Ode to a Bear
When I was small, Mom made me a bear out of the remnants of an old couch. She used a material from various other places—including clothes, I believe as the face. I carried that Bear (it was only the head, with ears and no body), around for a good ten years. He—I refuse to acknowledge Bear as an “It,”—had seen me through many a surgery, or scary night.
Bear was a companion through one surgery, as I previously mentioned. When I was young, I needed to have surgery on my brain, from what they called a calcified blood deposit that was literally pushing my brain to one side. I remember that the doctors had prepped me for surgery, and since I could not bear—no pun intended—to be without him, the doctors and nurses “prepped” Bear also, by giving him his own medical band, which they put around his ear, with his name on it.
As time went on, Bear remained my constant companion. Sometimes, I wish I could have taken him with me to school, but he remained at home. When I would come home from a long day at school, however, Bear was waiting for me, ready to listen silently to the events of the day. I told him all my secrets, all my fears, all my dreams over the years. Sometimes, I could swear that he would nod occasionally as though he understood what I was saying.
Sometimes, I’d tell Bear my ideas for stories and poetry and although he was only a stuffed animal, I always felt that Bear had faith in me, encouraging me silently with his patched eyes, and patchwork smile. To me, Bear was my best friend, confidant, and so much more. He was there to listen patiently when I got mad at my parents for whatever reason. Bear was there to listen when I got my first boyfriend, and through the subsequent break-up, and even when my best friend moved away to Minnesota.
It has been a good five years since Bear became so worn and faded, tattered and torn, that my Mom finally had to literally wrestle him from me, patiently telling me that it was time to lay Bear to rest. He is now in the cabinet in the dining room, which has a door with a window in it, so that he can continue to watch over me. I am now twenty-eight years old, and have had one or two more bears like him, but overall, Bear the First, can never truly be forgotten or replaced, because he is, and always will be, truly one of a kind.
Finally, on a personal note, from me to Bear the First, I am glad that I called you my faithful friend, whom I will cherish and love for the rest of my days and although you were an inanimate object in reality, you were, and continue to be, animated in my mind.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.