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Scaring The Bear

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I was wearing my pink rubber boots and yellow sunflower shorts. It was the summer of 1996, right before my fourth birthday. My grandpa and I were tramping through the mud in the woods around his house, “bear hunting.”

I wasn’t normally allowed in the woods, and holding on to my grandpa’s big hand, taking in the trees, the sounds of birds, and the smell of the woods, was all very exciting to me. I was scared a bear would take me away, but by sensing my grandpa’s presence beside me, I gained the courage to look for that big, scary animal. We slid to a stop in the mud, next to a huge blown-over stump.

“See now, Honey, when we find a bear, we gotta scare it! Like this,” he dropped my hand and raised his arms and growled, I laughed and did the same.

We never did find a bear that day, or any other day. We took that trip every until I was seven. Until my grandpa found out he had cancer.

He died four years later.
In many ways, cancer is like that bear we never found; you have to scare it to stay alive or it’ll take your life before you know it.
But sometimes you can’t scare it. Sometimes you have to fight, and sometimes you just can’t win.

My last memory with my grandpa was two days before he died.
He asked me who I was.
It was that day that I knew the bear had taken my grandpa away.





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