He was also my traveling companion for many journeys. An uncomfortable flier, when on solo trips overseas, I'd hold him close, hidden under a blanket, eyes squeezed shut for take off and landing (the scariest times). A flight inspector winked at me one time saying "oh, you are not traveling alone" after passing my bag through the x-ray machine. He was my pillow, my arm rest, my security squeeze when planes got bumpy.
He traveled with me everywhere I went for 30 years, he was wise and worn, thread bare and comfy and I loved him as much as I ever loved any one in my life. I matters not to me that he was a stuffed bear, he was my Teddy, and he brought me more comfort and solace over the years than I can ever say.
I somehow lost him on my trip home from Vermont this week. I was driving and he was, as usual, my arm rest. All I can think is that he fell out of the car when we stopped and I did not notice. When I got home I looked for him, couldn't find him and assumed he was left in the car. The next day when I found he wasn't in the car, the panicked phone calling began. I called my friend, I called the diner where we stopped, I actually tracked down the phone number of the NY Thruway rest stop, and spoke to someone there. I drove back to the diner to ask in person, and rummaged through the outside trash bins where the parking lot cleaners had thrown their dust pan full of leaves and pine needles and crushed paper coffee cups.
Teddy is gone and I feel like a part of my life has been taken away from me. The part that kept me young. That kept me safe. That would be with me forever.
To most everyone I must seem crazy. How does one shed such bitter tears over a lost toy? and yet I have cried harder these past two days than I have in years, feeling as bereft as I have ever felt over the greatest losses of my life. It's how I feel, my sadness and hurt are visceral, and I can not help it.