It’s often said that healing is not a matter of forgetting, but of accumulating new memories that, over time, crowd out the bad ones.
If this is true, then Negra’s road to recovery began by replacing memories of powerlessness with ones of safety and predictability.
Soon, memories of love and friendship and family began to replace memories of loneliness.
Eventually, memories of courage and adventure pushed aside memories of fear and anxiety.
For some chimps, recovery is a long, steep climb. Thirty-five years in the lab leaves behind far too many memories.
Those memories will never be forgotten. But every time I see Negra absorbing the view from the top of Young’s Hill, I think of how far she’s come in these last eight years, and I hope that moment becomes yet another healing memory that pushes an old one further out of reach.