when I was 6, my parents and I moved from our little house in Martinez, a Buenos Aires suburb to one in
Coghlan. It was called that because the nearby train station was called in
honour of an English railway engineer.
I remember very well that I was inside a splendid tub playing with a tiny muñequito. When my mother drained the tub, the little toy disappeared down the drain. I cried and cried. I believe this may have been my first understanding of the tragedy of loss.
Before the opening of my rose garden to the Vancouver Rose Society in early June I was cleaning up my laneway garden and I noticed something black and white inside my splendid Rosa ‘Souvenir du Docteur Jamain’. What I found was a slightly dirty stuffed panda bear. I brought it in and washed and dried it.
I felt sorry for it as it may have been a child’s cherished toy. How did it get to my lane? Did somebody consciously throw it away?
When I was 6 I slept with a tiny yellow pillow between my legs. In hot Buenos Aires summer evenings the coolness of the pillow between my legs was a kept secret among the Filipinos, so my mother told me. Later on I found out that it was called a mistress.
By the time I was 8, the pillow disappeared. I cried and my mother told me I was too grown up to have a little pillow. I was not yet to learn of the Peanuts comic strip security blanket.
Sometime in late June I went to Richmond and stopped at Ikea looking to replace a solar light for my garden. It was there that I spotted a wall of panda bears just like the one I had found.
I look at it and wonder if the little boy or little girl that owned it learned of the loss. At the same time I was sorry for this lonely and inanimate little bear. For me, embedded somewhere inside it, are the care, attention and love of the child that might have hugged it when retiring for the night.
Was the loss of that muñequito so long ago my first awareness of death? I believe so.
My osito has a new home.