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BRODY: How a huggy bear made me live with more grace

I met her on the beach as she walked her black Lab, Tessie.

I knew right away she was someone I would like to know better, so it was a great surprise to discover she and her family lived two condos down from ours.

She made it easier to make friends.

We planned to meet the next day — same time, same place on the beach. But when we met that day, she was quiet.

To break the silence, I asked her if they lived here year round?

My new friend was so gracious.

“My husband, as we stand here, is dying from lung cancer,” she said. “I just ran home from the hospital to walk the dog.”

I stood still. I wanted to hug my new friend, but wasn’t sure whether she would want an invasion of space at that moment.

She obviously needed to talk, so she said, “We’re from out of state, but my husband wanted to spend his last days at the beach, and it was right to come. My husband tells me every day, ‘Thank you for doing this. I already feel like I’m in heaven.’”

After we parted, I could think of nothing else, so I wrote her a note and slipped it under her door.

A day later, she called me to say that her husband had left this world, and then she said, “Jean, I have to tell you a wondrous true story.”

When her son, David, came to spend their last few days together, he brought with him a teddy bear. He thought his sister or mother would want something to hold.

When his dad slipped into a coma, David removed it from his dad’s bed and just held it. His dad didn’t need it anymore.

But then an amazing thing happened in that Stuart, Florida, hospital.

In that hospital there is a policy that whenever a baby is born there, “Rock-A-Bye Baby” is played over the hospital stereo, and it enters into every room and corridor of that facility.

One minute after her husband Marv died, a new baby entered this word in the same hospital, and “Rock-A-Bye-Baby” floated into the room, gentling their sadness, rocking their souls.

The nurse in the room said, “Isn’t it amazing? It looks like God takes one of his own home and immediately sends another soul in its place.”

All the while, my friend was holding the huggy bear. She looked at each of their children, the nurse and at her beloved husband.

The three women walked to the maternity ward and found the young mother who had just delivered her baby.

She was holding her baby close to her breast. They told her the story of the huggy bear, and with genuine smiles born of inner peace and understanding something profound, my friend held out the bear, giving it to the baby.

Doing so, she touched the baby’s arm and a calm, a strength came over her. It was definitely a God moment.

What a gift this woman I really did not even know gave to me and to all of us. This is a story of death that is positive, and it gives us hope.

Life truly does go on and is a never-ending circle. Each of us is an integral part of this circle.

This helps me to live my life with a little more grace, and it also has given me the wonder of making a new friend in such a life-changing moment.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.