I received George in Royal Hallamshire Hospital as a Birthday gift from my friend, Feyisayo. She sent him along with the most colorful and beautiful roses I have ever seen.
At first, George was just a stuffed toy. But I began to find comfort whenever I held him, mostly at night, when I felt so much pain, despair and fear.
Permit me to digress and tell you about one out of the 16 ward mates I shared space with. Her name is Constance. She’s in her late 80s and was admitted for a short while before she was eventually transferred to a Nursing Home.
Constance was a sweet elderly woman, but she was quite lonely. She hardly had any family/friends visit her. She cried a lot out of loneliness. One of the days she was crying, no one was paying any attention to her. The nurses were busy on rounds, and my other wardmates were fighting their own battle. I watched her for some time and noticed that her tears were not ending anytime soon. At this time, I was relegated to my bed and was wheelchair-bound. But I managed to hop on one leg, as her bed was just across from mine.
I asked her why she was crying. And she said, “I just need someone to talk to, someone to hold my hand. I asked her about her family. She had a son who never visited. The only visitor that occasionally showed up was her nephew.
Feeling slightly crushed. I thought to myself, ‘……all she really wants is someone to talk to?’
I felt the urge to hold her hands. I asked her if I could and she agreed. I told her she could talk to me — I would listen. She talked about missing home and family.
She gave me the warmest smile I had seen on her face since her admission.
My spirit felt a current of love and comfort: I gained the knowledge that, in my own suffering, I could still make another person happy
So back to George!
The next day, I had George just chilling on my hospital table. And Constance mentions, “That’s a very cute teddy you have got.”
I told her ‘Thank you.’ And without thinking, I asked her if she wanted to have it.
It was in that split second I thought to myself, ‘what did you just do? That’s one thing that’s comforted you these past days. What will you now hold on to at night?’
Ugh! My subconscious had gotten all riled up. Wishing I could swallow back my words.
But it was too late. Constance excitedly gave me an “Ohh yes I would love to!”
Before I could reprocess my thoughts, Constance had gotten out of her chair, and while trying to get a good grasp of her Walking Frame, she fell, she fell flat on the floor. I felt awful and disappointed that I couldn’t get up to assist her up. I quickly called out to the Nurses and frantically pressed my buzzer. The nurses wasted no time — they swiftly ran across the room to Constance’s bedside to get her up.
I felt slightly guilty for her fall. I kept thinking maybe my regretful thoughts had jinxed her.
Anyway, I later explained to the nurses that Constance was trying to get George from me and asked that they kindly help me hand it over to her.
As the nurses were expressing their heartfelt feelings towards Constance, I realized, that my earlier struggle with releasing George was because he had become my pseudo-escape and I was drowning in the fear of the unknown — I selfishly worried that Constance would begin to benefit from an object of affection, that once gave me peace. That space of clarity eventually ministered to my spirit and consoled me.
It allowed me to be a conduit of LOVE & COMFORT. It was then, that I genuinely and joyfully let GEORGE go.
A fulfilling lesson was learned: Everybody goes through hard times — we are all fighting a personal battle, and we need each other.
Please understand that in your personal battle, however dark the situation is, you can shed some of your light in someone’s world.
Side note: I received another teddy from a friend after some days of letting George go. I named her Lola (in cherished memory of my mother)