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Does your BJD replace someone you’ve lost?

Jun 12, 2012

    1. [I searched the forums best I could and didn’t find this subject already covered; if I passed over it on accident though, feel free to delete this thread.]

      I’ve come across a few threads containing subject matter on dolls as replacement children, dolls as friends and comfort—but do you or someone you know use the dolls as a comfort for the death of real person?

      Three years ago I lost a child, and even today it is still a devastating blow. I rarely talk to my family about the pain and just recently I’ve been opening up to my fiancé about it. Since last October, I have gained two YoSDs, Finch and Connor, and I care for them in a way I would a child; I see them as a way to fill the void in my heart.

      Has anyone else ever experienced this with their dolls? Maybe they are not filling the void of a loss child—perhaps a lover, friend, parent, sibling?
    2. People handle loss differently. Some people look to fill voids with other things or to simply concentrate their attention onto something that gives them joy, which in turn takes the focus off the pain. Some could argue that this is avoidance or denial and that by doing so one is simply prolonging the pain rather than dealing with it. I'm never that quick to judge how a person copes with loss. It is something that we all must do on our own individual terms. Whether coping involves more time playing dolls or more time ignoring our dolls - it isn't for anyone else to really have an opinion.
    3. I bought my first bjd not long after my daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumour. She died 3 years ago after a 2 year battle. For me the dolls were an escape from reality, something safe that I had control of in contrast to what was going on with the rest of my life.

      I think that if having them helps, even in a small way, it's worth it. I also find that taking pictures of them and sewing for them helps keep my mind busy and stops me dwelling on sad memories. I have photos of her with my first bjd and they are so precious to me because she loved her too. :)
    4. I'm very sorry for your loss and I'm glad you're finding it easier to talk about it now.

      Personally I don't have any dolls of people I lost, not because I think it's inappropriate or morbid, but because for me my dolls are purely fun, fairly simple, rather frivolous things that I try not to endow with too much meaning and significance. I have other creative outlets for that; poetry, for example. They're all rather "dark" because they're Gothic dolls, but it's typical fun silly over-the-top Gothic rather than anything deliberately psychologically penetrating.

      But I do really love that this hobby helps so many people in dealing with painful subjects, whether that's grieving, a past trauma, or mental/bodily disabilities. My dolls do help me in certain ways, but mainly it's by being so silly and meaningless. A lot of my life most of the time seems rather gloomy and portentous, but my dolls are always just a bit of fluff in comparison, which really takes me out of myself.
    5. Thank you all for your wonderful input—it really helps me to know that not only am I not alone in using BJDs as a coping mechanism, but to know there are people who don’t find it strange or negative.
    6. While I don't have a doll to "replace" a person, my BlueFairy tommy is named after my best friend that passed away unexpectedly almost 6 years ago. That was the most devastating thing I've ever experienced. My doll will never come anywhere even close to what Matt was to me, but naming the doll after him and giving the doll a couple of his traits does help sometimes. Aside from first name and a couple of similar interests, the doll is NOTHING like my friend, but still a little piece of him, I guess?

      I DID consider getting a bjd dog after my 14 year old Jack Russell had to be put down last summer, but I couldn't find one that fit her look, so I didn't do it.

      I do use my dolls as an escape from the real world. I don't live in their fantasy world, but I do role play them or sometimes go sit in their room just to relax. It's a nice escape when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, to just disappear from real life, shut it out, and live in fantasy for an hour or so.
    7. My cat of 17 years died a few months ago, and I am getting a Luts Persi in her honor.
    8. My step mother died of a brain tumor very suddenly. We didn't know she had a tumor. She was my parent, blood or not, I grew up with her and lived with her my whole life. I turned to BJD in my suffering and its my healing for me. My kid delf ani is my comfort and in a way a best friend. I can't talk to others always, even my boyfriend as he doesn't understand, and for me she is always there and there is times I don't want to talk about it to others (this usually is the case.) and I'll just hold my Ra (KD Ani). My dolls keep me away from dwelling on memories. They help me not think about anything and just be in my safe place. Its really a healing place for me.
    9. In a way, dolls have replaced my desire for a second child. Sadly this doesn't seem to be in the cards for me and my first and new husband.
    10. Non of my dolls could ever possibly replace loved ones I've lost. However, when my grandmother passed away, I did buy my FCS F22 girl, Victoria, with part of my inheritance money; I think of her as like a last ever birthday present from my grandmother. It's a nice way to remember my grandmother, but I'm under no illusions that a doll can ever replace a living, breathing person - and I don't think it would be healthy to be that obsessed and emotionally invested in a doll like that.
    11. Wow I'm seriously tearing up at your stories, well done to everyone for being strong enough to talk about your experiences and thankyou for sharing them. I could see myself buying a doll in memory of my Cat when the time comes that she goes to the other side, in much the same way people replace a pet that's passed over by getting another pet - I cared for my cat greatly as a kitten and was with her 24/7 to make up for all the time that I hadn't cared for myself, (now she's an independent 3 year old cat :) ) and I can definitely understand how people can feel the same about dolls :)
    12. This is a very moving thread, it amazing to see dolls giving such a great comfort to people.
    13. So sorry to hear about your loss. My boys are purely for my love of the hobby. Anyone I have lost or lost contact with can only be honored with dolls imbued with my help if ever I decide to dedicate one. My comfort from my losses can only come from memories and having the honor to know amazing people before they leave my life. Funny, i'm sure many people in the same boat come across something in their daily lives that will make them pause in remembering something about someone gone. Dolls would make for a very tactile reminder.
    14. Well not the lose of a human...my Pipos Bao is in memory of all the dogs that I have past away in my lost that I really remember. Hence his name of Me(Our old westie that past away)gre(Gretchen, my grandparents dog that passed away at 17 years of age) Bo(my first collie that passed away) Wu(Our elderly rescue corgi girl that passed away)ko(for our first corgi Korey).

      I have plans to get a kitty anthro at some point to memorialize all the cats that have passed away. Name will be Ni(Niesha)me(Meisha) Sei(Seifer)Pe(Pepsi).
    15. I got into this hobby to fill a void left by an ex. We had talked about marriage while he was on deployment, and then was dumped by email two days after Valentine's Day about 2 years ago. It's still a bit hard for me to talk about it but.. it is what it is I guess. Now I have 2 SD's and a tiny.
    16. I tend to become more emotionally attached to inanimate objects and fictional characters than real people anyway, so no.
    17. I find my dolls are the missing parts of me. Perhaps being over 40 means I can't cuddle a bear to bed any more so Pippi does it. I can't travel with a circus or freak show, my dolls do. All the things I wish I could do, they do for me.

      I agree with Arkady that relying on a doll, any doll, as a sole source of comfort after a death is unhealthy. But to have one in honour of someone, or to remind you of someone is a wonderful tribute to their memory.
    18. At first I was just going to brush it off in the way I normally do to not let people in and just say they replaced the last of my sanity but since others are being really honest here I decided I should at least honor that and be honest myself.

      I guess I've never been close to anyone and whenever I've opened up I've been badly burned. The hardest part was suffering the neglect and abuse from my parents, so I guess I just withdrew naturally to protect myself. Because of that I don't have a bond with anyone; honestly my only comforts lie in fiction and imagination. So, I guess my dolls are something I can trust and feel safe with at the same time. I feel a closeness to them that I haven't really felt with people.

      But I disagree with the above, I don't think being so emotionally attached to a doll is unhealthy, although I'm not personally (I haven't seen my dolls since January, they're being stored at a relative's house for the timebeing) :|. But I think dolls can provide a necessary distraction from emotional pain and being able to transform grief into a positive outlet is a good thing. Sometimes devoting yourself to something after a loss can be the best way to avoid falling apart.
    19. It can b taken too far though, and becoming fixated upon something else - e.g. a doll or other object - as a form of grief-avoidance means that you never really come to deal with the grief properly; it only draws out the pain and healing takes far longer.

      I learned this through bitter experience when my ex-husband (who was also my best friend) died. It was over 5 years ago and I've still not come to terms with losing him.

      The dolls are still a distraction from the negative things in my life, but they're not too good at therapy - too silent! And they probably cost more too! :lol:
    20. I have a doll that I named in honor of a little girl in my area who was murdered by her parents. She is kind of a ghost/angel. When I saw the doll she reminded me so much of her that I thought I would name her in honor of her.