Almost two years ago, I made a providential trip to see mom in California. I had shared with a couple of close friends my fears – mostly fear of the unknown. One of them who had gone through similar circumstances had suggested that we take mom to get a teddy bear or baby doll. It is a controversial issue to use baby doll therapy for dementia patients as folks find it distressing that our loved ones seemingly regress to a childlike state as they coddle and care for a doll. I haven’t really tried it except to say we tried the teddy bear.
Despite the protests from family, they acquiesced and took us to a Build-a-Bear workshop in a nearby mall. No one really knew how mom would react to going into a toy store. I personally love stuffed animals so would not take offense if someone gave me a gift card or treated me to such a place. But mom never really took to toys – it could be that her childhood was during a time of war so she and her family never had anything extra to include dolls or play things.
Mom walked in and you would have thought there was no one else in the busy place. She exclaimed over all the “cute” animals. We told her that she could select one that she’d take home and make hers. She was overjoyed!
She chose a simple bear that we took to get stuffing in. On the way, we stopped to pick out four hearts, write our initials on them and inserted into mom’s bear before he was sewn up. Mom exclaimed happily during the whole time. The best part was when we asked her what she wanted to name her bear and she proudly announced that his name was Noah. Mom loves Noah.
The avatar for this blog is a picture of our hands with our hearts on them. Every time I look at the picture, I am reminded of what it represents. Three families, three full lives came out of the one. At the time the picture was taken, it represented 233 years of living (between the four of us), 20 people in the immediate circle and countless others in the extended family. The picture reminds me of laughter and tears, hardship and times of plenty, togetherness and separation, similarities and differences, hopes and dreams, and best of all love. I would have to truly say that a picture paints so much more than a thousand words.