Thursday, October 25, 2007

Farewell to a bee

This past Sunday the guys wanted to go for a bike ride around town. So while little lady napped with her daddy we strapped on our helmets, hopped on our bikes and rode off to a parking lot where we could do lots of silly things.

At one point we took a break from our cycling shenanigans and noticed a bee flying around us.

Eventually the bee landed on the ground next to us and started walking in circles. We were busy talking so none of us noticed when it flipped on its side. I put it back on its feet. I looked down again to see it on its back, barely flailing.

The bee was dying by my right foot.

The boys had watched me right the bee. Now I told them I thought she was dying (not sure why we all started calling her "she" but we did). I thought it would be an interesting discussion - the cycle of life, what happens to a living creature's spirit when it dies. I once had a friend tell me that he envisioned all living beings' spirits go into the cosmos and little pieces come together to be a part of a new spirit (human, animal, plant) being created. I thought that would be a good story to tell the kids.

Instead one of my sons insisted we call a vet. I didn't think a vet would help a dying bee. Then he proposed we bring her home and care for her. I explained I didn't think she had that much time to live plus we didn't have any way to safely carry her home. Next he suggested we had to call dad to come get us in the car.

He started to cry.

I suggested we put the bee on a big leaf and carry her to a patch of woods. She would be in shade and near things she probably flew by when she was well. We brought her over and he couldn't leave her. He took off his bike helmet and put her and the leaf in there. He begged me to figure out a way to save her. He started to cry hysterically, kneeling next to his helmet, desperately trying to figure out how to revive a barely moving bee.

Then I started to cry

Then his brother started to cry. "I wished we never went for a bike ride" he said softly.

The bee stopped moving. I told them that maybe she came near us so she wouldn't be lonely as her life ended. It was an honor to be with her.

As we started to ride away little man became upset again. "What if her mommy is looking for her? We have to find the hive and tell her what happened!" I explained that Queen Bees make a lot baby bees at once and don't have the same relationship as baby humans, wolves, or dolphins have with their mothers. "Well we have to find her daddy."

Eventually we got waters from our local coffee shop and sat on a bench. He settled down and we got back on our bikes to ride home. We noticed a new patch of flowers by the bank. There were bees flying around the petals.

"Look!" announced the brother "Your bee friend's friends are out collecting pollen!"

I held my breath, worried we would face another outpouring of grief for the dearly departed.

But he just nodded, got back on his bike and rode down the street.

19 comments:

Heather said...

Wow. I started to cry too. What a sweet, sad, story.

Nap Warden said...

Awww, what a sweet, sad little story. Thanks for sharing it.

Goofball said...

You really moved me with the death of a simple bee. I think it's great that now and then children point us to the little facts of life that we might just run by otherwise.

capitolady said...

Wow. Great story, I would have cried too. It is amazing what things our children see that we don't.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

It's so interesting how each part of life can seem enormous when you're very young. It's just overwhelming at times, isn't it?

Jami said...

Anytime some living thing dies, a piece of us goes, too. Some folks seem to know this instinctively.

And just FYI, all the worker bees are female.

Virtualsprite said...

That was very sweet. It's amazing what we can learn from kids.

Anne Bradshaw said...

I love the way the animal kingdom can help us teach our children about things we might otherwise not think to share with them.

painted maypole said...

wow. i have to say I have never felt sadness over the death of something that would sting me. The fact that you righted it amazes me.

Alex Elliot said...

That is such a Unitarian story!!! Can lay-people do services at your church?

the dragonfly said...

Ack! Okay, maybe it's because I'm allergic to bees...mostly when I see one I think of how I can get away. But it really shows how thoughtful and caring your children are. So...good story. :)

Ambassador said...

Crying. Difficult to type.

Such empathy from your young men. You handled it with such sensitivity and care. To suggest that perhaps she sought your family out so as not to be alone at the end...can't type anymore.

Love

allrileyedup said...

Oh, what a sweet story. I love that you that you said it was an honor to be with the bee in her final moments. What a great thought.

Flower Child said...

Maybe you should avoid that new Jerry Seinfeld movie. Add to that Old Yeller, My Dog Skip, and Charlotte's Web.

chelle said...

So sweet. We are still reeling from the death of our beloved cat, so any death talk is very intense. We had a melt down after story time included "There once was a Lady who swallowed a Fly"

Aimee Greeblemonkey said...

Love the sensitivity. :)

FENICLE said...

Ah! Who would have guessed your bike trip would end up in a lesson on the circle of life!

Brillig said...

Okay, first off, I think you must be the most amazing mom on the whole planet. I love that you took the time and gave the attention to have this experience with your kids. So sweet.

Jenn in Holland said...

crying here too. What a moment. What a treasure.