Woody was playing in the field with the other young bears when he turned to Samantha and asked, “Sam, would you like to pick some berries in the forest with me tomorrow? There’s a place by the river my dad told me about. He said that’s where he met my mom.”
Samantha looked at Woody. She seemed excited at first, but then her smile faded, and she looked down at the grass. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, Woody,” she said.
“Why not? Don’t you like me?,” Woody asked.
“Yes, Woody, I like you.”
“Well, why won’t you go with me?”
Sam looked down again. She paused a long pause, then took a deep breath and let it out. “Woody, can you keep a secret? I mean, really keep a secret?”
“Sure, Sam. Why? What’s going on?”
“Nobody but my family knows this,” Sam said, pausing again. “You know how the average bear lives about 18 years?”
“Sure, Sam, we all know that. But I want to live longer!”
“Well, Woody, that’s the problem. I’m sick, and I’m not going to live that long.”
“No, Sam, don’t say that. How do you know? How long will you live?”
“Nobody knows for sure, but I heard Doc telling mom and dad that I probably won’t see many summers. But I wanted you to know, because, yes, I’d like to go pick berries with you by the river where your dad met your mom.”
(This is a story about a woman I met when I was in the hospital. I heard somewhere it’s better to tell stories about animals.)