Death is only the beginning

Earlier this summer my yard and the ballfield across the street were covered in fireflies. They were everywhere. They were beautiful. There were more than I ever remember seeing in a concentrated area and they awakened my mind, my heart and my muse to possibilities. And just when I began to get used to them and looked forward to seeing them each night, they started to disappear.

I saw one yesterday. One. And I immediately remembered something a wise man once said, “the last firefly of summer.” Of course, I don’t think he was commenting on summer so much as musing at that point, but the thought stuck with me.

Today, I watched a huge leaf, brown and curled at the edges, as it popped free from its branch and floated through the still air to the ground. The lazy manner in which it fell made me think of the elders that go gracefully to their deaths, as opposed to those that fear it, fight it. Because as beautiful as autumn is, it’s death. But as final as that sounds, that leaf is also a beginning—the beginning of a new season.

A final firefly and the first leaf.

Oh could I lay the metaphors on thick here. I could skip around without actually mentioning divorce or new relationships. I could explain that the death of one thing is often the beginning of another. But instead, I think I’ll discuss the afterlife…

Because death isn’t the end. It’s only the beginning.

All deaths come with something new. Human death comes with adjusted family dynamics, or a change in a circle of friends. Seasonal death welcomes the next season, but promises to return again the following year—like calendar reincarnation. And relationship death is, well, sometimes not a death at all. Especially when children are involved.

There is no burial, although there is a funeral. There is no grave, yet there is a tombstone. There are official documents dissolving promises made under the drunken stupor of love’s light, and new promises offered to keep the peace. The afterlife of marriage is a strange thing.

Sometimes you remember the fireflies. Sometimes you only remember the smell of rot and dirt and dying leaves. Regardless of which parts you remember, which parts you take with you into the afterlife, you have to remember that death means change. While you may no longer love, you are also not allowed to have an opinion. And if you still care, you’ll learn quickly that it doesn’t matter, when it’s ignored, or worse, ridiculed and rejected. You’ll change the dynamics and expectations. You’ll base the future on the past, no matter how it may differ in reality. Depending on the couple, one or both may see a bright light at the end of the tunnel.

And it’s not a train.

It’s the glow of next season’s fireflies off in the distance.

I was sad to see the leaf. Not just because the fireflies were leaving, but because it meant winter was coming—and I hate winter. But winter will be different this year. Winter won’t be in the frozen tundra. I won’t have the slap in the face of enjoying the Halloween season and then being miserable and hibernating for the next seven months. In the aftermath of death, I moved. In the aftermath of death, I found light at the end of the tunnel.

In the afterlife, I realized that the fireflies never die…

0 Responses to Death is only the beginning

Thoughts? Tell me what you think...

Subscribe for Updates

Archives