The Teddy Bear

By The Reverend Mrs. Silence DoGood

Dear Editor,

I was happy when Laurel Jennifer called me and invited me to her home to visit with her mother Gladys.  Gladys now lives with Laurel and her family ever since it became clear that Gladys couldn’t take care of herself. She has dementia. Gladys used to be an active member of my Church but I hadn’t seen her for well over a year.

Laurel explained that Gladys always valued her participation in our Church. Laurel thought it may help Gladys’ memory if she could see some of her old friends.

When Gladys saw me enter she smiled but I think it was a polite smile and not one of recognition. We sat near a beautiful bay window in the living room and the light on her face revealed years of compassion. Her attention was drawn to some of the stuffed animals sitting on the window’s ledge. They belonged to her granddaughter. But then after a minute admiring the cuddly bears she silently looked at me. I thought if I told her about my life she may begin to remember more of her own. I told her about my Church, my husband’s music and my children. She listened attentively and quietly. Finally her silence was broken. She said “I’m lost.” I could not avoid her tragedy. I continued speaking but my mind and heart had fallen silent. In those few words she had revealed her landscape.

I told her how much I used to enjoy going out to her It’s Time Farm during the summers when the children from the neighboring camps would visit there. She and her husband Henry used to teach the children how to tell time in a non-digital way by using the submerged clock that Henry had built in their three acre pond. Henry died about a decade ago and it was then that Gladys began to decline.

In the past Gladys and I used to laugh about our mutual love of dark chocolate, the kind with the high cacao content. So when I came to visit her I brought her an 85% cacao chocolate bar. I knew she would enjoy it so I gave her a piece. As she took it her eye also caught sight of the fluffy white teddy bear sitting on the ledge of the bay window. It was a beautiful Steiff bear with its Button-in-the-Ear trademark. Gladys took the piece of chocolate and placed it on the teddy bear’s mouth. She wanted to feed it. The teddy bear’s white fur became stained with dark chocolate.

I had a teddy bear when I was a child. It was small, white and had blue eyes. It must have been given to me when I was about four years old. I remember it from those days. I also see it in pictures with me and my family. I loved hugging it. Holding it was a joy.