The Bigley Family
Three years after my bear attack, three years after I insisted that Amber forget about me and move on with her life, she and I were married at my family’s vacation home in the hills above San Juan Bautista, Calif. We committed our lives to each other in what I call, “The Secret Garden,” an area of the grounds where I’d spent many hours alone with my thoughts while healing.
I think of Amber as the real hero of this story. We had barely spend one day as a new couple when the bear tore me apart. She could have gracefully backed away, yet she stuck with me. She’s a strong, stoic woman with her own sense of adventure. While pursuing a major in anthropology and a minor in economic geography at the University of Minnesota, she went to Kenya to live with the Maasai, a semi-nomadic herding tribe that practices polygamy, female circumcision, and traditionally offered its dead to the hyenas. While spending my middle school years in Malaysia, I had felt brave eating shark-fin soup. While living in Kenya in a cow-dung hut, Amber ate what the Maasai ate, and drank what the Maasai drank, which included an occasional sip of blood from the throat of a slaughtered goat.