She was a ray of light in our lives, her smile was infectious, her loving and caring nature out shone her years.
How one small mistake can make a huge difference to so many lives.
On the morning of the 28th of August 2002 at the end of the Summer break, her uniform lay already folded at the end of her bed, her schoolbag ready with her new copies and pencils, the Nike runners she earned from doing small chores where waiting at the end of the bed for the first day back at school. Little did we know what kind of changes that day would bring.
As a young enough mother, 29, I felt I was aware of the dangers of most of the drugs and trends around at the time. I was involved in the community so would hear what was new and what to watch out for. Unfortunately, there was something that had crept back into the area we lived in, something that had been around maybe when I was around 12 or so. I do know if I had had been aware this was a new trend happening locally, I would have spoken to my children about the dangers. When I was 13 a local boy who was close in age had died from a similar trend. I to this day remember how much it affected us all as children.
Experimenting I suppose, curious, even, this is probably what caused two friends to try sniffing deodorant from an aerosol can. I am sure we have all tried silly things at some stage growing up, but how hard it was to take, that the one silly thing she done, she paid with her life. This was so out of character for her. She was the middle child and always advised her younger sister of the dangers around strangers and other issues that could cause harm. She was a wonderful friend to so many, she was involved in sport and was a firm favourite with her teachers and principal.
Not sure if I can put into words the feeling when you find out something is wrong, standing in the hospital waiting to hear the words “she’ll be fine”, looking on as the doctors and nurses try so hard to help her. This sixth sense nearly, knowing deep down something just is not good. This burning feeling in your chest, each breath a struggle, tears flowing down your cheeks the immense feeling of disbelief. When the doctor and nurse come to tell you, the words no mother should ever have to hear. “She is Gone.”
My beautiful, loving, caring and funny girl was gone, without ever saying “goodbye”. A daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, and friend. Our hearts ripped into a million pieces, our lives where crushed. This did not just affect us as a family, but us as a community. Her classmates cried for weeks; her friends still cry. We though as a family to this day still grieve. For many years, the pain we went through daily not having her around was severe. I did try. I told myself “if I fall, my girls will too”. It is so hard to carry on without your child, it is not natural to have to. To watch your children and family grieving is just heart breaking. For many years, the heartache just did not let up, and I remember people saying give it time. I used to frown at these people, I really felt this pain could never go away. I would write to her in a copy, tell her how I was feeling, I would spend hours putting words on paper. I spent every weekend at her graveside. Bought gifts for each birthday and Christmas and put them on her stand.
My husband and I felt we had to try and change things, we decided to move to a new house as the memories where too hard to take. My eldest daughter was also struggling as she had so much blame towards the other girl who was with her that day. She lived a few doors away, and I saw the anger and hurt building each day within my daughter. The day before we were due to move, I felt ‘I have made the wrong choice, what was I thinking, how could I leave the place we shared so much together’. I could talk to her here, so I did.
I went to bed that night, with so many mixed emotions. I pleaded with my daughter to give me a sign, to show me I was making the right decision.
The next morning the sun was shining. It came right through the window at the top of the landing and lit up the upstairs floor. I proceeded down the stairs, still feeling very unsure of my decision. Her stand with all her little toys, pictures and memorabilia still stood in the hall. I had not packed away these item’s yet. As I approached the end of the staircase a butterfly came in sight. Circling around and around her stand was this beautiful white butterfly. My daughter had just given me the sign I needed, I believe to this day, this was her way of telling us to get up and fly. We did fly that day and it did take many years to come to terms with her passing. What I have learned though is there is no timeframe, just have faith in yourself and just put one foot in front of the other. There will still be bad days but a lot less than before. You can focus on the new lives that have come into your world and know she will always be watching over them.
But I will always watch for the beautiful white butterfly, that gracefully dances around the garden in the Summer sunshine. I will always feel a great sense of calm when one is around. I will gaze, smile, and say hello and think of my beautiful girl, my little white butterfly.
In Memory of our Megan.