Lately, I have spent more hours (in a 24-hour span) in bed and actually dreaming than being conscious, you know, like with my eyes open and walking and with clothes on and stuff.

The darkness I am inhabiting right now is all-encompassing. The light at the end of the tunnel is the light from a very, very slow-moving oncoming train. The kind of train that will come very slowly to a screeching, steaming (do they do that anymore?) halt. The artificial light will burn your retinas only slightly before it goes out forever. The train will rust. Garbage, rats, and debris will accumulate until it is impossible to see around the train. New survival strategies must be learned as competing gang members fight for ownership of this territory. It might be graffiti. It might be martial arts. It might be baseball bats. It might be mixed baseball-bat-graffiti-martial-arts combined with a new appreciation for second-hand food.

So, when I actually am let out of this space for a short amount of time, I generally remember it or journal it.

I check my mailbox every single day. Sometimes, I do this just for fun before I remember that there won’t be anything in there but junk mail and bills. I do the same thing with my bank account. I log on sometimes and hope that someone has surprised me with some money. Futile, though, like a scratch card.

Three days ago, I checked my mailbox and there was a notice that I had a parcel at the local post office.

Given the nature of my illness, the fact that I have no car, and that it was -25degrees outside, a day of planning was in order.  A day of planning = a day of sleeping right now. I got up the next day, brushed my hair and put it up for the first time in 2 weeks, got dressed for the weather, and trudged to the post office. I couldn’t use side streets to get there faster because, you know, rapists.

So, I go where the light is. Follow the light. Follow the light. I’m not entirely sure I remember actually going into the post office but I know I emerged with a brown paper package. It was close to closing time for the post office so, fortunately, I didn’t have to stand in line. There was a person whom I bumped into on my way in, who was leaving with about 6 parcels. Being the polite Canadian that I am, I tried to hold the door for him but he wouldn’t have it. He looked cold, frustrated, and tired.

Somehow I managed to get back to my building. Snot was frozen in my right nostril. I stopped at my mailbox area inside and decided to open my package.

At this point in my day, after having successfully made it outside, to a place of business, and back, my internal dialogue went something like this:

Now, remember this passage from my blog entry “Introducing William?”

For the eyes and nose, buttons and beads did the trick.  I really wish that I had taken some pictures of those old ones that I had given away as Christmas presents to family members. I wondered what they must have thought.  They looked kinda “rough,” like brown or dark green or navy blue bears that had been living on the edge of a small city, fighting over scraps of food left by humans in dumpsters.  Wow, that got dark very quickly.

Well the package I’d received in the mail was from a family member and you wouldn’t believe what was in the box underneath the Christmas card! (card pictured above)

One of my old bears that I had made, I’d say, 28 years ago!! I was gobsmacked.

I made this bear when I was 14 or 15. I’m naming her Blue because I don’t remember her having a name. She is visiting for the holidays only.

And, the bear was not as “rough” as I’d remembered making it. At least I gave her a shirt, and the eyes and nose were wooden beads, but I’d say the bear has a cute personality, yes? Here’s a group photo with Blue, Kelto and William:


At the same time, I received my first handwritten Christmas note in the mail from my very young niece. So, I took a moment to absorb the little bits of love I’d just received. On that day, I would say my little black heart was warm enough so that I could have used it as a heating pad for about 15 minutes.

Sometimes, things get dark. Very quickly. And they stay that way for a long time. But there are always gifts, no matter how small, that will be lights for you in dark places when all other light goes out.