Gaining Her Angel Wings
Peyton's Smile, started by Bill & Jenna Holland in February of 2017, is inspired by their angel Peyton Marie Holland. Peyton’s Smile was established as our way of helping others within our community to “Find a Way to Smile” as they grieve the loss of their child. Our goal is to provide comfort, support, and relief to families that find themselves in a similar situation that we found ourselves in.
When we were struck with facing Peyton’s death in 2015, there were no words or logic that we could find to make sense of the situation. We were a normal family of three, embracing life’s challenges like any other new parents. We were spending time at a family friend's on a Sunday afternoon, watching the Packers play in the playoffs. As we returned home, Peyton started to get fussy, which was odd because this beautiful six-month-old was rarely not smiling. We took her into the Doctor that Monday, and all tests/checks came back okay. As with many new parents, the fear and worry crept in as we cared for our little girl. Later that Monday evening, our fear continued to rise as we felt her breathing was becoming more difficult. As a result we took her into the ER, not knowing that we would never return home with her. The medical staff and team did all they could to help her, but someone else had other plans. At just past 4:00 A.M. Tuesday morning, our world was completely flipped upside down. We did not know what step was next or where to go, but we made a promise to ourselves that we would Find a Way to Smile in her honor, much like she did all of her life.
Taking the Next Step
That morning and the weeks following, we were surrounded by many family, friends, co-workers and community members to support us. We had food dropped off at our house, errands ran on our behalf, bills paid that we couldn’t even process the responsibility to pay and many people there just to give a hug or an ear to listen. Memorial items were showing up at our door and we were so blessed to have such a support system to allow us to focus on the reality of what took place. One month following her death, we embarked on our journey to the Dominican Republic with an attempt to find peace with what had happened. It was about this time, that everyone else’s life had returned to normal and we were left standing still, with what felt like mud up to our knees. We took the time to talk, to cry, share our emotions with one another and how we would grieve differently and that it would be okay. We re-committed to ourselves that we would be there for one another on this journey with a simple goal to “Find a Way to Smile”.
Our mission is to provide bereaved parents with an opportunity to help them heal by offering community, emotional and financial support during the months following their tragic loss. Please consider donating to Peyton’s Smile Foundation in support.