Stacey Skrysak never expected a Sunday afternoon trip to the grocery store to turn her whole world upside down.
Like most kids who endure the long journey of grocery shopping with mom, Stacey’s three-year-old daughter, Peyton, was looking forward to only one thing on their Sunday outing—the kiddie ride at the exit. She jumped in line behind two other kiddos as Stacey made her way over to join her daughter.
She wrote about the experience on “Today Parenting.”
“As we waited in line, my friendly child struck up a conversation with the family in front of us, asking if the kids were brother and sister.
‘Yes,’ replied the kind woman.”
Then came the question I dread the most. ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters?’ asked the lady.
As I opened my mouth and began to answer “no,” Peyton’s soft voice trumped mine.
Without any hesitation, my daughter answered proudly, “Yes! Parker and Abby.”
The response from her daughter took Skrysak completely by surprise.
“My emotions were tossed all over the place as I nodded along with my daughter. Yes, she does have a brother and sister. But, unlike the family in front of us, her brother and sister are in heaven.”
As Stacey shares on her own blog, “Perfectly Peyton,” she and her husband struggled for years to get pregnant before a successful round of IVF. The couple was ecstatic to learn they were having triplets. But that excitement quickly faded when Stacey went into labor at just 22 weeks.
Baby Abigail passed away almost immediately after birth, while Peyton and Parker were taken to NICU, each weighing less than a pound. Parker passed away almost two months later.
Their miracle triplet, Peyton, survived—and thrived—constantly stunning doctors with her progress and development.
Stacey is a local news anchor in Illinois. She and her husband, Ryan, have been very open and public about their journey through pregnancy and loss.They hope to inspire, encourage and support families who are facing similar struggles.
In 2016, the couple launched Triple Heart Foundation, a nonprofit in honor of their triplets. The charity provides comfort to NICU families by gifting them new children’s books to read to their babies.
Stacey admits that sometimes when strangers ask about her children, she tends to avoid mentioning Abigail and Parker, as not to make others feel uncomfortable about the “taboo” topic of child loss.
“One mention of Abby and Parker usually brings up a look of sadness and pity, as the stranger tells me they are so sorry for my losses. Many times, my eyes tear up as the stranger awkwardly walks away.”
In the grocery store that Sunday, things were different. Stacey explains that their house is full of pictures and momentos of Abby and Parker, and she knows that Peyton shares a special “triplet connection” with her siblings.
“For the first time in my daughter’s 3 ½ years of life, she talked about her brother and sister without my help.”
As Stacey and Peyton left the people in line at the kiddie ride, Stacey admits she was overwhelmed with both joy and sadness.
“The years ahead will get trickier as my daughter grows up and has questions about her siblings and her survival. But in this moment, I felt so much love.”