For a baby no longer alive, Thomas has a lot of bears. And they keep increasing in number. Our son has birthday bears and Christmas bears and even some bears-for-no-particular-reason. Chubby, cuddly, stuffed animals are taking over our home. And this is a bit of a problem.

Last year, I wondered: “Perhaps we shouldn’t buy any more bears,” but all my girls shouted, “We have to keep buying Thomas bears. It’s a tradition.”

Traditions can’t be broken according to my daughters. We can’t suddenly stop buying bears for their brother who is no longer here, just because they are taking up too much space.

When Christmas arrived last year, I hesitated just for a moment and then bought Thomas a new bear as usual. Brown with knobbly knees and poky elbows, it’s absolutely irresistible.

“What will you call it?” asked Sophie.

“I don’t know. Any suggestions?”

“Rocco,” said Imogen. “Those knees definitely remind me of St Rocco.”

Imogen and I became acquainted with St Rocco when we attended the Catholic Digital Media Conference in Sydney last August. There he was in the garden of Mary McKillop Place, his tunic hoisted up to reveal his knees. Apparently he is pointing to an open sore on his leg caused by the plague.

So I named Thomas’ bear Rocco, after the saintly protector against the plague and other contagious diseases. 

Another Christmas, another bear. Another birthday, another bear. Another for-no-particular-reason bear… The bears keep multiplying. What should we do?

The answer arrived yesterday, in a quiet moment.

“Would you like one of Thomas’ bears?” I asked Gemma-Rose. Her eyes opened wide. She smiled. “You can choose whichever one you want for your very own.”

"Oh I'd like one of the big ones!"

Yes, I am going to give Thomas’ bears away to family and friends. I hope they will welcome them.

“I’ll take photos of all the bears before I give them away,” I tell the girls, “so I’ll remember them. And I’ll write Thomas’ name and birth date and the bear’s name too, on a label and attach it to the bear.”

I must admit I feel a bit sad at the thought of Thomas’ collection being broken up. Most of the bears will be leaving home. I won't be able to cuddle them as I remember. But at the same time, I feel excited. Where will the bears end up? Will they make others smile? Joy is meant to be shared, isn't it?  I can't keep it all for myself. 

Would you smile if you received a Thomas bear? 



Thank you to all the readers who left suggestions to the bear problem, on my Sue Elvis Writes Facebook page last year. I appreciated your input and I'm sure the solution is really only a modification of all those ideas.



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  1. That's a good idea, Mum! Can I put in a request for a Thomas bear? Maybe the one I made for him with rabbit fur? Or another one, if you can't part with that one. I hope you find many good homes willing to remember Thomas! Love you, xxx

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    1. Felicity,

      Yes, of course you can have Theodore. I will put him aside for you. Love you too! xx

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  2. Wonderful idea! Sanjay had soooo many stuffed animals. He slept with them all, in a big nest of stuffed toys with the blanket pulled over his head. When he passed away, we had a collection of them on display at the wake, and we had each of his cousins and good friends take one to remember Sanjay by. We kept a few of the very special ones....her particularly loves stuffed puppies. Sooo, we have now been adding a stuffed puppy or two each year, in memory of Sanjay...it won't be too many more years when we are in the same boat as you!

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    1. Karla,

      Thank you so much for sharing the story of Sanjay's stuffed animals. I bet everyone who was given one really treasures it. I like the idea of collecting stuffed puppies! Puppies or bears... it's good to remember our sons in a concrete way every year on their special days. Traditions like this do help keep our children part of the family. Do you name the puppies?

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  3. A beautiful idea Sue. We have a couple of sets of books that were my nephews. My sister-in-law gave them to me for my girls. I remember being so touched that she could offer and trust them to us. Despite him having left us before they had even arrived on this earth, the books are very special to them.

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    1. Lisa,

      It's so good to hear your nephew's books remain special to your girls. I guess there's always the danger that we might give something precious away and the recipient may not appreciate it, or think it of any great value. Thomas' bears may end up at Vinnies. Oh well, if they do, some other child may come to love them!

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  4. If I was a recipient of a Thomas Bear I would be honored to get one! What a lovely tradition you had and what a lovely new tradition you are starting with the Thomas Bears.

    betty

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    1. Betty,

      Thank you for your kind words. They give me the courage to part with them!

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  5. If you'd like, I'd love a Thomas bear for Michael. <3 You are such an inspiration< sue. I love you.

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    1. Sabine,

      Oh what a beautiful idea! Yes! Michael shall have a Thomas' bear. Thank you so much for suggesting it. I bought some tape today to make bear labels. When Michael's bear is ready I shall pop it in the mail. An inspiration? Oh no, I couldn't do something like this without the love of my friends. Thank you for that love and your friendship. Love you too! xx

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  6. Awwww, that's so sweet and special, Sue. How kind of you to spread love for Thomas among your friends and family. So perfectly Sue-like to do that,
    xoxoxoxo

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    1. Chris,

      Oh I do hope everyone thinks the bears are special. As always, your comment makes me feel special and loved. Thank you!

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  7. Knowing that folks all over will be part of Thomas's legacy makes me smile!

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    1. Beate,

      I'm smiling too! Where will Thomas' bears end up? I don't know. I never imagined so many people would get to know Thomas through the Internet and now through his bears. It just shows how important everyone's lives are, even if they are only one day long.

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  8. Yes, I would smile if I had a Thomas bear. To me it would represent unconditional, eternal love. I think everyone who receives one of your Thomas bear would feel that instantly. Hugs to you.

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    1. Susie,

      Unconditional eternal love... oh that is such a wonderful thought. I think I'd like to spread some of that around. Hugs to you too!

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  9. Oh Sue, That is a beautiful idea. I just love it. hugs leanne

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    1. Leanne,

      I don't know why it took me so long to think of this idea. Maybe it just wasn't the right time before. Anyway, I'm looking forward to sending a few bears off into the world, even though I'll miss them. Hugs to you too!

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  10. Such a beautiful and wholehearted generous idea. can I make a request for a bear for our family, we are struggling a lot at the moment and he would certainly raise a smile at this end. If that is ok with you I am more than happy to help with postage :-)

    I am going to finally listen to your podcast with your son as I know it will bless me!

    Love to you
    San xx

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    Replies
    1. San,

      I'm so sorry your family is having such a difficult time at the moment. Of course I shall send one of Thomas' bears to you. It would give me so much pleasure to do this. I think I know the one I'd like you to have. I'll post a photo soon.

      I hope you enjoyed the podcast. It's so lovely of you to listen! Love to you too. xxx

      Delete

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