The Teddy Bear

This is a very sensitive story, but it is a story that shaped me into who I am.  It was a turning point in my childhood and probably one of the more traumatic events I had experienced as a child.  

I remember the very last time I saw my mom before she was gone forever.  She gave me this white teddy bear and told me, "anytime you miss me, just give this bear a big hug."   It became my favorite bear and she must have bought it around Christmas time.  I had many stuffed animals that I had accumulated over time, but none compared to this one.  It had a vest on with holly leaves and berries on it.  It was white with eyes that had cute little fake eyelids.  It was a good size too.  There was a tag on it that said its name was "Holly."  So "Holly" is what I had called it.  Needless to say, that bear had many hugs during the time that I had it. 


When I was 9 years old, I was transferred to West Hills Hospital and then to a new foster home.  I got settled in and all of my things came from my prior foster home.  I had boxes upon boxes of things as my prior foster family had taken very good care of me.  My new foster parents were astonished that I had so many belongings and there wasn't room for it all.  They gave me a round tub and told me I can keep anything that could fit in that tub.  Everything else had to be thrown away.  I complied and managed to fit many things that I wanted to keep while having to throw away most items.  They allowed me to keep all my stuffed animals and let me keep them in my room.  This was a big deal because we weren't allowed to have toys of any kind in our room at the time. 


About a few weeks into my new placement, I had head lice.  My foster parents made me put all my stuffed animals in a trash bag and put it in the garage to suffocate any lice.  They said I could have them back after 'xx' amount of time.  A few weeks went by and I started to get suspicious about if the bag was even still in the garage.  We were in the process of moving into a new house and there were some things being put in the garage.  It had clicked with me that I recently hadn't seen the black garbage bag I had put out there.  One day, I waited until nobody was looking and snuck out to the garage to see if I could find the bag. (we weren't allowed in the garage)  There were some bags of clothes out there, but my bag of stuffed animals were nowhere to be found.  The garage was fairly empty and there wasn't much out there so it would have been easy to locate.  I knew my new family wouldn't understand why the bear was so important to me and I didn't tell them about it.  After all, they had just made me get rid of all sorts of things - why would the bear be any different?  I knew I couldn't get any attention from kicking and screaming like I used to in my prior placement, so I kept it in.  From this night and nearly every night after for what felt like months, I would cry myself to sleep because I no longer had my bear next to me.  Not only did I lose that bear, but I had lost the very last connection I had to my birth mother.  Was this bag thrown out intentionally?  Was it an accident and someone thought it was trash?  Was it maybe in a donation pile?  While I would like to think it was one of the nicer options, in my head, I always thought it was intentional.  They made a big fuss of how much stuff I had and who wants to bring something back inside that may have had head lice?  To me, it would be hard to mistake a bag full of stuffed animals for a bag full of clothes.  I never asked about it and felt I had to act like a "big boy" and learn to just deal with these things.  So I acted normal during the day and broke down after I went to bed each night.   


This event changed me as a person.  I immediately grew up and complied with everything that I was told to do.  I followed directions and became the best behaved kid they had ever had.  So good that my level and scores were higher than anyone else who had been through their program.  I held this level for a matter of years.  It was like the child in me literally died inside and had no longer existed.  Nobody could figure out why I didn't have any toys after this point.  I would never play video games and to this day, I still don't.  I was even once invited to Disneyland by a neighbor and wasn't even excited about it.  All of my requests entailed furniture, pets, high tech gadgets and such.  There was nothing childlike about me and nobody could figure out why I went from such intense tantrums in my prior placement, to being so adult like in my new placement.   I was a mystery that nobody could figure out because I learned to keep my feelings in and not share them.  I was a perfect child because I was dead inside.  For the first time ever, they now know exactly what happened.


Full transparency, I will be sharing reports that show exactly how I behaved as a child after this event.​  Stay tuned.