Thursday, December 29, 2011

This week

I want to say thank you to those of you who are still praying for us. 


This journey will be part of our lives forever. It will never go away. It will be very difficult for a while, and I hope the pain will fade some over the years, but it will always be there. We will always miss Anna and ache to hold her again. This experience was meant for us for some reason - God's reasons. We have been blessed to see that it has affected so many for the positive. Some people don't ever get to see positive outcomes of the "whys" in their lives. I will still ask God "why". I know the grieving process will take me through many different emotions. 


This week has brought more tears since our Christmas gatherings have ended and I've had to work on Anna's memorial service so much. My sister took me out for a pedicure and lunch earlier this week, and I told her that everything I do is bittersweet. Everything. There's not a minute I don't think about Anna. The joy of sharing time with Isaac is mixed with sadness that I'll never get to know Anna's personality and watch her grow like I have him. I've had the privilege, yet sorrow of putting together details for my baby's memorial service. I want to celebrate her life! Yet in the same longing-moment, I hate that I have to plan a service at all because I want her back. I want to touch her soft skin again. I want to sing to her. I want to do every little thing for her like change her diapers, dress her, nurse her, bathe her... I want to watch her sleep. I want to hear her cry. I knew it was a possibility to lose her, but I thought we'd still be in Seattle at the hospital with her. I thought we'd still be living at the Ronald McDonald house and visiting her, seeing her improve little by little. 


To all of the parents out there with little ones... cherish the moments. The simple things are the big things. Be thankful for the cries you hear, the nights you have to stay up to rock your child, the dirty clothes, the messy faces, the toys scattered, the little hands pulling at your clothes, the sweet voices asking for your attention... They won't always be asking. 


This week has been harder than I anticipated, and I expect the next several to be as well... maybe even more so.  Matt & I are probably going to be so drained after Saturday. I've had a headache every day for the past... well, I'm not sure how long. 


We still need you. Your prayers and encouragement have carried us through. We're amazed at how many have followed this blog, all of the wonderful comments that leave us speechless and humbled, and the sincere love and care we have felt from so many - and most of you are strangers! 


Thank you. We are so blessed. 

55 comments:

  1. Thank you for the sweet reminder to cherish our babies...it is something every mother everywhere needs to hear... I am praying still,for strength and peace..

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  2. Praying for you two. Asking Jesus to continue to be close to you with His love. Thanks for the precious reminder of loving every moment with my child.

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  3. I am still praying and will continue. Your sweet family and especially, you Alissa, are in my thoughts and prayers. It breaks my heart thinking of the sadness you are walking through. I pray that every day, you feel the Lord holding you, that more peace surrounds you, and there is healing for your brokenness. Anna joy is so special in my heart and your family has shown me more of Jesus.

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  4. I too want to Thank you for reminding us to cherish our babies, in the crying, in the sleepless nights... through this journey with you, I am reminded every second that I'm looking at mine that in that very moment, it is a blessing no matter what the moment holds. Motherhood has been hard for me, and it was through your story that my perspective changed.

    Your words are still a blessing to so many and your deep thoughts give me something to pray for in the coming days. Also praying for that headache to vanish. Jesus hold them close this Saturday and the days before and after. I wish I could be there to celebrate Anna Joy's life.

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  5. My heart aches for your loss, I really have been able to cherish each moment with my babies more because of your journey and willingness to share. I can't imagine the pain you feel or the "fog" you are likely walking around in. I pray for peace for you and your family.

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  6. The comments are fewer, but we are still here. I have followed your story since my friend Jessica asked me about a gift for your shower. I can't even express my heartfelt sorrow for you and your family, and I don't pretend to know anything that you are feeling, but I can only imagine that it must be the greatest ache in the world, and I continue to pray for your dear family. Your little girl is and was absolutely beautiful and precious in so many ways, and her impact has been made in such a short time, but so much greater than many can say for their lengthy lifetime.

    Love and Blessings,
    Heather

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  7. I cannot imagine, Alissa - my heart hurts for you as you walk this path. Still praying, I promise. We will be there to celebrate Anna's life with you on Saturday...

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  8. I have been following your story back when you were getting ready to leave your home and come to Seattle. I am sure that seems like so long ago now. My heart aches for you and your family. I find myself looking at the sweet pictures you have posted of Anna and I wonder how you keep your faith in God. I had 4 miscarriages and lost my faith because I couldn't see how God could do that to one person. I don't see how He could take your sweet daughter from you either. I hope that Issac has made you laugh when you thought you couldn't laugh and continues to make you smile each day even though your heart is aching. Lieing next to my sleeping child, crying sliently, was the only thing that made me feel better after my miscarriages. Hold Issac close and breath in the smell of his hair and know it's okay if he sees you cry. I hope you find peace and that Anna comes to you in your dreams.

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  9. We are all still here, praying, crying, and aching with you. Some of us feel so guilty that we have taken our little ones for granted from time to time. I can't imagine the pain you are going through. Your faith is amazing and inspiring! Your story has reminded me to hug my sweet girls just a little bit tighter during this holiday season and give thanks to God for the blessings my little girls bring to my life every minute of every day! Peace be with you.

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  10. The truest emotion/feeling I know is love. Sometimes that love is happy, sometimes it is sad. It is never completely defined, as the feeling is forever changing. But I would never give up that feeling for anything--both the happy and the sad. I hope that you continue to be wrapped in love--by your families, friends, and community. You have the best little angel watching over you.

    We are all loving on you and your family.

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  11. God continues to bring you to my mind. I am praying for you all. You don't know me, but my hearts aches for you as you travel through your grief.

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  12. Praying and continually inspired by your faith and your honesty.

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  13. God has continued to bring you to my mind as well-- and I've been praying for you all -- in the days since you passed little Anna Joy into Jesus' loving arms. I'm sure I can just barely imagine how empty your arms must feel now without her. But I thank God He gave you Isaac to hold in your arms and keep close. Will be there Saturday lifting you and your family up to God in prayer too. May He give you His peace -- and carry you in His loving arms through these very painful, and yet blessed, days. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey with us. It has blessed and inspired us all.

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  14. Yes,many of us have continued to keep your family in our prayers. We understand that even though Baby Anna is with the Angels now,your pain continues. Though we have never met,I still check your blog several times a day now to see if there are any new entries. We are all part of the Family of God. Though I am sorry for your loss, I am so grateful that you all were able to spend those last few moments with Anna, holding her,letting her feel your hugs & kisses. I am so thankful for the pics of those last few moments. She looked so peaceful & calm,as if she knew that The Angels would be cradling her in their arms & giving her Angel kisses soon. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us. Praying for Gods' blessings & comforting peace for your family.

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  15. I don't want to add to your burden, but have you had your blood pressure checked? I have been a postpartum nurse and your onoing headache concerns me a bit. It is possible that it is a result of the horrible stress you've been under, but there is also a chance it could be a touch of postpartum preeclampsia. Please call your OB doc's office and tell them about your headache.

    Ongoing prayers for you!!

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  16. Oh Alissa you are on my heart and mind...You are living my worst nightmare. I don't say that to upset anyone, but to try to express my compassion for your journey. I am deeply sorrowful for your loss.
    May the Lord strengthen you for today and everyday.....'footprints in the sand'. He will carry you through.

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  17. I want to share a blog with you. When you are ready, it might help. It is called "Another Day Stronger" and is written by another Christian mother who lost a daughter at 4 months a little less than a year ago. The link is pasted below.

    Know that those who have followed your postings are still lifting you and your family up in prayer.

    http://kandjstaats.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2011-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&updated-max=2012-01-01T00%3A00%3A00-08%3A00&max-results=17

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  18. Still praying for your family. My prayer for you is that you can be renewed day by day. God bless you!

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  19. Matt, Alissa, like so many others I am still here. I am still praying because Jesus continues to put you on my heart.

    Jesus, comfort Matt and Alissa in this hour of their grief and sorrow. Comfort them. Bless them. Heal them. Assure them that Anna Joy is at peace, whole, joyfully playing in Your presence. Likewise, Jesus, assure Matt and Alissa that they are in Your heart. You hear their cries. You touch their tears. You rock them in Your loving arms. Always. You know them; You knew them before You began creation.

    Matt, Alissa, chapter 49 of Isaiah is too long to quote here, but I believe these words are for you today. I pray you will be comforted and strengthened by His love for you and His promises to you.

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  20. I was just thinking about the coming weekend, and the place of honor Anna Joy will hold in my heart from this day forward - as each year gives way to the next, I will remember. Not that I won't remember her always, but at this time each year, the letting go of what's behind and looking forward to what's ahead will be more profound because of a tiny babe I wanted so badly to hold and get to know. I'll continue to pray for you all as God brings you to mind, which so far has been every day, several times a day. Getting ready now to go to the airport so I can join you in the bittersweet. Love you. See you soon.

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  21. I don't know your wonderful family, but have been following Anna's story since before her birth. The strength and love you have shown is truly amazing. I continue to pray for your family. I know your angel is watching over you (playing in Heaven with my precious Noah, I'm sure!) and I hope you can find some comfort and peace in the coming weeks. I can tell you honestly, from experience, that the pain of losing a child doesn't ever go away but the sharpness of the grief eases with time. There will be a day when you can think of your Anna with a smile on your face - not a tear in your eye. Until that day comes, rejoice in the time you had with her, thank God for every precious minute, and continue to honor her memory by telling her life story. Anna will never be forgotten. May the new year bring peace to your family!

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  22. I have been following your story since I first saw it from a friend on facebook right after Anna was born. I am currently pregnant with baby #4 and am actually having my 20 week ultrasound today. We currently have 3 daughters and honestly until reading your posts I was mostly focused on finding out the sex of the baby and have always thought the saying "I just hope it's a healthy baby" is so cliche....but I have now come to realize that it can happen to anybody and I am more concerned with it being "a healthy baby" than worried about the sex. I think about you guys often and will continue to pray for you guys.

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  23. We are stil praying, and will continue to do so.

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  24. I have also been praying for you often! I know tomorrow is going to be difficult but please know many of us are holding you up in prayer! Thank you so much for the gentle reminder to cherish the "sleepless nights"...as I have had many in the last couple months!
    Anna Joy and your family will always have such a special place in my heart.
    You are loved!
    Joye Hampton

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  25. Our prayers are with you and Matt. I don't know you Alissa, but I have know the Peppley family for years. What a special family you have come into. Thanks for the blogs you and Matt have shared with us all.
    Love and Prayers.
    Gene and Lea Clark

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  26. Still praying for you dear, sweetest of people whom I've never even met. Tomorrow, the 31st, is my 30th birthday. Strange thing is, instead of thinking about "my" day, all I can think about is that it's Anna Joy's day. I will be bathing you in prayer tomorrow, and pleading His covering over your heart and minds as you celebrate and mourn this special little life, both in the moments, weeks, and years to come. My, how your Tiny Little One has captivated my heart, and the hearts of so many others. I am reading your blog entry as I rock my 3-month old to sleep. It was a very rough night last night, and as she cries, here in my arms, overtired and helplessly trying to close her teary eyes, your words about enjoying the "difficult" moments are being taken to heart. Alissa, I'll cherish these moments with my Callie. Thank you for your tender, raw, and heartfelt reminder.

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  27. Continuing to pray for you all. Wishing you peace and comfort in the coming days.

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  28. Alissa and Matt, I know this has been a tough week for you. The service plans and arrangements are draining and just don't feel real. My prayers continue for you. I will be unable to attend the service as I have to take my New Orleans son back to Seattle. My thoughts and prayers will be with you. I'm sure you will feel the intense love and support from all who attend. I'm sure there will be many there, including those in prayer via the blog. Many hugs! Cindy

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  29. Continuing to pray. Thank you for the reminder to hold our babies close. My baby is nearly 17 he has commented on how he thinks i'm hugging and loving on him too much. I still keep doing it anyway. Your Anna is in heaven playing with my little one.
    Blessings
    Darlene Ward

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  30. Wanted to share a couple links with you guys that have helped some people that I know-they are for later, when you can take time out to read....the first is the singer from the Christian music group "Selah"-his wife wrote a blog telling the story of finding out that their baby had a fatal kidney condition and passed away shortly after birth-it just reminded me of your story....her insight and honesty on her blog is awesome and so I thought I would pass it on:
    http://angiesmithonline.com/2008/01/the-beginning-of-the-story/

    The second is a video I recently saw-it is about 40 min. and was made by a husband/wife who lost their son and deals with grieving-it was so heartbreaking, but also takes an honest look at grief, etc....here is the link. Continuing to pray for your family!

    http://www.flameon.net/full-movie.aspx?tc=EMW15YSW

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  31. Hi guys ,
    I will be continuing to pray for you I will not be able to make the service. God is amazing you will have incredible loving support. Until we meet again my prayers with you always.

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  32. Matt and Alissa: You are in my prayers and on my mind constantly. I am so sorry for your loss of Anna Joy. I pray that your hearts will heal as much as they possibly can, as quickly as possible. I know you are in pain and I wish I could take that away for you. I know that Jesus is holding you, rocking you, and trying to comfort you, I can see that. Anna is pain free now and able to be a child in God's kingdom. I can see her playing and smiling and this makes me smile.Take care.

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  33. Praying for you today as you try to sleep through the night. You are constantly on our hearts and in our prayers. Thank you for letting us share in this journey with you.

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  34. I will continue to pray for you, Matt, Isaac and your family. Your steadfast and firm commitment in trusting God is such an encouragement and a blessing. Thank you for sharing your story, your life, your family and your journey.

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  35. Our family will be at the church with you tomorrow Alissa. We have prayed continuously for you and Matt, knowing that these days would prove to be difficult. As the waves of sorrow wash over you, allow yourself the tears and know that you do not weep alone. I just picture Anna in Jesus' arms, patting his face, whole, healthy, content. May you find wholeness, health, and contentment in His love and that of so many around you. For you are dearly loved.

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  36. Alissa, I know that tomorrow will be difficult and surreal at times. Tomorrow's sorrow is going to turn to joy. You will be amazed at how many people, who have prayed for you and prayed with you ever since we knew Anna Joy was going to be a part of your life, will be celebrating Anna Joy's life and the message of God's love that she brought into our world.

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  37. I think of you often...I am pretty sure, no, I know God puts you on my heart and so every time He does...I pray for you. I will be praying for you extra tomorrow morning. John 16:33
    Love in our Heavenly Father, Sarah Walker (Katie's friend)

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  38. I am still praying. May this new year be a time where the Lord heals your heart(as much as it can be) and brings you closer to himself. You are not alone.

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  39. Continueing to pray for you all and especially tomorrow that in the midst of sadness, you will have the chance to celebrate Anna's life. I say that knowing full well that it is hard to even begin to imagine the emotions that you all will feel tomorrow but I pray that God will give you a spirit of joy and peace in the midst of it all. Love you guys.

    -Carrie Hays

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  40. You are in my thoughts and prayers continuously throughout the day. We can only imagine the waves of emotions you are going through, but you are so strong and filled by faith. Your words about cherishing the small moment are not wasted on us. They have never seemed so important. May God continue to hold you and comfort you. Many prayers for you tomorrow as we celebrate Anna Joy's life.

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  41. Even though I can not be there in person today, please know that i am there in spirit and I continue to pray and ask God to give you comfort and strength to get through. Your story has touched my heart and soul, I am forever thankful for you sharing with all of us. Your story has touched so many people. Thank you and bless you all.

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  43. God bless you all especially today and in the days to come. Let God's presence strengthen and carry you through. Will continue to pray for you and watch your posts. This is such a beautiful story of love, faith, courage, strength..and thank you for sharing it. I am so sorry this is where you are today, hold tight as she is always with you. God bless and keep you in his arms today and everyday.

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  44. Posting another comment today to let you know my family will be continuously praying for you as you celebrate, and at the same time grieve, Anna Joy.

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  45. Love & prayers for you today! And always....
    God is with you & you are so very loved!

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  46. I woke up praying for you today. I know God will cover you with His Peace and bring you blessings as you celebrate the special life of your daughter. Weeping with your family today from California.

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  47. Thinking and praying for you. Your story has touched me and still does. Your daughter is so beautiful and will never be forgotten. I will hug my little girl a little tighter today, for you, for sweet Anna and for all the Mamas who don't get to hug their babies today. Love and prayers to you and your family today.

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  48. Just got home from the lovely service for Anna Joy. Thank you for making this so special and for inviting us all to come and hear the testimony of Anna's life so far. I am continuing to pray for you and to grieve with you. I trust God with your healing, and I thank you for receiving the gift I believe was given specifically for you. Thank you for sharing it with others today, and for showing us what courage looks like.

    PS: Matt, I still owe you a hug. I really wanted to stand up, but I felt like a cadillac in a phone booth. :-) Kathy K

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  49. Your family has been heavy on my heart and on my mind all day knowing that you are having to say good-bye to your precious baby Anna today. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions that you are feeling today. I pray that you will find love, comfort, and peace today and in all of the days to come. May you feel the strength of the Lord as he holds you in his arms and carries you all down this path.
    Alisa, your "ramblings" have touched me in my soul. I can feel your pain and sorrow. I am amazed by your faith and continued gratitude for the experiences that your family has endured.
    May God continue to bless you all. As the year ends, and the new one begins, may you all start to heal.
    Still praying for you and your family!

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  50. Wow... a funeral for a baby is sooo not easy, but I'm so glad we went to physically be part of a community gathering to honor your sweet baby girl. It's 7PM and my eyes still sting from the tears I shed today along with everyone else at that service today. You guys did a beautiful job in honoring Anna and God at the same time. I LOVED what both pastors had to offer us. If you are able to post the letter the Seattle Nazarene pastor read, I would love to study those thoughts again, and I'm sure it would bless others as well.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with Anna. Thank you for being open and real and showing us all what faith in action looks like in tough times. You didn't have to share any of that private stuff, but I'm sure God wanted it of you as part of His plan over all of this. Your obedience has and will continue to bless others.

    As one of the speakers said today, my prayers for Anna have shifted now to you guys (not that I wasn't praying for you all along, but you know what I mean!). Praying for healing, continued strength, for support and friendship to come along side you... you let us know what else we can do and pray for you. Love you guys!

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  51. The following quote from Jerry Sittser's, "A Grace Disguised" was super helpful to our family a little over a year ago when we lost someone...

    "Can anyone really expect to recover from [a great] tragedy? Recovery is a misleading and empty expectation... Catastrophic loss by definition precludes recovery. It will transform us or destroy us, but it will never leave us the same. There is no going back to the past, which is gone forever, only going ahead to the future, which has yet to be discovered. Whatever that future is, it will, and must, include the pain of the past with it. Sorrow never entirely leaves the soul of those who have suffered a severe loss...
    But this depth of sorrow is the sign of a healthy soul, not a sick soul. It does not have to be morbid and fatalistic. It is not something to escape but something to embrace. Jesus said [in Matthew 5], 'Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.' Sorrow indicates that people who have suffered loss are living authentically in a world of misery... Sorrow is noble and gracious. It enlarges the soul until the soul is capable of mourning and rejoicing simultaneously, of feeling the world's pain and hoping for the world's healing at the same time."

    Love and Prayers!

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  52. Thinking of you, and praying that Fathers comfort and love will surround you just now! No words to say, only crying with you,
    Mirjam

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  53. As I was laying awake at 1:30am night before last, the Lord brought you to mind as he has done several times. I just wanted you to know that He continues to touch the lives of complete strangers with your story and call on us to pray for you throughout the days and nights. We grieve with you over the tremendous loss of your precious, beautiful baby girl and pray that you will be able to find peace in the belief that Anna is in the arms of the very One by whom love is defined. Our hearts and prayers continue to be with you as you pass through this difficult time, second by second, moment by moment, and day by day.

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  54. Still saying lots of prayers for your family~

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