One year after the death of her five-year-old daughter — in what police say was a murder — Andrea Gosse says she is trying to fight her way through the sadness and anger.
"I'm angry a lot at the fact that she's not here and, yes, I guess that I do feel cheated in a way," Gosse said of the loss of her daughter, Quinn Butt.
"It's been a very, very hard year," Gosse told Here & Now's Debbie Cooper on Monday — the first anniversary of her daughter's death — a year that's included seeing her estranged husband, Trent Butt, charged with killing Quinn.
Butt has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and arson, after the fire at his Carbonear home last April. His trial is another year away, in March 2018.
"Even though it's sad and it makes me angry, I hope and pray and know that she's watching me, and I can't stay in that place," said Gosse. "I can't stay sad. No matter how much it hurts and how hard it is, I have to pick up and I have to move on and live my life for her."
At times close to tears, Gosse said she has made it through the dark times with help from family and friends.
"I have my moments but I have to do it for her. So every day I will get up and I will continue to move and I will continue to live my life. It's hard without her but I'll do it for her."
Filled with memories
Reminders of Quinn are everywhere: ballet slippers, a stuffed unicorn, a pillow with images of a happy, smiling child, and a red sweater that Gosse strokes as she talks about how much the two shared.
"It's hard to adjust without her. Quinn and I did everything together," she said.
"I still sit down and snuggle her pillow and I'll take it to bed with me some nights or if I sit and watch TV, I'll have it here with me."
Gosse has her daughter's name tattooed on her arm and wears a locket containing some of her ashes.
Photographs spread out on the dining room table show happier times.
"Every holiday and every event was huge … I find it very hard to adjust without her during those times."
Money raised in Quinn's name has helped pay for a playground at a Paradise school and for renovated play rooms and recreational space at a St. John's shelter for women and children fleeing domestic violence.
"It's really special because I guess she's still there. A part of her will always be at that playground," she said, her voice quivering.
"Her name is on the rooms at Iris Kirby House. She did that, so other children will feel comfortable and have nice things to play with and have a place to go, because of her."
'I need to celebrate and be happy for her'
Gosse, who has talked about leaving an abusive relationship a year before Quinn's death, said the pair lived with Quinn's babysitter before moving to Paradise.
"It was supposed to be a fresh start for us," she said.
"We really got our life back. Things were normal. Quinn had so many friends in Paradise. We did so much and it was finally becoming home for us."
The playground in Paradise is where Gosse will go Monday with her friends and family and their children to release balloons in Quinn's memory.
"I said to myself last night over and over again that today is going to be a happy day. I need to celebrate her and be happy for her."