'Mamma told me not to waste my life
She said spread your wings my little butterfly'
Hannah Dawson wept once more. She clung to the leather bound book which she had found amongst her mother's belongings. She could smell her mother's familiar scent; she could see her writing in the book, page after page, year after year. She felt it would be too personal to her mother to read through her entries. It was something which she had cherished during her short lifetime. It had just been the two of them in life. No father figure and her mother never married. She had spent her entire life dedicated to the one daughter she bore when she was just seventeen. She had never known her father but her mother had instilled his sense of fun and adventure into her. The familiar words to her which were 'to make it count.'
Turning onto the first page in the book, she found an entry dated May 1912; the handwriting was beautifully curved and familiar to her.
I am pregnant with Jack's child. A part of him that I will have to cherish forever. Just the thought of his child been inside of me growing at this very minute has instantly brought tears to my eyes. While I am so very happy at this news. Just the thought of not having Jack around at this time in my life has given me the most heart wrenching pain I have felt since that night I lost the love of my life. The thought of raising a baby by myself is frightening me to my very soul. I am a young woman barely eighteen years of age and having this baby alone. I wish for nothing other than Jack to be here this moment in time, even if just for a minute. To share his thoughts of me carrying his child. He would have been so happy, an excellent father. Loving, caring and generous, just like the man he was.
What was it he said to me?
''They've got you in a glass jar like some butterfly, and you're going to die if you don't break out. Maybe not right away, 'cause you're strong. But sooner or later the fire in you is going to burn out.''
I still see his face smiling at me when I cry or his voice soothing me. Ever since that fateful night I have wished for nothing more than my life to end, so I could see my love once more and live eternally in peace. But now I have a reason to live, to carry on fighting this long battle. For I have life within me, a life created by the most amazing thing on earth; a love that a man and woman share.
The letters curved into her mother's handwriting. A warm feeling washed over her body. It was familiar and calming. She smiled weakly as tears shone in her eyes. The eyes her mother had looked into each night before putting her daughter to bed and told her how beautifully blue they were, just like her fathers.
She could hear those familiar words. They were only a whisper but so clear to her ''spread your wings, my little butterfly.'' Those unshed tears fell down her face as she remembered those precious words her mother had instilled in her from an early age, those words which meant so much to both of them.
She pulled the diary tightly to her chest, feeling close to her mother for the first time since her death. She had been just thirty four leaving her seventeen year old daughter alone in the world. The only thing she had gained comfort from was the fact her mother had been reunited with her father, the father she had never met but had spent all of her life learning about. The man who had cruelly been taken from her mother after such a short time together.
She had never even seen a picture of her father but yet she knew she was like him both physically and emotionally. She felt the warmth creep over her once again. She was completely alone in the world, with no family and no one who she really knew and then a thought came into her head. This was the life her mother had seventeen years ago, she had nothing in life just a baby growing inside her and a reason to live. A tear crept down her face, she knew then that she had to go on and make something of herself, to make her parents proud. The numb feeling would eventually pass and she would grow up and go on to live out her dreams the way her mother did. She wasn't sure what she wanted to do with her life yet but she knew her mother would guide her in some way. She could feel herself shaking and the leather book fell from her arms and landed on the floor with a loud smack. She gasped, the noise startling her. It had fallen open and her mother's words were sprawled out in front of her.
She tucked a curl behind her ear and gingerly leant forward. Dust fell from the page and she blew it slightly and felt it tickle her chest. She ran a shaky hand over the feel of the book; it was dry and cold after been stored away in the same place for so long. She almost felt as though she was intruding on her mother's life but then she caught sight of the words...
Can you exchange one life for another? A caterpillar turns into a butterfly. If a mindless insect can do it, why couldn't I? Was it any more unimaginable than the sinking of the Titanic?
Hannah looked over those few sentences, she pondered for a moment. She felt as though she couldn't cry any more as though all of her tears had dried. She quickly found a pen from her bag and flipped the page to the back, writing with shaky hands.
This is the diary of my mother Rose Dawson. The whole of her life is in this book. The ups and downs of raising a child alone. The love she had for that child was strong and unbreakable. They survived everything together and even in death their bond would not be broken. My mother was an extraordinary woman whose life revolved around her one daughter. I am forever grateful to her for everything she taught me. To be free, to never let anyone judge me for I was perfect and finally - to make it count. I was her 'little butterfly.'
16th October 1930
Mamma told me not to waste my life
She said spread your wings my little butterfly
Don't let what they say keep you up at night
And they can't detain you
'Cos wings are made to fly
And we don't let nobody bring us down
No matter what you say it won't hurt me
Don't matter if I fall from the sky
These wings are made to fly
Lyrics - Wings by Little Mix.
Spelling and grammar.