Her daughter’s face smiles out of a photo in the middle of two ribbons — pink and purple — on a pin Andrea Gosse wears. Five-year-old Quinn Butt loved those two colours, as well as pussycats and crowns, her mom said.
Instead of playing with her daughter, these days Gosse is shuffling through courtrooms waiting for the trial of Trent Butt — her former partner, Quinn’s dad, and the man accused of killing the little girl. “It’s so surreal, you know?”
“Every time, I guess, I see a picture or we’re [in court], you kind of stop and think, ‘How is this reality? How is this my life? How did we get here?'” Gosse told CBC’s Here and Now on Friday. The trial was supposed to start late last month, but on Monday Gosse sat in a courtroom as it was delayed to next year, after Butt fired his lawyers.
Gosse focuses on Butt “to get through that time,” in court, but said he doesn’t look at her or her family. “I don’t think he notices us really.” Butt has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and arson in connection with the April 2016 incident at his home in Carbonear.
Gosse said the last two years have been the worst of her life, her family’s and her friends’. As the scheduled trial came closer, Gosse found it easier to get up and go about her day knowing “there was something going to come for Quinn and I.” She said she was thinking, “OK, we’ll get this done, it’s time to go back to work, it’s time to — not move on without Quinn, I’ll never be able to move on without her — but just try to get some normalcy back in my life.”
That hope ended when her sister called Gosse to give her the news Butt fired his lawyers. “I kind of knew it was going to happen, but everything in me just dropped,” she said. “So that makes me a bit emotional because I know how hard the last two years were and I know that the next year, or two years, it’s hard to just pick up and go on with everyday normal life knowing that this trial is still ahead of me.” Her pain is palpable as she speaks. “I just want it to be over, and it just feels like it’s never going to end.”
The unimaginable anniversary of the day Quinn Butt died is soon approaching. Gosse said April 24 will “be sad when we wake up, sad when we go to bed.” But like on her daughter’s birthday, Gosse said the family will try to celebrate and do something fun and happy in Quinn’s memory. “I think about the T-shirts that we’re doing for Quinn with her … the pussycat and the crown and all that kind of stuff. I just picture everybody wearing those shirts … hopefully a sea of pink and purple on that day.” “To see our friends and family in those colours and with those symbols that we remember Quinn by will make that day somewhat a happy day.”