'What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.' Our journey after Beatrice

(773 Posts)

Beatrice died on 24th October aged 1 year, 1 month, 1 week and 1 day. She was buried on 2nd November. As she starts her new life as a butterfly, we are left on the ground feeling bewildered and bereft. I read a short piece at her funeral, and I stand by it:

'I often felt that being Beatrice's mum was much like holding a butterfly. I was in awe of her beauty and felt so privileged that she had chosen to come to me. But, much like a butterfly, I knew that one day she would spread her wings and fly away.

When Beatrice was one day old, a kind stranger shared this poem with me, and it sums up how I feel about Beatrice:

"A butterfly lights besides us like a sunbeam. And for a brief moment its glory and beauty belongs to the world.
But then it flies once again, and though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it."

I feel so lucky to have been chosen as Beatrice's mum and I truly believe that the immense grief we must now suffer is still a small price to play for the love she brought into our lives.

Goodnight Beatrice'

I still feel her love in my heart, but I am struggling without her in my arms. I miss caring for her and kissing her. Looking at her and stroking her hair. Singing to her, always singing so many songs. I haven't sung a song since she died, but I don't want the music to leave my life as it means I have let the grief win.

Fly high little butterfly, but please don't forget all of us left behind who hold you, still so fragile, in our hearts and memories. Please don't forget me, Beatrice x

thewhistler Our time in Lourdes was breathtaking. It really was the best week of my life, not just with Beatrice, but as an individual. I have never felt as whole as I did that week. I recall events from our time there with such peace, I really can't explain it. As you know, it's such a small place, and the outskirts of the Grotto are just tacky and touristy! But just knowing that everyone is there for incredibly similar reasons, well that is something magical that words can't describe adequately. It is like being in a beautiful bubble with colours sorrounding you that you've never seen before- breathtaking. I know I came back on my thread here when we returned home and tried to describe how our time in Lourdes had been the balm to sooth a wound that I didn't even realise I'd had. I knew life was difficult, and I needed a 'cure', but I didn't know where to look for it. Lourdes just came along and eased things without me realising.

My girls are desperate to go back in August- they talk about it most days. I will begin to put the wheels in motion to ensure that this happens somehow. I want to go back and re-visit the happy places I shared with Beatrice, and light a candle for her. I lit one last year, stood in front of it and promised that I would bring Beatrice back to Lourdes. I can't do that physically, but I can take her back in my heart, just as I take her everywhere with me. At the time of lighting the candle, I was stood with another mum whose daughter has MLD (a life-limiting disease), and we both promised to make the return trip this year. I went to visit her and her beautiful dd in their home on Saturday- she is still with us and living her short life as best she can. I hope I can at least hold her hand in Lourdes this August, even if I can't hold Beatrice's.

KateUnrulyBush Tue 05-Feb-13 04:18:54

Still here Cup. I remember what a special time Lourdes was for you all. It was all a bit of a whirlwind too wasn't it? Quite unexpected and a much needed tonic at the time. I hope you make it back there too smile

pannetone Tue 05-Feb-13 18:34:33

Poignant timing Cup for the post you wrote last night about your time in Lourdes. I was at church at our monthly healing mass. We always start with praise songs before the mass itself begins. Then just as the priest was coming in during the entrance hymn, probably just as you were posting, I felt a strong urge to go and lit a candle for Beatrice and for healing for all the Teaset. Normally people light candles before the service starts but it felt important to do it, so I left the pew and did. So while you were posting about the candle you lit for Beatrice in the Grotto at Lourdes, another was being lit for her.

I'm so glad that you experienced such 'wholeness' in Lourdes and I pray that you will be able to return this summer with Beatrice in your heart, and your lovely DD1 and DD2 at your side, eager to do their own 'remembering'. x

thewhistler Tue 05-Feb-13 19:24:31

It is extraordinary, isn't it. I dragged my husband there, a Presbyterian by background, and he was overwhelmed. The tackiness is both yukky and part of it. I love the cafes on the sides of streets that would in Paris have chairs both sides of the table but in Lourdes the outer area is left for wheel chairs. U love the fact that cafes have double doors so you and your mate on z stretcher can have coffee together. I love the grotto. I love the fact that someone said to a friend who was going to wheel them out of the 6 pm storm, can I stay out? I haven't felt rain for 10 years, and of course the response was Sure, we will just dry you off later. I love the evening processions with the wee Belgian minors in their helmets. And I felt acceptance two years ago of something I had struggled with.

I am sure you are right to go back and soak up the atmosphere with Bea in tour heart.

Trumpton Fri 08-Feb-13 09:00:59

Dear Cup, your words , as always , touch my heart . Bea brought so much love with her. I think of her whenever I light a candle .

TCOB Sat 09-Feb-13 21:11:39

I walked past beautiful butter-yellow primroses today, bravely showing their lovely faces to the bitter cold, and I thought of Beatrice, who stayed for a year that science could not understand - who stayed to shine her little light because her mummy's love held her here. What wonderful things she and you did for eachother; and what amazing love x

Our vicar has just confirmed that we cannot have the headstone we wanted for Beatrice's grave, the one dd2 chose.

It feels like the final insult really, that we cannot honour her memory in a way that suits our family. All her life we struggled to do things for Beatrice, this just feels like one final kick in the teeth.

It's made me sure about one thing though, I really want to write about Beatrice's life. I'm not sure how, or in what format, but I don't want her life story forgotten. It might be a way to help me keep her memory alive, who knows?

pannetone Mon 11-Feb-13 17:59:26

Saying a prayer for Beatrice and the Teaset today on the feast day of our Lady of Lourdes. x

pannetone Mon 11-Feb-13 18:11:43

Cross-posted with you Cup. So sorry that you can't have the headstone you want.

Please do honour Beatrice's life by writing her story - which is now the story of the whole Teaset. I won't forget Beatrice - nor will so many of those whose lives she touched - but please write it all down so it is 'together'. I don't quite know what form it would take, but could it incorporate some of your posts? They are such a heartfelt record of Beatrice's life and your continuing journey.

FashionFail Mon 11-Feb-13 18:34:16

I'd been wanting to say that to you, Cup, but didn't want to hassle you. I'm sure Mumsnet would recreate the Bea threads for you, as an aide-memoire. I can't help feeling that a record of Beatrice's life, and your love for her, would be of immense value.

FashionFail Mon 11-Feb-13 18:34:36

('Tis Carole, by the way)

Carole, what do you think I would need to ask MNHQ to help with? I'm at a bit of a loss as to where I should start, but anything I wrote would most definitely be based around what I have written about Beatrice on here.

thewhistler Mon 11-Feb-13 19:21:02

I'm sure it would help people who care for sick littlies, as well as their parents.

Talk to MNHQ about intellectual copyright as well.

Thewhistler Please could you PM me about what is meant by intellectual copyright if you have time, as you can see, I really don't know where to start...

starfishmummy Mon 11-Feb-13 19:41:43

Cup, I am so sorry that you can't have the headstone you want for Bea.

FashionFail Mon 11-Feb-13 20:57:02

I'm not sure if any of the Bea threads have been deleted, as over 90 days old. You would want the Baby Bus ones too. If so, they could bring them back for you. Shall I ask?

Why can't you have the headstone that DD2 chose? Sorry if I am being nosy.

saffronwblue Wed 13-Feb-13 09:40:40

Cup you write so beautifully about Bea. I think any parent or anyone who loves a child would love to read what you write.

thewhistler Wed 13-Feb-13 18:00:09

What did you want?

Today I met with a MNetter who has been through the tragic loss of their child, and I found so much comfort in talking to her that it got me thinking about the last 17 months.

A while ago, I found myself on a journey. At the beginning I didn't know what the destination of this journey was, and I wasn't sure I wanted to start walking, but start walking I did.

Along the way, I met some wonderful people. People who are walking journeys of their own, but who took the time, and gave me the encouragement to help me face my own journey. At times, there were joyful places, places I never knew existed. Sights so wondrous, I never thought they were meant for me to see. Other times I got lost, and sat down in despair. But these people helped me up and gently encouraged me to keep going.

I faced forks in the roads, and I turned to my friends to help make a decision, even though I knew the ultimate choice had to be my own. Along the way, I lost some friends and although I was sad and frustrated at the time, I realise now that their paths had strayed too far from my own. I couldn't see them anymore and perhaps they didn't feel comfortable watching me, anyway.

I felt disheartened many times when the road was too bumpy, or too uphill, too windy or too dark. But out of the darkness, I could feel comforting hands at my back, urging me to keep going. I met people who I felt were putting obstacles in my way, but I tried to remind myself that they weren't doing it to be unkind, they were just doing what they saw fit.

In October last year, I reached a really tough part of the road. In fact, things became so confusing and distraught, that I wondered if I too, had come to the end. After a while though, the faces of my children, family and friends were waiting ahead of me, and I knew I must go on, even if it hurt to put one foot in front of another.

I am currently walking through a quagmire and my feet are feeling too tired to keep going. I'm not sure where my path is leading me anymore, but sometimes I worry that it is taking me back to the beginning of the road. That could be seen by others as a good thing; after all I didn't want to start this journey, did I?

But deep down I know I'm not going back, because that starting place doesn't exist for me anymore. Along my walk, I've suffered blisters on my feet and callouses on my heart. My head is foggy and tired and the light in this place is dim so that I can't presently see where I am going.

But today, I met with one of my new friends who has been walking a similar road as mine. Our paths crossed today, and together we held hands and looked backwards at how far we had travelled and we cried together and talked about the good and and bad patches. My friend is slightly further along this journey, and her strong mind and kind words helped me to turn back around and take a little step in the right direction.

I still don't know where I am going, none of us do. But I do knowthat wherever I am headed I go there with Beatrice tucked safely in my head and my heart. I wouldn't have started this journey without her, and I know from looking back that she carried me lots of the time with her quiet determination and innocent love. I owe it to her now to make the rest of my journey and carry her with the same love and determination.

If you are one of the people who has read Beatrice's story at any point, and has offered us even the smallest of your best wishes, please count yourself as one of those people who lifted me up out of the mud, helped me regain my balance and take a shaky step onwards. I couldn't have done this without Beatrice, and without all of you. Thank you smile

Dutchoma Wed 13-Feb-13 20:07:51

Sending as much love as you can cope with.

thewhistler Wed 13-Feb-13 21:10:52

Cup, as ever your words sing. Callouses on the heart, yes.

But continue the struggle, " say not the struggle not availeth... for westward look, the land is bright."

You take Bea, as she takes you, and you will find her too, in the end.

fhdl34 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:45:30

Cup you really write so beautifully, with so much love and truth, it brings tears to my eyes. Beatrice was so loved, by so many, I doubt there was a baby that has been loved more by so many who never even knew her.
I hope MNHQ can help you get all the threads together so you can perhaps start to put something together.
I'll never forget Bea, and I'm sure others won't either xx

eightytwenty Wed 13-Feb-13 21:59:52

Just beautiful cup. What a heart breaking description of your journey. And yes we are with you in thought and spirit.

Trumpton Wed 13-Feb-13 22:05:12

I truly hope that I am one of the ones who helped to lift you.
I bought some wonderful candles this week and thought of Beatrice when I lit the lantern with flying birds in it.
Sat here with tears on my face and love in my heart.

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