The Velveteen Rabbit: Deeper meaning now facing dementia

Posted by immaggiemae @immaggiemae, May 4 4:23pm

When we were married, almost 44 years ago, the priest added this reading to our wedding ceremony from a children’s book, “The Velveteen Rabbit” by Margery Williams. My sister read it at the ceremony. I happened to come across it on the internet and was thinking how much of a deeper meaning it has now.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter.”

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Caregivers: Dementia Support Group.

@immaggiemae, I just came across your post. What an impact imaging this being read at your wedding and your coming across it recently. I love that you made it your profile image.


So glad you shared this. What a beautiful post…

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