365 Painful Days

It has now been 365 days since we lost Teagan and so much has changed. What will never change is the humanity, beauty and spirit of Teagan. She was a treasure not just to our family but to the entire world – empathy, love, kindness and so much more.

The death of a child is not something you heal from – you are simply a different person. Some acts of violence are unforgivable which does not mean you have hatred or desire vengeance. It simply means that out of respect for the dead and the children of the future you refuse to legitimize their slaughter under any circumstances. To soften the harsh reality of murder only emboldens those who commit the ultimate act of inhumanity.

There is so much to say, yet it is so hard to say. So on the 1 year anniversary of Teagan’s murder, it seemed appropriate to publish her eulogy again. RIP Teagan…

“To see Teagan was to know her…to know her was to love her…to love her was to be loved by her. Teagan Batstone was my only daughter and with her you only needed one. Innocent, selfless, pure, genuine, loving – that was my Teagie-Bear. She was literally perfect and what I lost…what we lost on December 10th, 2014 can never be replaced. She loved so deeply whether it was her family, her best friends, her pets or her School (Rosemary Heights Rockets). We mourn from Ontario to Saskatchewan to British Columbia and across North America.

For those of you who only know Teagan through pictures there is sadness, if you knew Teagan you have a sense of the tragic loss and if Teagan was your family you are forever changed. When I thought about my words today I wondered can I do this? How do I hold it together? And then I thought of what Teags would say when I told her I could not summon the strength for this moment. She would have tilted her head to the side, squinted her big beautiful blue eyes a little and then said “Really” in that sarcastic tone she had mastered. Followed by kicking me in the shins!

In recent days many people have asked me about her favourite toys, games or activities and so on. The simple answer to all those questions is that Teagan’s two most prized possessions were her brothers Stewart and Jack. In her casket she is wearing two bracelets she picked out for her cousin Travis’ wedding. You wear them both on the same wrist that when placed together make a heart – on one it says little sister and on the other big sister. That was her identity.

Teagan’s role models were my wife Stephanie and her Auntie Ali. I see her in them every day. If Teagan could talk today she would want me to tell you not to be sad, that you all look so great and maybe if you had some time would you like to play ‘shop’? Warning – a shocking amount of items are out of stock and the prices are ridiculous. The chef is often sick and his replacement is terrible I would be told.

In times like these, you wonder what can I do? where does this all go? I will rely on Teagan to guide me and as I have walked through these painful hours and days I have often asked what would Teagan do? What a testament to her character that in every situation it has always been the right thing to do. I talk to her every day and tell her how proud I am, how many people loved her and how much I miss my baby girl. Her advice to me has been simple and in priority order “Daddy – take care of my boys, love our family, remember me and don’t forget the bath toys on our next trip!”.

Thee are so many things that are special about Teagan but what defined her was her ability to make everyone feel better about themselves. Not just better in that moment but better about themselves as human beings. There are so few people with that talent and the world shines a little less bright without her in it. Teagan will live on in all of us…in how we are better human beings to have known her. Her legacy will be meaningful and the impact of her 8 years will be felt for decades to come. I have always said that Teagan will be better than me and now I must say Teagan was better than me.

Teags would want me to thank you all for your support and to provide comfort to you in this time of need. She would want us to replace anger with action, to laugh not cry, hugs not handshakes, to kiss our children and to remember that she knew she was loved by you.

Finally to my family – Stephanie (Stephnami as Teags lovingly call her) – she will remember you as her loving mother forever. Jack (Jack Attack she would say) – Teagan lived with us for your first few months of life and you are the baby she never got to have. Stewart (Hollywood she would giggle) – despite the fact she denied your proposal of marriage in the car when you were 5 I am her father and I can tell you that you were always the love of her life. I will finish with the five proudest words a man could ever say – I am Teagan Batstone’s Dad.”

Epilogue

A story I was sent by a couple of Teagan’s closest friends and that I have shared with many of you best summarizes my beautiful daughter and I thank their mother for sharing it with me.

“Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. My husband and I have been reminding them the past few days how much Teagan loved them. We’ve been telling stories of the fun times the 3 of them had together. The 3 of them had a very unique bond. We truly loved spending time with Teagan. But what we loved most about Teagan is how she made others feel. She was such a wonderful influence on Asha & Jaya. She made them feel so good about themselves. During a recent playdate at our home, I overheard Teagan telling Jaya how beautiful she was and how she loved the colour of her hair. It warmed my heart so dearly – and I thought to myself how precious this friendship is. You have been such a great father to her and it showed in so many ways. She was always so happy to be around. I will never forget her giggle and that sparkle she had in her eyes when she smiled”.

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