The Life Of Jack The Donkey
Before you ask, no I don’t have a pet donkey in my backyard. Jack is my stuffed, very large donkey I’ve had since I was about three years old. I won’t lie…he’s not in great shape. A few parts have fallen off and there’s a band of duct tape around his neck, that my dearly departed father put on, to keep the stuffing in. But I love Jack and will never get rid of him.
The story goes that my grandmother brought Jack back from a trip to Florida and carried him with her on a bus all the way from there to Northern Ontario. Now that’s a dedicated grandma! I have pictures of me getting him and there is a big smile on my face. What kid wouldn’t love a giant stuffed animal that stood as tall as she did?! That donkey has gotten me through a lot of things. He was with me when my brother died. I would hug him at night when I had night terrors as a kid. For awhile my dad had him and kept him safe (the man had a huge obsession with stuffed animals!). After my dad passed away, I put his favourite shirt on Jack and every night for a year went to sleep hugging him. It brough me a lot of comfort.
Jack has absorbed a lot of my tears over the years. Its strange to say but this big fluffy friend is an anchor in my life; he’s also the link between my past and my present. He ages with me. He loses pieces of himself over time, just as I do. But he also gets patched up again and again and is still pretty solidly held together, just like me. There are pieces of myself I will never get back and parts of my heart that have left forever, such as it did when my dad died. Knowing I can curl up with Jack at any time gives me comfort and reminds me of the good memories, not the losses. It’s a tool in my toolbox, perhaps a strange one, but it works for me.
Jack the donkey forever holds the love of a grandmother who wanted to give a little girl a smile. He is the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning. In my darkest days, I can hug that soft and worn bundle and feel the spirit of so many, both alive and not, holding me up and keeping me going. Considering the times we are currently in right now, anything that can bring comfort and lessen loneliness is vital, even if its just in the form of an old stuffed donkey.