|Critter Stands Ready|
Posted Feb 23, 2010 (Ten months into widowhood)
When Buck was in York Hospital, he and all the Open Heart ICU patients were given Heart Bears. They were specially designed bears called Cough Buddies, to hold against their chests or abdomens after a heart or abdominal surgery. Holding pressure against their incisions would help alleviate pain whenever they coughed. To my knowledge, my Bofren never used his, maybe because of all his monitors and life support machines attached to him.
This odd shaped bear came home with the rest of Buck’s belongings after my sweetheart was called to his eternal home. For many months, the bear decorated a chair in my bedroom. In January, I was having a really hard day and spotted the bear from across the room. I don’t know why I did it, but I picked up the bear and held it tightly against me. I was surprised by how firm and lifelike it felt and was strangely comforted by holding the bear in my arms. As I closed my eyes, it felt as though I was hugging a person; which was just what I needed at that moment. The bear now stands ready on my bed and has become a sponge for my teary moments at home. I never would have thought that an inanimate object would be of any benefit to me. I was very wrong, but so pleasantly surprised by learning from my own experience. I’m so glad I listened to that small voice in my heart. I truly never anticipated such a satisfying feeling and I’m not ashamed to admit how comforting it is to hold onto that silly stuffed animal.
Sometimes, when I stay overnight at my daughter and son-in-law’s home, I share a bedroom with Colin, my four-year-old grandson. During a recent stay, I noticed a baby doll on the floor and asked Colin if his dolly ever slept with him. He said, “Not too much, but Toby (his small stuffed bear) sleeps with me a lot”! I told Colin that I had a bear too! Colin’s response was, “What you’s bear’s name, Nana”? I replied,” You know Colin, my bear doesn’t have a name. I’m going to have to think about that”. So, I have tried on many a name for my bear. The name I settled on was "Critter", in honor of my Bofren’s reference to most animals as critters. Notice the small red heart on his paw. That just triggered another memory. Buck often said: “I need to wash my paws”.
I don't want to suggest that hugging my bear can compare to hugging a person; but I can’t deny that it makes me feel better to hold it against my heart! I have no memories of a childhood attachment to any stuffed animals, but now I am inclined to think that little children have the right idea and are smarter than us grown-ups sometimes.
God knew my need before I did and this Heart Bear was ultimately intended for my use to help alleviate some of the pain from my broken, but healing heart.