Friday, December 16, 2011


Dr. Seuss

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?


We have many, many, theories about Estella. We could tell many tales of signs that we have had since she died that she is still there with us. When we do they come across ( probably ) as crazy talk or the meanderings of people that need to find hope and rainbows. I used to be cynical but I know that the things that have happened are true.  

Silly things. Some very personal but here’s an example. We were sat a couple of weeks ago on a tour coach in the Canary Islands. It was taking us on a day trip and we were both feeling very down. We see Stars everywhere and are reminded of Estella on a daily basis but this was very different. A family were on the seat behind us – turned out they were from Finland. Nice couple and their young daughter. Their conversation kept drifting in and out and I commented to Maria that somewhere in their language they seemed to be saying a phrase that sounded like makka pakka. This meant something because Estella’s favourite character in the TV series In The Night Garden had been the rather strange creature called Makka Pakka. It cheered me up to hear the phrase which I just assumed was Finnish for ‘Sit still and look out of the window’ or something like that. When we left the coach though we saw that the girl was actually carrying the same Makka Pakka doll that Estella had loved and realised that they were actually saying Makka Pakka. Thousands of miles from home there was Estella’s doll from a TV show that she loved. We felt our hearts beat to a different rhythm.

I know it could mean nothing

To us though at that minute it meant everything

People ask us how we are going to cope with Christmas and New Year and all. One of our theories is that Estella would have been very poorly indeed by now. One of the points that I don’t think I put across often enough is that despite her condition Estella was a deliriously happy girl. She had a life filled with love and experiences and enthusiasm. She had a life without pain and one where she enjoyed so many lovely days with her family. That’s not blinkered – its fact.

Towards the end though that little girl was starting to get very tired. We said throughout the whole journey during those horrific long and tortuous discussions about how our daughter would die – we said over and over that Estella would always tell us. She would decide when it was time to go. Those of you who read my ramblings will know that is exactly what happened and for that we will be eternally grateful and eternally blessed. If she had somehow made it through to Christmas, if she had managed to wear the reindeer slippers that Maria bought her, if she had managed to have the red stocking that I bought in November hung at the end of her bed , if she had been spoiled with the dozens of presents I know I would have bought her then she would have been a very poorly, very tired little tinker.

It was as if Estella did not want our memories of Christmas to be defined by seeing her struggle. She did not want us to see her trying to survive each day. It would have been horrific.

Instead we now face a Christmas season as a Mummy and Daddy without their darling. There are children everywhere and there is magic in the air and in the TV and in the tinsel and the music and the sights and sounds of Christmas. Its all happening around us though – as if its happening to other people – as if its happening at another time.

We will never watch Estella open a present. We will never see her eyes glow with firelight crimson tinsel, we will never sneak toys into her room as she sleeps, we will never hug her as she recoils in fear from the witch in The Wizard of Oz, we will never see her playing with toys or pulling a cracker. We will never hear her sing Away in a Manger. We will never sit by a window on Christmas Eve watching her , watching the skies looking for Santa. We will never have a photo of her on Santa’s knee. We will never watch her sleep at night dreaming of candy canes and sugar plums. We will never see the timeless beauty of her reading her first Christmas annual. We will never see her fall asleep at night face glowing with the sheer joy of Christmas


But that’s fair

And its fair because she lived all of her life in Summer and sunshine and she gave us so many happy memories. Its fair because we will never be upset at the Christmas memories we never had

And its fair because for her to have carried on living would have been unfair

Unfair to her

We always said that when she was ready she would tell us goodbye. We prayed for an ending without drama and pain and tubes and machines and needles and breathing apparatus

We prayed to see her go with dignity and calm acceptance

That was out Christmas
That was out Present

And that was our Estella

Goodnight Godbless Little  Tinker.

Merry , Merry Christmas.

Mary Ellen Chase
Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.

1 comment:

  1. Truly remarkable read. Thoughts will be with you all, particularly this coming week.