She is The Bear more than she is Sara, still Valentine’s Bear after spending a winter as Thanksgiving Bear, Christmas Bear and New Year’s Bear. Sailing through the one-year anniversary of her predicted demise with Netflix and chill, this Girl Scout do-si-do-loving-Bear has arrived at a loss of independence so uncharacteristic and complete we thought she’d be bothered but apparently she’s not.
The infrequent no’s have long since turned to yes’s, probably prematurely but now there is no going back. Yes to saltines and hogging the bed, yes to buttered noodles and staggering amounts of rotisserie chicken, yes to canceling every appointment to “set her free,” followed by the certainty that she is not ready even as we worry that we won’t know when or if she ever will be.
This is what we sign on for when we have pets, those of us who wanted them in the first place, for the early days of fun and the middle years of sweet predictability, this silent bond never marred by a harsh word or a mean glance. The lifespan of this relationship is stupidly short, a stuck-cost affair where these furry companions don’t contribute a dime, are lucky to make it to teenagers and leave us in a puddle of grief way too soon.
Today our sweet Bear will fly away, our Amelia Bearheart. I’m not sure where she’ll go, but I hope she’ll be with Fielding and Sydney and Henry, names I can still barely write, let alone say. They knew her as Marauding Bear, her mornings spent playing tickle-me in bed with her dad, rolling, snorting and wiggling everyone else out of the room. Sometimes it was so rough it was a no, long before cancer invaded her pointy, crumbling old body, but usually yes won out.
At the very end the yes’s and no’s get mixed up, yes to reaching the finish line and no not yet it can’t be. Yes to the inevitable appointment, this time not canceled, no to another glimmer of hope. Serendipity Chance is tired, her body slowing to a stop but her eyes and appetite shining like the sun. She is a Hungry Bear to the end, our almost 14-year-old Birthday Bear. We will celebrate today, early, her last box of cookies at the ready.