Angel bears hold a very special place in our family. When Anna was three years old and I was seven months pregnant with Dominic, she got sick and I brought her to bed with me. Curtis was out of town and so was my mom… a very unusual occurrence. Jenny was 9 years old and had a friend sleeping over. I remember waking up at 5 a.m., Anna convulsing beside me. That was her first seizure. EMS came, I remember my voice shaking on the phone, I thought she was dying. I remember a neighbor coming to take care of Jenny so I could ride in the ambulance. I remember feeling so alone in the ER, talking to my husband and mother by phone. That was the beginning of yet another fork in the road on our journey with Anna. And it was the beginning of the angel bears. I don’t remember if it was my mom or Curtis who brought it home, but that angel bear kept watch over Anna from that moment on. Four months later, Anna was hospitalized the first time for a series of seizures and another angel bear joined us. Two more months and another hospitalization, more bears came as I shared their meaning with friends and family. Over the years, we’ve grown a collection of them in Anna’s room. These angel bears watch over her.
Now we have one to share with a little boy named Julian.
Saturday morning, just a few blocks from our home, his body was discovered after having been reported missing just hours earlier. Like Dominic, Julian was five years old and in kindergarten at our school. The police have not released his cause of death but are investigating it as a homicide. Today, I visited the site where his body was found and added one of Anna’s angel bears to the growing pile of toys, bears, flowers, cards, and mementos that his family and our community started to honor his memory.