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Experiences from Australia 3: Ashes carried in a Teddy Bear


Full credit goes to Beverley Hadgraft the author of the original article in the Australian daily Telegraph.
In the original article there were four different voices from four different experiences I have put a link at the bottom if you wish to see the article in full. I have split it into four parts for people as each person has an entirely separate rationale and it also makes it easier to comment on and search for.

“My son’s ashes were sewn into a teddy bear” – Ellie Dillmann, 67.

“My son David was 24 when he died. He’d been ill for a while. I left no stone unturned trying to help him, but in the end, I believe he simply lost the will to live.

“He was an organ donor, so in that sense after his death he was still alive and that was a blessing.
“We didn’t believe in funerals so I had David privately cremated, then planned a celebration of his life. However, I wasn’t sure what to do with his ashes.

“I went online looking for ideas and found The Eddy Bear Company. They made beautiful old-fashioned teddies and sewed the ashes inside. David had always loved hugging people and called himself ‘Big Bear’, so it seemed appropriate. I liked the idea of still being able to hug him, too, so I went to see the owner, Tracey.
“She personalised my bear, embroidering messages on his paws. One read: ‘Hold me close when you miss me most’ and the other: ‘David Big Bear. Our first teacher is our own heart.’

“I sat the bear on a stool for David’s celebration. It was a comfort to me then and remains so. I can pick him up, hold him and speak to him. Tracey told me she put her husband’s aftershave on hers so she could smell him too.

“When I’m going out, I say: ‘Come on, David, let’s go visiting,’ and he comes with me in the car, just as he always did.

“Everyone knows about the bear. ‘Here’s David,’ they say and they hug him as well, just as they always did.”

Perhaps I shouldn’t but I find this so sad. A mother has had her heart broken by the loss of her son. Putting ashes into Teddy bears is not uncommon, the company called Colourful Coffins sells such bears and I know they provide a great deal of comfort for many. Generally they tend to be mothers losing a child in birth or a young infant which is desperately sad. The lady’s son in this article was a young man. She makes the point that she doesn’t believe in funerals, although I am not sure what there is to believe in? The fact that she takes the teddy around with her maybe implies that she still feels the need to protect or care for her son in some way, and she certainly is not ready to ‘let go’. I am in no way anti this or critical, however there could be potential in letting others help her come to terms with the loss. However I don’t profess to be a bereavement counsellor so I will shut up.

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