When we used to visit Granny she enjoyed reading bedtime stories with the children. For Christmas she often used to buy them books and the Paddington Bear series was a favourite.
Since Star joined our family two and a half years ago she also enjoys the adventures about the Bear from Peru. In this time, Star has learnt to do so much, Granny on the other hand has developed severe dementia and has had a rapid decline.
Over the course of just under a year Granny became unable to care for herself and now she lives in a nursing home. We have had the painful job of sorting through her house, possessions and selling the family home.
The lady we love is still physically there, she walks the corridors day and night, but the person has now virtually gone. She enjoys red flowers, she enjoys her puddings, but she no longer recognises her son and her grandchildren.
If it weren’t for the staff, visits there would feel very hopeless. Last weekend a theatre company visited the home to perform the pantomime of “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which happens to be Star’s favourite story.
Eddie took Star to watch the pantomine. On arrival Star asked the names of several other residents.
“What’s your name?” she said. And looked perplexed when people were unable to reply.
The carers responded “she doesn’t know, Star – but it is Betty.”
Star was engrossed in the pantomime and when Jack returned from market and his mother was asking what price he got for the cow, (and was trying to build the suspense)
Star shouted out
“Beans, it’s Beans”
This led to some unplanned extra audience participation as Jack tried to “shhh” Star which she loved! At the end Star had photos taken with the cast.
Later Star and Eddie went to find Granny, who was not able to enjoy the show, but for the first time in many months she sat with Eddie and Star and ate some sandwiches. The staff were over the moon to see Star and kept trying to give her seconds and thirds of chocolate pudding!
Then Granny got up and has is her custom started to walk the corridors again.
Most of us would find this very hard to handle. The smell, the calls from the other residents, the fact that Granny needs so much help and does not know our name.
But Star just got up, followed her Granny, took hold of her hand and started to walk the corridors with her.
When Eddie showed me the photos, we agreed that no one else brings such joy to this situation like Star does.
The next day we watched “Paddington” the movie as a family. Eddie and I were struck by the scene where Mrs Bird tells Mr Brown:
“The thing you don’t seem to realise is that this family needs that Bear as much as that Bear needs this family.”
Yesterday was exactly three years since I first saw Star’s face. A photo of a little girl, with Down syndrome with a mischievous grin and hair standing on end, sat on a trampoline. Her social worker had put her photo on that website looking for adoptive family for her.
We were approved as adoptive parents looking for a child to join us. We felt God had asked us to offer a home and a family to a child who did not have one.
We hoped one day to be the family she needed.
We had not expected in return to receive such joy.
I sent a text to Eddie to remind him of this anniversary and he replied:
🙂 This family needs that Bear….