I found this little guy living in the toy box at my chiropractor’s office. Most people won’t know the significance of this little penguin. But I do. And so does Dr. Ron and Ursula at McKenzie Wellness Centre.
When I handed out penguins 10 years ago, I had no idea that they would still be treasured 10 years later. Thanks to the generosity of London Drugs, in September 2007 I handed out nearly 400 TY Beanie Babies Slapshot Penguins Jacob’s school peers and to others who were also grieving the loss of my son. You can read more about My Penguin Story here and here.
I gave Dr. Ron this TY Beanie Penguin (his official name is Slapshot, but I like to call these guys little Petey Penguins) back in 2007 shortly after my son, Jacob, passed away.
I have been a patient of Dr. Ron’s since he opened his practice in Douglasdale in the early 2000’s. We have gotten to know each other over the years and he has known both of my sons. I know Dr. Ron and his lovely wife, Ursula, haven’t forgotten Jacob. We chat about him on occasion and chuckle over Jacob’s love of Lego and the kids’ area at the old office. And Dr. Ron and Ursula are just as kind to Jacob’s younger brother as they were to Jacob. I am honoured to have these people in my life.
That their penguin is still in the toy box after all these years, means so much to me. It gets washed and cared for and played with on a regular basis. It is treasured. This warms my heart.
Where are they now?
Occasionally, I run into other people who have penguins that I don’t see very often.
In fact, this past year, Jacob’s grade one teacher approached me in the Costco parking lot. We had a quick catch up and shared hugs, but what struck me the most was that she told me that she still has her penguin. He lives in her classroom and the kids get to play with it, although Mrs. Howey does explain its significance first and asks that they treat it with care.
Sometimes I let my mind wander and wonder where Jacob’s penguins are now. Who still has them? The kids who received them would be around 18 years old and some of them will be off to college. Did these little penguins help them grieve their friend? Did they keep them?
Once I head down this road, I always come to one little boy, Jonathan. I don’t know his last name. On the day we handed out the little penguins, Jonathan cried so much and held onto Jacob’s real Petey Penguin so tight and didn’t want to give him back to me. A couple years later, at a tree planting and remembrance ceremony at Douglasdale School, I was able to give Jonathan an exact replica of Jacob’s Petey Penguin. He was still so sad. I hope that Petey #2 gave him comfort over the years. Whenever I think of this little boy, who’s now a young man, I send him love wherever he may be.
Jacob’s penguins are his legacy. They keep his memory alive for those who received a penguin.
But the penguins are also my legacy. My legacy of love for my boy. And my legacy of love for all the grieving hearts I saw around me.
If you have one of these special penguins, I’d love to hear your penguin tales. Drop me a line or leave a comment below.
I’m off to cuddle Jacob’s Petey because I need a little penguin love myself.