I have dreaded this day for weeks and now that we are here I know why. I never expected it to be different and I don't expect it will change in the future. They say that time heals all wounds but the loss of a child is not a wound, more like an amputation. We visited Teagan's grave as I could not imagine Father's Day without her. Teag's 3 year old brother updated her on current events as he is only now beginning to understand the permanency of her death and he is not happy about it. Few things are sadder to watch than the suffering of children who have needlessly lost a sibling.
As a father, your primary job is to keep your kids safe; when your child is murdered you clearly did not achieve that seemingly simple goal. When the murderer is her mother you feel complicit in the horrific, barbaric and senseless act. No doubt any parent who has lost a child deals with the inevitable guilt of living on without your precious offspring. I am no different and have spent most of this month in some form of emotional turbulance. I just so desperately want to hear Teagan call for her "Daddy" or "Dad" (with a Southern 'aaaa' drawl). I only hope she was not calling that out as she was murdered or perhaps I do or I don't really know ....when your child is murdered there are so many questions, unknowns and unanswerable questions. I do know that however she died, she knew her Daddy, Stephnamie, Stewie and Jacker loved her.
I am without question a flawed person whose life is full of accomplishment, mistakes, memories, regrets and everything in between. However, I take great pride in my relationship with Teagan and the bond we created under unnecessarily difficult circumstances - frankly it was my greatest accomplishment. Teagan got everything I was capable of offering and amazingly made me so much better than I ever could have been without her. I am a better father, CEO, coach, brother, friend and citizen because of Teagan Batstone. I see a similar influence in Stewart and Jack. We talk about the impact she had on our lives every single day and in addition to missing her there is this deep sense of awe and respect for the power she had. In many ways that is what makes her death so hard to comprehend.
I am blessed to have a wonderful wife, loving step-son and adorable toddler. My pain does not diminish their beauty or love in any way for it is the fuel that keeps me going. In most ways I am extremely fortunate but I would give all of it up to have Teagan back living with our family.