Sharing the love, no matter how painful.
|“Tell me again why we don’t want a grave and a headstone when we ‘snuff it’, Mum.” Ted Bear Esq. harrumphs a time or two, which sounds similar to people clearing their throats, only grufflier. He would put his hand to his broad, hairy forehead in a mock-Thinker pose, if only his arms were long enough. Instead, he spreads his worn velvety paws, questioningly. “I used to think that was your final milestone?” And he peers over the top of those specs threatening to slide off the end of his nose. Except they can’t, thanks to the neat and precise surgery I performed long ago. You have to be up close and exceptionally personal to see that it’s not, in fact, Ted’s original nose.
Didn’t I tell you about that? Ahh well, it happenstanced like this. As I have told folk countless times, Ted Bear Esq. and I fell in love when I was two and he was new - on my actual birthday, amazingly. (Now there was a matchless milestone moment, if ever I’ve seen one.) So I loved him for a few decades before I loaned him to my actual humanoid-type youngest son. NOT, you understand, whilst said ‘human’ son was still a baby and might have slobbered and sicked up and goodness knows what, all over Ted. No, if memory serves me well, this son had Ted to watch over him through the night for only a short time before THE terrible trauma happened. It was all due to overly boisterous boys getting carried away on a sleepover at our place. It's all very well for boys to be boys, BUT… in a childish version of macho muscle flexing (or otherwise rough-house shenanigans), the neighbour’s so-called human kid got carried away and ripped Ted’s nose completely off his face. Ohh, the agonising pain this caused. Ted actually whispered in my ear that it was all but unbearable. There were tears - and barely muffled screams. The angst in the air was so thick you’d have needed a chainsaw to break through it. And Ted Bear Esq. didn’t look too happy, either.
There were no anaesthetics for teddy bears back in those days (don’t think they’re too thick on the ground even in today’s brave new technological world), but I pretended the first puncture would numb all, and felt Ted believed me. Certainly, he stoically accepted all that followed, and didn’t move a muscle as I performed precise plastic surgery, despite having to stop now and then to mop my tears. Best we don’t dwell on that moment. Ted and I tend to get a tad emotional at the memory.
The glasses are a later addition… MUCH later. His eyes stood up to the ageing process quite magnificently, but all good things must come to an end. Once again, it was his short arms that dictated the need for visual assistance. It was impossible for him to hold the newspaper far enough away to check his football team's scores, quarter by quarter. No matter that he'd seen the whole game, twice (the second being the evening sports replays), he still HAD to read all about it, too. He smartly overcame any self-consciousness he initially felt, fronting up to the other knitted and furry kids; his footy insights being far more important than false ego-tripping. Ted has always known the benefits of baring your deepest inner being (remember, he does hold ALL my secrets and dreams and tears and has never spilled the beans on any one of them).
Meanwhile, back at the ‘last wishes’ department, I explained once again (surely must have been the 42nd time) why we’re being cremated, Ted and I, when I snuff it. There are two major reasons.
One of my earliest memories was observation from my kiddy pusher of Mum and Dad visiting the grave of my little brother who didn’t make it to two years old. Previously smiling and happy, their faces would sadden, tears would fall and the heaviest of silences surround them as they carefully arranged flowers on his final milestone. I couldn't blame them. The poor little chap had died in my mother's arms. I vowed to myself I would never have a grave to make people sad, figuring I’d hopefully dwell in a small corner of their hearts, and on occasions, folk might fetch out my memory and smile at the thought of a happy or silly or funny moment we’d shared. I just know Ted feels the same.
“And the other reason - my golden beauty - is that I don’t believe anyone else will EVER love you like I have, and I’m not prepared to take the risk that I’m right.”
I kiss Ted’s head, and though nobody else can see it, he nods and smiles happily, and we snuggle even tighter.