I got a macro photo of it. The bee, not the midlife crisis. Actually a few photos because I was fascinated by the frozen moment of death that the bee was in. I guess it was undignified as it was both dead and looking a bit silly for stinging my shoe, but that didn’t stop me.
Last year when I read The Happiness Project, the one month featured that stuck to my brain like velcro was the one in which the author focused on examining her feelings around mortality. To this day, I can’t think of any of the other 12 chapter topics except that one. I have been in a bit of a crisis for a while about my feelings surrounding death. Driving the children to their former daycare, I had to pass a cemetery and it was quite moving to see the new graves each week. I could not NOT think about death on that bi-weekly / twice daily trip. The question I could never answer for myself was, if it bothered me so, why didn’t I just take a different route?
Gemma has decided to take christian religious education in school this year. As parents, we can opt her out, but she is curious. She asked to stay in the class. With an atheist father and a religiously confused mother, Gem is having quite the learning experience. While there are many aspects we discuss, the different views on death (and more specifically what happens after death) have been a hot topic lately. That led me to lots of research online because I could not answer many of her questions. Finally, yesterday, I was given a book that I had nearly read more than a few times before, but have ultimately been too afraid. I took it as a sign and dove right into Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. If someone can write a whole book on the subject, my mortality crisis must not be all that unusual. With social media, I find myself very aware of loss. Before it was news you got in person usually about someone you knew in real life, but these days I often cry for strangers…their bereavement, like their families, I come to know through words and images in their online stories. I marvel at the strong faith most openly share without a hint of ambiguity. They KNOW. Well, I will share this with you. Since becoming a mother, I gave birth to a fear of death. I am adrift in uncertainty. The only way I have been able to deal with any fear in my life is to confront it and learn about it. Like spiders for example, I used to fear them until I found myself in my jammies nearing midnight and chasing a huntsman spider out my front door. While still searching for my conviction in what happens after we die, at least I have finally come to the decision that I would like to have my ashes scattered in the ocean. That way, anytime my loved ones felt the sea breeze or collected sea glass, they would think of me. I like the idea of those beautiful things being forever linked with this life I am living on earth. I know what I want to believe, I just need to find the strength inside of me to turn the hope into something more solid. Or maybe the hope is actually all I need.
So to the bee I say this, thank you for allowing me to celebrate both your death and my mid-life crisis in a photograph. Sorry about the shoe, but really, when you try to sting people, it usually doesn’t work out all that well.
I promise I will not turn this into a crazy blog about all my different neurosis, but I am infinitely curious. If you have it all sorted out, let me know.