'Alaskan Bush People' Star Reflects on 'Hardest Year' of Life on First Birthday Since Father's Death

Alaskan Bush People star Bear Brown marked his 34th birthday on Thursday. It was a bittersweet birthday, as it was his first since his father Billy Brown's death in February. It also comes a few weeks after he and Raiven Adams, the mother of his son River, broke up for good in April.

"Today is my 34th birthday! Where [does] the time go? Seems like just yesterday I was a kid running wild in Alaska, hunting, fishing, surviving, but also living and loving life in a world that seems very different from mine today! Today is the first time in 34 years that my Dad won’t be around for my birthday, I miss him so much," Bear wrote on his private Instagram page Thursday, alongside a selfie. "I wish I could talk with him again. I wish I could give him a hug! This year has been the hardest in my life! I appreciate everyone who has stuck with me and with my family! I’m gonna still try to have as much fun today as I can! I know that’s what he’d want! Everyday is a blessing, I think too many people forget that! Thank you everyone for your support!!! God bless!!!"

Over 1,000 of Bear's followers wished him a happy birthday, and many assured him his father would be proud. "Hope you have a Happy Birthday with lots of good memories," one person wrote. "Happy Birthday Bear. He is smiling down upon you today," another chimed in. "Happy 34th birthday to you Bear, it's hard to find our footing once we lose a parent, I know that myself," another fan commented. "But I hope this new year will have much better things intended for you."

Bear's father Billy died in February at age 68 after suffering a seizure at the family's Washington home. Bear broke the news first before the Discovery Channel confirmed the news. The reality TV star called Billy his "best friend" and praised Billy for living "life on his terms, off the grid, and off the land and taught us to live like that as well." Since then, Bear has shared several tributes to his father. He also shared a very special message on Mother's Day, noting how "lucky" he was to still have his mother Ami Brown, who battled lung cancer.

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"Being a mother is one of the hardest things a woman can do and my hat goes off to all moms the whole world round," Bear wrote last month. "Truly without such strong women, virtually giving up there (sic) whole lives for someone else, the world would not be what it is, a mother teaches us to share to be kind and polite, to have manners and to treat people right, mothers shape the future and the very world around us! No one gives as much as a mother! Happy Mother's Day Mom! Without you, I wouldn’t be me!"

Bear's difficult year also included breaking up with his on-again, off-again girlfriend Adams for good. In April, Adams revealed on TikTok they are no longer together. In early May, Bear shared a strange photo of himself wearing a soaking wet suit in a bathtub, alongside a caption confirming they broke up over a month ago. He also shot down allegations that he was unfaithful during their time together. "No matter what, I wish Raiven only happiness and hope she finds what she is looking for in life," he wrote. "Please be respectful to her! Everybody should treat others how they would want to be treated. God bless!"