My oldest friend is a teddy bear who now sits in my closet. His name is Beary.
A very creative name, I know, but he was given to me so long ago I can’t remember naming him. I also have no memory of who gifted him to me. What I do remember is that he has been by my side through everything.
I think I was about 4 when my dad made the mistake of telling me that one day I would not want Beary anymore. I cried as any child would do. I have always told this story as parenting gone horribly wrong but i think now I understand.
My dad had cancer when I was very young. Don’t worry, he’s fine now. I am unsure of the timeline, as I was so little, but I think he might have been preparing me gently for his own demise.
But how do you prepare anyone, any age, for the loss of someone you love so much? I am now a grown woman and was ill prepared for the death of my mother. I had 2 years to get ready. Maybe I was fighting the inevitable the whole time, maybe I was just it off as long as I could. Either way, it took me a full year to be a functional adult again.
So beary sits in my closet. He can’t leave me, he can’t die, but he also can’t give me anything in return for my love. And there is the rub. He is safe because there really is no relationship. People, animals, they die or disappoint. They won’t sit in my closet and wait for me to want them.
Do I collect relationships and expect them to accept “the Beary treatment”? I have tried to put in the effort and do all the social expectations. Phone calls, meetups, cards. It is really hard to maintain that. Even for close family, it is really hard. So unlike Beary, I cycle through friends for as long as they are willing to tolerate my behaviour.
Yes, I blame myself. Part of it is my ADHD I am sure, consistency is not my bag. So if it is beyond my control, is it really fair for me to berate myself about it? Yes and no. I have had to work hard for a lot of things that are affected by my disorder, it just requires me wanting to make it happen. Friends and family are supposed to be easy; they often feel like my greatest challenge.
I hope that my family and friends know that I do love and care about them though I struggle to show it in a traditional way. I already know Beary does.