I cannot remember, exactly, what my mom was like. I know she, like me, was a bear. I know she occasionally licked my fur for me. I know she showed me how to climb a tree. I know she smelled like dirt, which is lovely.
I also know, at some point, she was no longer part of my life. I know I was with other bears like me one day and then not with them on another day. What happened between those two bookend memories is a mystery to me. Not knowing what happened in that empty space leads to me doubting everything before as well. How much of what I remember of my mom (which is already limited to vague images and smells and sounds) is made up? How much actually happened?
Is my mom a ghost bear?
I do not know, but it is a better supported idea than anything else I have. If she is (was) a ghost, at least she is something more than just loosely put together, possibly unreal thoughts in my mind.
I have dreams about her sometimes. It is usually the same dream. I am me, but I am a tiny me, perfectly proportioned. A large bear is holding me against her belly fur and saying something very softly to me. I cannot understand it, but I know it makes me feel good and warm and never sad and always hugged. The dream never lasts long, and it is usually alarming to go from it to my dark cave, alone, not being held by a large bear.
Why do my dreams do that, though? I do not understand the reason for reminding me of something that makes me feel like I am missing an important piece of who I am or what being a bear is. If it never happened, then what parts of my past experiences are my dreams stitching together to create those images and sounds and feelings? And if it did happen, why can I not remember it, specifically or in any discernible detail? There is such a noisy blankness that rests in my memories, showing nothing decipherable but reminding me of something that must have mattered.
I cannot be a mother bear, so I do not know the thoughts or considerations that go into bear motherhood. I am certain that raising a cub or two at a time is no easy thing, but is it intentional to eventually leave your cubs without a trace of the warmth or nurturing you once provided? Is it how cubs grow into bears? Is it hard? Is it necessary? It must be necessary. I hope it is necessary.
I do not know if even being able to remember the split from my mom I must have experienced would help me at all. Perhaps I would just have dreams of that instance if I could remember the exact moment. Dreams of whatever loneliness or abandonment I must have felt the moment I ceased being a bear cub. The moment everything probably started being difficult. Those dreams would probably not be as comforting as the ones where I am being held up against belly fur, feeling good and warm and never sad and always hugged.
I remember seeing a group of bears wander the forest once. Two tiny ones being shadowed by a big one, a mother bear. I followed them for awhile (for selfish reasons at first since they probably had food or were going to food).The mother bear cautiously traversed the dense forest, moving branches to help her cubs and acting as an impenetrable shield against potential predators. One of the cubs tripped and rolled down a hill at one point. The mother bear followed, licked the little one’s scruffy fur, and helped push it back up the hill.
They finally reached the river. The mother bear began showing the cubs how to swim and hurl their tiny paws into the water for fish. I was near a tree away from the river when she saw me. She gave me a knowing glance and then quickly ignored me. I left.
“Boris the Bear’s Circus Adventure Extravaganza of Suffer for Lonely, No” is the latest adventure you can read on helloiamabear.com! Please enjoy!