People who have lost a loved one often talk about trying to preserve the “smell” of the person who has died. Because Leah was immuno compromised her clothing and bedding had to be laundered frequently.
On her way to the hospital on Friday 27th December ’13 Leah vomited profusely therefore everything she was wearing that day had to be washed. Almost the only item of Leah’s that has survived unwashed is her wee bear hat with ears.
Bristol has the most amazing flagship Primark store and Leah and I managed a few sneaky clandestine visits there – Leah LOVED Primark. We usually went in the evening just before closing when it was really quiet, to reduce the risk to Leah’s very weak immune system.
She carried alcohol gel to cleanse her hands every time she touched something. We went up and down the floors in the lift – always making sure we were in it alone – so that Leah wouldn’t have to touch the rails of the escalators! Such a tightrope that we had to walk between trying to meet her physical needs and her social/emotional needs! Prolonged enforced isolation is incredibly difficult for anyone, but I think it’s especially difficult for adolescents.
On one of these visits Leah bought this hat for herself and also bought a similar one for another teenage girl, who had chemo hair loss, that she had made friends with in Bristol.
When my children were babies I always loved them in hats and suits with ears. This is Leah when she was three weeks old.
I keep Leah’s bear hat in my bedroom and every day I press it to my face and inhale deeply.
It brings me comfort to smell Leah’s familiar smell.
2 thoughts on “The Bear Hat”
I know exactly what you mean Vicky. Dad was well known for wearing cardigans. The Christmas before he died I bought him a new one from M&S. He loved it and when he died I kept it. Whenever I feel down or alone I put it on and somehow it makes me feel better. It’s almost 13 years now and the cardigan goes on giving.
Mary, as soon as I read your comment I could “see” your dad, although in reality I haven’t seen him for decades – so lovely that you have kept one of his cardigans. Leah had one of my mums (died 5 years ago) nice soft blankets with her in ICU!