Bea Bear

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I would like to write tonight, about my one of my living children. Sometimes I feel ungrateful- I have so many children, and I am still greedy for this one that is lost to me.

But that’s not for tonight.

Tonight is sorrowing children night. Tonight is the night where I show you something like this:

He carries this bear around everywhere, and becomes very upset if we sit on her, or if she ends up on the floor. Anything that has been done to his displeasure is met with chastisement and a quick tug to right the bear from whatever indecency she has been subjected to.

Her hat is the hat that went to the dress that Beatrix wore in the funeral home. It was too big for her, so we had to put a diferent one on her.

It seems benign. I don’t know if it is. I don’t care- there is no “healthy” way to mourn a tiny baby sister that you never got to know. As a child, there is no way to explain “not coming home.” He’s happy, and he loves his bear.

You may recognize this bear as a “Comfort Bear” from Sufficient Grace Ministries. This organization helps women who have chosen to carry to term a pregnancy in which a lethal birth defect has been found. The bears are for newly bereaved moms to hold onto when their arms ache for their babies.

I am not a very teddy-bear holding type of person. When the box arrived with the bear in it, I put it aside, in favor of the baby book that came along with it.

It sat for a few days on a chest at the end of my bed, still in the packing box it arrived in.

Then he claimed it as his own. He named the bear Beatrix. We call her Bea Bear.

At first, I admit, I was worried- I thought it was a bit abnormal. I thought that he was growing an unhealthy attachment to the bear, that it was “replacing” his baby sister. I changed my mind after we took her on vacation and almost lost her.

Now, she sits lazily around the house, taking up a regular corner of the sofa when she is not tucked safely into his sleeping arms. We give her a bath once a week so that she smells good. She is beginning to look a little grimy in spite of it.

But that’s ok.

I don’t mind Bea Bear hanging around. I thought it would hurt to hear him calling her name, and talking about her name, and using her name on some (stupid) bear. She wasn’t my baby. (I don't really think the bear is stupid- I was angry when I thought that. Really. I LOVE Bea Bear now.)

I tried, at the time, to dissuade him from calling her that. I picked other bear appropriate names.

Nope. All he wanted was for her to be his Bea Bear.

And I’m glad.

I’m glad that he when he was needing something to anchor him in his loss, he found something tangible to hold onto. I’m glad that he found a way to make his baby stay, that he found a way to make Bea a part of his every day existence.

Sometimes I envy the way he has just gotten on with things. His matter-of-fact faith that eventually, he will see her. I am jealous that hugging the comfort bear makes him feel a little whole.

My faith is so tiny right now- in comparison to his. I could get all philosophical, and try to talk about the mustard seed, or Jesus wanting us to let the children come to Him…..But I think I’ve done enough of that the last few days.

His sorrow has been so much smaller than I anticipated. He obviously doesn't understand the magnitude of what has happened, but I think it's also because he has some tangible piece of what he thinks is her, to hang onto.

I have come to realize lately, that this bear is his memory box.

I have my box, where I retreat when I am sad, pulling out her tiny clothes and smelling the hospital smell.

He carries his around, wearing his heart on his sleeve.

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