By: JANA GREENE
When my second daughter was born, I wore a very lightweight sea foam green bathrobe at the hospital. I think I had bought it from Walmart. It had a soft lace around the edges, which were soothing for her to feel when she was nervous. It was inherently nothing special, but she glommed onto it, and it quickly became her security blanket. We called it “Lovey.”
She still has Lovey. She is 30 years old now, and throughout the years, Lovey is about the only thing that conveyed in all of her moves. I believe she still might sleep with it.
Much like the Velveteen Rabbit, Lovey became a shred of a thing. It had been snuggled, cried on, donned as a costume, barfed on, and worn as a turban, her whole life. It has shrunk from tumbles in the dryer. Like the Velveteen Rabbit of lore, Lovey became puny with wear, shredded by love.
As a chronic illness and pain patient, I feel a little like Lovey these days. I don’t feel identifiable as who I issued to be.
When I leave this world, I will leave it with my body in shreds. My hope is to be softer than when I came, ego shrunk from tumbles. My purpose only to love and be loved.
I feel shredded lately. My pain levels have been monumental. It’s almost more than I can bear, to be honest.
The trick is, I think, to realize that sickness is not the only thing shredding me. My joints – all 360 of them in the human body – are essentially being held together with silly putty instead of Gorilla Glue. My Earth Suit makes faulty collagen. Everything hurts, almost all the time.
When I feel leveled by the pain, I need to be mindful that illness isn’t my only leveler. I’m also being loved, and I know that. I’m very grateful.
All of us Loveys – tattered, worn, and threadbare – have to remember that we don’t lose our value as we experience the transition from being something the world recognizes and can easily determine the function of, to something whose purpose might not look as obvious.
See, my daughter’s lovey had only become more valuable to her. The fact that an old robe can find new life as something completely different is oddly comforting. It meant the difference between being an article of mom’s clothing, and becoming a beloved “friend.” It meant the difference between the Goodwill basket, and an honored place on her pillow.
So maybe I’m not breaking. Maybe I’m becoming. And in this season of great difficulty, I choose to believe the latter. I have to hold on to hope.
Puny from wear, shredded with love.
God bless us, every one.