Estella means Star
The nearest star to our planet is very familiar to us all. It’s called Sol and we know it better as the Sun. Although its 93 million miles away the light from the Sun takes only 7 minutes to reach the earth. Hold that thought and then think of the stars.
As you gaze into the sky at night and see the stars remember that each and every one of them is a Sun, burning away in the coldness of seemingly infinite space. The distance that we measure the proximity of these stars by is called light years and one light year is the distance light travels in a year. Light from the Sun takes seven minutes to reach our eyes - light from the stars ? Thousands of years. At the outer reaches of our own galaxy the light takes 95,000 years to get to us. That’s just our galaxy ( The Milky Way ) - beyond that are the stars that make up our universe.
What’s the point ?
The point is that the stars we see at night may not even be there,
If the star I just mentioned ceased to be , burnt out or blown apart then as far as we were concerned we would be still seeing it and it would still be there for 95,000 years. It shines its light and we see its light and as far as we know its still there.
All we see in the night sky are messages from another place - but more importantly messages from another time. All we see are photographs of the past. When we are looking into the night sky we are seeing so many stars and many of them are no longer there any more. We are seeing memories and echoes and dreams. They don’t exist but we see them.
When Estella said goodbye I remembered something Maria had said to me shortly after our daughter had been diagnosed with SMA. She said that maybe we had given her the wrong name. Estella means star and after only eight weeks of life we knew that we were fated to lose her within a few short months. With heart rending finality we realised that every time we looked into the night sky we would see stars and constantly be reminded of her. It would be so painful. Her very name suggested that she belonged in the heavens. Her very name suggested that she would always be millions of miles above us separated by impenetrable distance and time. That distance and that darkness would be part of our sorrow. That distance and that darkness would define the rest of our lives. The distance and the darkness to Estella.
Estella means Star.
But that’s not what happened.
Since Estella died our days have been filled with so many messages from the little tinker that even a cynical so and so like myself has completely redefined his belief in life and loss.
I know that grieving parents will look for signs everywhere and I understand that and can suggest so many reasons that explain the inexplicable. If only one or two things happened I would think that we were being fanciful but there is not a day goes by without some little message from our tinker. Last night for example we were watching television and the programme we were watching played the old America hit, Horse With No Name. I used to rock Estella in my arms and sing that song to her - guaranteed to make her sleep. The song played on the radio at the exact time she died on the day after she died and the day after that as well - and here it was again. Maria and I looked at each other , felt a tingle and carried on watching TV. We were suddenly saddened and missing her so very much. I know that songs can play at any time but the very next scene on the same programme had the Aquarium Music from Carnival of the Animals. That was the only music we had at Estella’s funeral. The music that played as they took her coffin away. The music I have not been able to play since. it’s a dreamy haunting refrain. It was perfect for the funeral. It helped us leave her and walk out of that Chapel. Something I did not know how we could ever do.
Probably means nothing.
The first music my baby heard and the last music that played as she said goodbye played within 10 seconds of each other on a random TV show.
Probably means nothing.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not talking voices or messages from beyond the grave. To be honest I don’t believe in that.
What I believe is far stranger
I believe in the energy from those stars. I believe that when those stars die and their light remains that we are seeing living proof that we are more than just flesh and blood. At what moment is Estella gone ? The second she breathed her last breath ? The moment her heart finally stopped ? The day she was in her coffin and left behind in that church ? When is Estella gone ? When is she no longer Estella ?
And the answer I am getting is that she never ever goes.
And the answer I am getting is that she is still here.
And the answer I am getting is that she always will be here.
Nothing goes while it is still there. The stars that fall are still there to our eyes because the light that traverses the Universe says that they are still there. The love and the kindness and the devotion and the charm and the charisma and the joy and the laughter and the looks and the tears and the grace and the beauty and the bliss that was Estella is still here with us every single day.
The light from the stars comes through clearer when the skies are darkest and by the same simple rules the memories we have of our little tinker come through as music on a stupid TV show at the exact second we need to hear her. I really think it may be that simple.
When you look up into the night sky and see the messages from another time you are reminded how infinitesimally small you are. How vast is the Universe. How divine are the distances. How profound the motion.
And yet at the same time you are alive and breathing and thinking and miraculous and you are reminded - how complicated you are. How small is the universe How divine is your emotion.
Our daughter died on 13th November 2011 at 1.26 p.m.
She died in Maria’s arms
We were able to remove her breathing mask and her Mummy felt her last breaths on her face and kissed her goodbye. I sat holding her hand and smiling at her because I did not want her to see me cry.
And nothing you have ever known and nothing you will ever know could ever prepare you for that parting. There is no script or plan - there is no how to do. You just do.
We will never see Estella again. We will never hold her or kiss her or touch her or watch her grow. We will never see her eyes shine with wonder as she discovers the special beauty of this wonderful life. We will never watch her try to ride a bicycle or see her cry because her hamster died. We will never watch her on her first day at school or see her blow out candles on a birthday cake. We will never ever hear her voice. We will never ever kiss her goodnight.
And Forever is a long long time.
Every single day the tinker shines across that universe and gives us so many echoes and images of what was and what will always be
We still see her legs splashing in the bath
We still see her laughing at silly TV shows
We still see her indignant raised eyebrows telling us off
We still see her cradled in our arms listening to singing
We still see her in beautiful clothes
We still see the charm and the smiles that she brought into the lives she touched.
We still see the happiness she brought us and we will know we were so lucky to know her.
She didn’t deserve to die She didn’t deserve a crippling, incapacitating disease that took her strength and her breath and her life. She didn’t deserve losing those special special years. She didn.t deserve being parted from a Mummy who is simply the best there could ever be.
More than that she didn’t deserve to be forgotten.
We are biased but there was an amazing mind in that body. A wise old head that knew what was happening around her. Gentle and perfect soul that took us both through a horrible darkness to find timeless beauty that will always be there. We know that. You wonderful , amazing people are making sure every single day that she is never forgotten.
Like the shining stars
Like the universal light
Likethe wonder and the beauty that is Estella
Estella means Star
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