On October 10, 2020, our world would be forever changed in the most devastating way imaginable.
Peyton was born on August 10, 2003. He was a twin. He had a sister and a little brother. He loved us all so much. He was his siblings’ best friend, giving them all his love in his special way. He loved late night runs to McDonald’s for his Frappe and cheeseburgers. He was a light in all who knew him. He stood up for the bullied, he made you laugh, and he would annoy you until you smiled if you were sad. Or if you were in a bad mood, he would work harder to make you smile.
He loved adventure and he was always looking to do more things. He loved ice climbing, hikes, to repel off cliffs with no fear. He was a catcher in baseball until he was 14; he decided to give that up and to pursue other adventures. He was an amazing wrestler, winning a state title at five years old. He had just gotten into mountain biking before he died. His plan was to practice hard his junior year and for his senior year wanted to join the team.
The mountain he was on, he and his friends drove on the daily to get to the bike trail, so it was comfortable to all of his friends. The night of the 10th, a friend came to get him so they could go grab a couple of friends who needed their help. The driver on the way down the narrow, steep road decided to show off and became reckless. On one of the corners, he fish-tailed around it. The back tire hit the edge of the mountain side and the truck rolled. Peyton was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. He rolled down the cliff and he ended up underneath the truck.
His brother received a call that Peyton had been in an accident and he needed to get up there. We thought he was ok. So, we headed out to go get him. As I was walking out of the house I received the most dreaded phone call a parent could imagine. I will never forget the officer saying “your son” has been involved in a car accident. I asked if he was ok and he said “let me have you speak with the doctor”. He was barely alive, he was bleeding internally and he was not awake. They were taking him in for surgery, and they called for Life Flight. He lay in a hospital bed at Primary Children’s Hospital in a coma for eight days before they told us Peyton was brain dead.
This all happened because of a reckless moment, because he wasn’t wearing a seat belt.
If you have read this far, understand if you are a driver and you have passengers, they are precious cargo. Their life has been placed in your hands. One moment destroyed the lives of all who knew Peyton.
Wear your seat belt, and know as a driver, passengers place their lives in your hands. Those passengers have a family who loves and cherishes them. Death changes everything. Death is unchangeable. Our lives are forever changed. We are missing a link in our chain.
Peyton leaves behind a lesson. Live without fear, forgive quickly and love with all of your heart.