Pretending I'm Dead

The other day I was in my local natural health food/vitamin shop—which I love–and I was explaining to my now friend who owns the shop that I was worried to death about my only son travelling across America and camping out in parts unknown.  I told her I was afraid he would take up with strangers, meet with tornadoes and hurricanes, and possibly fall down a volcanoe.  She said she had the same feelings when her two daughters would go off on adventures and she would have no control over their safety.

“I just pretend I’m dead,” she told me.  “If I were dead, they would do what they are going to do and I would have no power anyway–so I just pretend I’m dead.”

It made sense.  So, now when I’m overwhelmed with a feeling of dread, wondering if a bear or serial killer has gotten to my offstpring, and now his girlfriend whom I feel so very attached to, I pretend I’m dead and I could do nothing in any case.  Strangely, it is a comfort.  I have no idea why.  But, that’s in keeping with much of my vitamin store, health consultant’s advice anyway.  “Take this if you have an allergic reaction–I don’t know why it works–it just does,” she tells me often of the remedies that invariably work wonders.  Stomache problems, allergic reactions, bug bites, colds—I swear–it all just works. And, although the proprietor has an idea of why a supplement or vitamin complex may add to my immune system–she admits she only knows from experience what works and what doesn’t.

So now that I’m a partial believer–pretending I’m dead just seems a natural progression.  Let’s face it–it will be true sometime in the not to distant future anyway.  He will be on his own at the mercy of the universe–just as I always feared.  I’ve given him everything I had to give him I think, so he has to figure out the rest himself.

As any parent knows, this removal from our caretaking role isn’t an easy one.  We always want to be in control of their safety, of their success, of their happiness.  But understanding it just ain’t so may be some release from that formidable responsibility.

It may be cliche to reflect on the birds being thrown from their nests to fly or fall–but I watched a flock on the Discovery Channel the other day be thrown to their fate and couldn’t help be struck by the reality of it for us all. I wondered if the mother bird was just pretending she was dead as she threw her birdlings out of the nest.

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