Emerging from Hibernation

When I heard it, I kept thinking that it wasn’t true and also: “THIS is the reason why I have trust issues!”

Here it goes — bears do not sleep the entire time for hibernation. They don’t. According to the Alaska Dept for Fish and Game, which was the result of my immediate Google search after having my childhood shattered, “Hibernation for bears simply means they don’t need to eat or drink, and rarely urinate or defecate (or not at all).” Not only was I shocked at the information, but I was also stunned by how apt the information was to how I’d been using it.

My last post was in September on this blog. I know I’ve gone through seasons where I’ve been busy or paralyzed by emotions – especially when cancer events are at their peak – but I’m not sure I’ve gone quite that long without posting. I don’t know that I can blame COVID more than the need emotionally and physically hibernate.

Starting my doctorate and reading research on mortality was hard, but so was teaching online while dually full-time parenting at home. I know myself. When I feel like I’m going to mentally or emotionally crash, I curl up to weather it then reemerge. My closest friend will tell you this and love me in spite of these odd survival habits. That’s why I was stunned and almost vindicated by how hibernation for bears doesn’t mean they’re entirely inactive but rather are conserving energy for survival.

In November right before my final projects were due for my doctorate, right before the end of the first semester of teaching high school online, and the week of Thanksgiving, I was hit by a drunk driver while sitting at a red light. As a hibernating bear, yes I’m sticking with this metaphor, it was like my den was flooded during hibernation. I was disoriented, had to push things back academically, and was in the position AGAIN where someone had to take care of me as I healed my way back to physical independence.

The chemo memories came back where concerned eyes glued themselves onto my limbs – shifting at my every movement.

I’ve healed and am finally, now in March, pulling myself out of the setbacks of the accident. Like most of us, I’ve gained the COVID 19-pounds and feel more sluggish than I’d like – but at the end of a long day, the out of sync snores from husband and the toddler we haven’t been able to kick out of our bed is more enticing than an elliptical. I go back into the high school classroom, masked and all, on Tuesday.

I’m not very profound, so I don’t have any crumbs of wisdom for how to get through to tomorrow, out of this hibernation — the dull droning of Covid life – other than the hope and faith that tomorrow will be better.

One thought on “Emerging from Hibernation

  1. We don’t need to be profound. We each have our own story to tell, and that, by itself, is wonderful enough already.

    But that doesn’t apply to you. You’ve fought cancer, so you have even more stories—and inspiration—to share.

    Wishing you all the best with your return to teaching!


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