There is no dress rehearsal…
Praying mantis queens are the jewels in my garden come summer time. These seasonal guests are much anticipated as the long winter reveals their cases of eggs all over my suburban landscape. I hope and worry and eagerly await the warmer weather when I know these treasures will erupt with wriggling new life. That will eventually eat each other. It’s a mantis eat mantis world.
My husband and I worked to create a toxin free environment in a neighborhood where landscapes are maintained with chemical accuracy. After a couple of years, the change in our immediate landscape could be noted. We were seeing toads, frogs, dragon flies, and yes, praying mantis. Lots of them. They seemed to like our controlled chaos and rewarded us with their progeny. We were blessed.
As we built this toxin free world, inner toxins were taking over my husband. From time to time, I would see vestiges of the build up. When asked, he would chalk it up to work, or not feeling well, being out of sorts. His answers were believable, he was the straightest arrow I had ever met. He wouldn’t even joke about playing hooky from work.
As time elapsed, his decline became more noticeable. Still he worked in our little green world, digging holes, building arbors, enjoying our oasis. The final spring he told me I gardened on a commercial scale without a commercial crew. I laughed and said as long as I have him I didn’t need a crew.
But even then I think he knew I soon wouldn’t have either.
I am starting year two without my soulmate. I have had time to grieve, blame, search, replay and relive so many episodes of our life together. Like it had been taped and we would someday have an opportunity to clip, over dub, edit, colorize what had been happening in our life. Like we were in rehearsal.
It was not until recently that I understood how much of him had been lost in the last few years. Friends made in the last 5 – 10 years, didn’t know he was funny. Mr. Cutting Edge Humorist – Not funny. Mr. Microphone – gone. He had become consumed by a brain chemical disorder that eventually became full blown clinical depression. And never said a word.
I look back at the missed opportunities, the acceptance that age, stress, weight, worry, diabetes, grief were what put him off his game. I should have pursued better answers, like a baby mantis bursting out of the sack ready to take all comers. But I thought there was time. Time to heal, time to get it right.
I am building this site as I attempt to heal, attempt to bring my old self back on line, return to being a gardener and a musician. Teaching myself life is not a dress rehearsal, that every moment is to be marveled in.
Living isn’t easy, just ask the mantis.
To my beloved…….