was numb. It stayed that way for a while. Little by little, reality set in. Fast forward 4 years...we just, not sure what word to use here-honored, recognized, remembered, the passing of Peyton. So much has happened in those 4 years but one thing that has remained is my grief. It has fluctuated between gut-wrenching sadness to no daily tears-only wonderful memories. God has sustained me second by second, breath by breath. I feel stronger each day, but my grief has not lessened. What has grief taught me? To let things go, “to keep the main thing, the main thing(thank you, Billy Spink, for this), to look for the joy in all circumstances, to be kinder, to never assume anything because we are never promised another day. Grief has taught me to treasure each and every moment. Can I do this on my own? Absolutely not. Christ alone, Christ only... He offers me “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” I miss my son, Peyton Martin Weddle, each and every day. I look forward to the day we are reunited in heaven. But for now, I will keep on living the best life that I can. This is my story and God has not finished writing it for me.

Mikki Weddle, the mother of Peyton Martin Weddle, is the mother of four boys, "Mik Mik" to two grandsons, and an aunt, cousin, and friend to so many. She and Peyton share a common trait between the two of them - true hospitality. Once you're a friend to Mikki or Peyton, you're a friend to them both.


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