Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Grief: Two Teddy Bears

So...Artie bought me lots of stuffed animals.  One teddy bear - Pooky was the one I always slept with.  The second teddy bear - Cosy - purple with white hearts - Artie also bought for me.  He fell in love with Cosy and stole him (with my permission).  Artie always slept with Cosy.  We would start to go to sleep by holding each other then we would roll over and hold our teddy bears.  When he was in the hospital the nurses would often take Cosy and put him on a shelf not realizing that this tough peacock strong man really got comfort from holding his teddy bear.  Once during lunch with 3 other tough guys he mentioned Cosy and it turned out they ALL had teddy bears. It made them laugh.

When Artie died Cosy was actually the first "person" I told.  I crawled into Artie's side of the bed, where I slept when he was sleeping in the hospital bed in the living room.  I felt I needed my sleep - but it didn't occur to me until after he died that I could have slept next to him on the sofa with the caregiver in the room - one of many regrets.  It's normal to regret things.  I don't feel guilty.  It's also normal not to think of everything when the person you love most in the world is dying.  I said to Cosy, "i'm sorry your person isn't coming back."  I cried.

I am in Seattle waiting for my granddaughter to be born.  I packed Pooky but didn't have room for Cosy.  It is the first time they have been apart in probably 15 years.  I know they are stuffed animals but I feel a little bad that I have separated them temporarily.  Yet, Cosy is at home in NYC with Artie's ashes.  So maybe that is where Cosy is supposed to be.

Death is a strange thing.  Artie seems so alive.  I swear he was with his friend - my friend too - when we went to dinner to celebrate his birthday on December 11th.  I felt him smiling, being glad that I wasn't in my room alone crying but instead out and about laughing and sharing memories.  I don't know if all these feelings I have that Artie remains a living part of my life are true or not.  It doesn't matter.  It makes me happy to believe that our love is eternal and that we will be together again one of these days. He's not in his ashes, or in his clothes.  Teddy bears don't really have feelings - but dead people.  Ah, our beloved dead people. I think they do.  I really think they do continue to watch over us and love us.  Did I tell you, I even e-mailed "Ask the Rabbi" not too long after Artie's death.  A rabbi responded, saying that the soul of the deceased does watch over their loved ones still on earth.  If a rabbi said it...

I hope that whatever happened to you today you were able to find times of comfort and times of feeling loved. If not today - tomorrow. That's the holiday for me - the love of the dead mixed in with the love of the living. That and having a teddy bear named Pooky who can't die.  xo

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