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Sunday, March 19, 2006


What is a blanket? It signifies warmth, security, protection. It's not just a piece of cloth. One's blanket can be anything.

When my brother was young, just two years old, he had an accident that nearly took his life. It was touch and go for a while and he was in the hospital for some time. While there, one of the nurses gave him a Snoopy. It was a very basic representation. Quite possibly home made. Just white cotton stuffed with cotton wool and black eyes, nose and smile sewn on. My brother came to love it and would not let it leave his side.

While in the hospital the nurses bandaged the doll in the same places as my brother. It brought a smile to his face. A much needed smile, and was probably done for the benefit of my parents as much as him.

For years after, the trauma now past but the scars still evident (as they are to this day), he kept that Snoopy with him. I can only imagine it symbolised his survival in his immature mind. By now it was a dirty grey-brown, no longer the pristine white, but he wouldn't let our mother wash it. The bandages had long since disintegrated. The stitching was coming apart and if I remember rightly stuffing leaked very slightly from the leg join.

Eventually, of course, my brother grew out of it and poor Snoopy was left to his own devices at the back of a cupboard. Until a couple of years ago when, cleaning the cupboards out for my dad, I came across him. He was exactly as I remembered him. Grey-brown, dog-eared, tatty.

I sat on the floor cross legged with the doll in my hands. I was only four when the accident happened. But the doll brought it all back. I remembered the confusion of the time, not knowing what was going on, only that my parents' focus was almost completely off me and that I was worried for my brother but not sure why. I remembered him coming home and the relief and happiness on my mother's face. I remembered my dad going back to his routine, free from the worry. I remembered the selfish happiness I felt that I had my parents' focus back.

A tear escaped my eye as I sat with the doll in my hands. Crying for the lack of understanding I had back then and from the guilt at the selfish thoughts I had. But I was four and it did not last long. After a moment the doll just brought a sense of happiness that I still held those memories in my subconscious.

I put the doll to one side and continued throwing out the childhood memories that were no longer required.

When my brother came home from work I showed him Snoopy and asked if he wanted to keep it. He snorted with derision and told me to bin it. I was surprised and very slightly saddened. But I did as I was asked.

My brother's security blanket for so many years, discarded like so much junk. I hope, in years to come, he doesn't regret that decision. That, perhaps, it was another symbolic gesture - that he was now free of the mental trauma the accident left him with. I like to think so.

Comments on "Blanket"


Blogger Diana said ... (4:26 PM) : 

God, why do children have such rough lives in your writing? :P

This was awesome. My son has a stuffed bunny who is in very much the same condition as your brother's Snoopy and it kills me to think of him being indifferent to him one day.

This could easily be expanded on to make an excellent story or essay.


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