As a pretty sophisticated Central Park Zoo polar bear and therefore as a regular reader of the New York Times, I just couldn't resist adding to what the Times had to say today about the passing of my beloved Ida who died yesterday at the very advanced age of 25 (quite old for polar bears).
The Central Park zookeepers finally put Ida to sleep because her liver cancer was incurable, while also causing her a great deal of pain. I had tried to get them to do this earlier, but they have always been rather reluctant to listen to me.
Most of what the Times had to say about Ida is true. She was born in Buffalo and did come to the Central Park Zoo at the age of 2. I was already there and we bonded almost immediately. We have been nearly inseparable ever since.
I don't know if you recall this, but years ago I was diagnosed with depression. The zookeepers never did quite figure out what was wrong with me, and, honestly, I can't remember myself what brought it on. I just know that I felt like I didn't want to live any more. But Ida was so gentle and so patient with me during this whole time. Because of her devotion to me, I fell in love with her all over again. For years afterward, my happiest moments were those many times when Ida and I cuddled together, a scene captured by thousands of photographers.
Now I have no one to cuddle with. Ida is gone and I am alone. A polar bear without a cuddling partner can't be fully himself. But now my fond memories of Ida keep me going. She was so special, a one-of-a-kind polar bear. Those who saw her often know what I mean. Those who never got a chance to see her will just have to imagine what a life force she was - for me and everyone who knew her.
Your Mourning Friend,