Greetings to everyone reading this letter. Perhaps I should introduce myself, my name is Cathy Williamson, and I reside in the state of Indiana, however I have numerous relatives residing in Minnesota. Many of you know this, but for those who do not I am the person that won a contest sponsored by Cub Foods that named our precious cub “Hope.” Therefore, I come with a heavy heart knowing that our precious Hope now resides at Rainbow Bridge. Before going any further, I want to thank Dr. Rogers for the privilege of earning that title, because if not for him and the crew at NABC it would not have happened. I must thank Lily, as she is the one that gave birth to Hope before our eyes. I did not expect to win; in fact, that was the last thing on my mind. I did not seek notoriety or fame, instead I entered the name “Hope” because to me it meant hope for the NABC, WRI, Doc, Sue and the rest of the crew and most importantly all the bears. Hope that the research would continue.
Educate everyone about these beautiful animals the North American black bear. It also brought hope to the lives of many by watching all of this via the den cam and we found ourselves not concentrating so much on our own problems. With that said around March 3rd of 2010, that her name was Hope. It has been an amazing journey for all involved and amazing how one bear without any of us touching her managed to touch the hearts, souls, and minds of thousands of people! I will not let my journey end with this tragedy! I know emotions are running high at this time, which is understandable, but we must never forget what Hope really stood for, because I for one want to see this research continue and the various education programs that Doc has worked so hard for during his life.
We learnt many things from Hope, she taught us about the birth of a cub, survived being lost, she got along well with her siblings, and now she is teaching us loss. This is devastating for me, as I never wanted Hopes life to end this way. I wanted Hope to go on forever in the flesh, but the stark reality was that this was a possibility. I guess one that I kept buried away thinking I would never have to face that with Hope. I reiterate again Hope our bear is lost, but what she stood for remains. I cannot imagine what Doc, Sue, and all involved with the research, and education are going through. I know it is terrible, because look at how it has affected us.
We are a loving bunch of people here and we must remember that saying “united we stand, but divided we fall”, so we must be united with all involved. We may have lost Hope our bear, but we are not losing hope, as the hope for continued research will prevail. The dictionary defines the word hope as” to cherish a desire with anticipation, to desire with expectation of obtainment, to expect with confidence” (Merriam-Webster, 2011). That dictionary definition speaks of what I feel for the NABC and I am sure you do as well. We desire all of Doc’s research with anticipation, we always expect Doc to obtain desired research, and we all know Doc is confident in all he does. I might add that goes for Sue and all involved at the NABC and WRI. I feel Doc and all done all they could for Hope as they do with all the research bears, there is only so much that is allowed for Doc to do, and we would never want to see his research jeopardized if he stepped over certain laws that are in place.
With that said, I would like to see the laws “tweaked” a bit to ensure protecting the research bears, because we all have so much to learn from these animals. I might add at this point in this letter that no, this is not a slam to any hunter. I know some enjoy the sport of hunting and that is their right, just because I am not a hunter I cannot “slam” those that do as long as they abide by the proper laws. I am just saying I would like the laws changed so that research bears protected. There is not anymore to learn from a research bear that is lost (or any other research animal), and I desire to learn. I feel bad for Lily and Faith too, because animals do know when one is lost, so it will be interesting to see if Faiths actions are like that of Hopes as she is growing up. I have seen mention of perhaps a scholarship fund in Hopes honor and I think that would be wonderful.
I think the idea of a Memory Garden would be wonderful. There are many ways to keep Hope alive for the NABC and WRI. I will treasure every moment that we had with Hope and all that she taught us. I will keep these memories tucked safely in my heart because that is where I keep my valuables. I will continue my hope for the research as what the name intended. No amount of words I say or what I say will ever be enough, but I do want to extend my deepest sympathy to Doc, Sue, and all involved and remember as the song states “walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart and you will never walk alone”, we will all be beside you united.
I extend my sympathy to all the other fans, friends as we are a huge family united and bonded and we must stay that way. I like all of you are still trying to come to understand this loss and why. We will never know why, so we must forge on and since we were united and Hope was quite a character if she could talk I think she would be telling all of us this from the words of a song titled Get
Together by the Youngbloods: “Come on people now
smile on your brother
everybody get together
and try to love one another right now” (Powers, C., 1963).
With that said, I know the true supporters we are will do just that. Thanks for reading if you did and I will always be supporting this research in one way or another and always be a “Bear Head” and here for are united family.
Hopes (Godmother in a special way)