Traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I came to a fork in the road. The path that led to the left had a powerful, bright light at the end. The path on the right led to TJ Maxx. My favorite clothing store. Which was the correct way to go?! I noticed a dried flower floating toward the bright light. Actually, it was a beautiful, dried rose. I asked her opinion…
Excuse me! Dried flower? Do you know which way to go?
DRIED FLOWER: It’s a matter of opinion. I’m surprised you’re talking to me.
DRIED FLOWER: Because I’m dead.
No problem. I’ve always wanted to talk to someone dead.
DRIED FLOWER: Okay. Your choice. So, what do you want to know?
How do you know you’re dead?
DRIED FLOWER: I Googled it. The definition of death is, “the cessation of all vital functions.” Since I don’t have to make sure I have water or sunlight anymore to keep going or growing, it sounds like the right diagnosis.
How does it feel to be dead?
DRIED FLOWER: Kind of freeing in a way. I can let go of stress and move on. But this is crazy. I’m sure you can’t relate.
In some ways I can. I mean, even though I’m alive, some parts of me have passed on.
DRIED FLOWER: What are you talking about?
Well, I used to have brown hair. Now it’s gray. I’ll never have brown hair again. That phase within my body has died. Passed on.
DRIED FLOWER: Interesting. What else?
I used to menstruate, but that part of my system has shut down. Died. I’ll never get my period again. And there’s more. There are emotional deaths.
DRIED FLOWER: Like what?
Well, I remember when I was a teenager, one summer I went to sleep away camp. I was obsessed with the boys and having a boyfriend. There was a newness, a crispness, a freshness about the anticipation of that experience. I can’t really describe it, but it was so exciting. Even if I tried to go back to that phase of life, I’d experience it differently because I’d bring wisdom and perspective to it now. That phase of my life has passed on. I’ll never feel quite that way again.
DRIED FLOWER: Hmmm…
But then, there are other emotional phases I’m happy have died. Like, for years I used to be terrified of thunderstorms. If thunderstorms were in the weather forecast, I’d hide in a bathroom with no windows while the storms passed through. But then! When my son was born, I suddenly wasn’t afraid of thunderstorms anymore. Out of nowhere.
DRIED FLOWER: Maybe you realized you had bigger things to worry about.
Maybe. Now I actually love thunderstorms.
DRIED FLOWER: That’s nice.
So you know? Maybe life and death aren’t black and white. Maybe deaths are just series of cycles that move on to new cycles…even during life. I mean, look at you. You’re dead, but you’re an elegant, rust color. You’re very beautiful.
DRIED FLOWER: Thanks, but I gotta go now. I’m feeling pulled toward the bright light. Want to come?
No thanks. I’m going shopping.
DRIED FLOWER: What’s so enticing about TJ Maxx?
When you go in, you have to wade through a lot of stuff to find something you really like. You might find something, you might not. But if you do, it’s the greatest feeling, and it’s probably on sale so it’s within your reach.
With that, I took a few steps toward the store. I turned around to say good-bye to the dried flower, but she was gone.