James Brabazon wrote that "Reverence for Life says that the only thing we are really sure of is that we live and want to go on living.", and for me, in the context of survival after the death of my partner, reaching reverence was an important milestone.
     My partner, Branda, died in April 2007, and my memories of the following year are fuzzy and vague. I recall wondering whether there was any point life. I was alive, I was not certain that I wanted to go on living.
     On March 17th of 2008 there was a blizzard. I went to bed knowing that until after the snow-plough had cleared my country road, I was going nowhere. In the wee small hours of darkness, as I adjusted my body and my bedding, I felt a sharp stab in my hand -- startling enough to waken me. I am allergic to stings and this felt like a sting, I turned on the bedside light and saw a dark hornet clinging to my flesh by its rear.
     Suddenly wide awake, I eased the insect between an envelope and a glass, and placed it on my bedside table. Then I sat and contemplated whether or not I would administer epinephrine to halt the reaction of my body. The snow-buried road meant I could not drive out, and an ambulance could not drive in.
     Past stings had swollen rapidly. My fear of suffocation had been increased by the feedback from medical personnel at the ER, and insistence that I carry an epi-kit.
     Was I ready, I wondered, was I willing to take my chances in the hope of a reunion with my dear Branda?
     Was my life effectively over anyway?
     I was 51 years old, my next birthday just a few days away. Did I care?
     Did I want to be 52?
     Was there a reason to be alive?
     I was apathetic; simply getting through my days. Feeling a burden to family and loving friends, in that moment I believed that my absence would be a relief to them.
     I remained on the side of the bed, sitting up, seeing my reflection in the glass of the window, the falling snow barely visible as the light in the room turned the panes black.
     After a long, empty silence I felt moved to prepare my epi-kit. I read the folded instruction paper and I took out the pills that were to supplement the injection.
     As I did so, I recognized that I was making a decision.
     Was it possible that I had been left alone because the future was mine alone?
     Perhaps Branda and I had made an agreement, somewhere outside of linear time. What if my survival was somehow important?
     I was not convinced, but, what if? What if life matters?
     If so, then why was the hornet trapped and likely to suffocate? I asked myself. Because it would freeze in the snow, came the reply, because you do not kill creatures.
     My hand was getting red, the skin stretched and puffy. I jabbed the needle into my thigh, and accepted, more than decided, that I was alive and wanted to stay so.
     I vividly recall that night as the moment I chose to value my life. I moved out of death-wishing and wondering whether.
     I chose life and began to name the wonders that 17 years with Branda had given me. Instead of dwelling on the pain and loss of her death, I saw the gifts that we had been granted in life. So many gifts, had surely prepared me for something more than dying alone beside a hornet under a glass.
     Then, despite the stimulant effect of the drugs I slept, and in the morning my hand, while not unmarked, was healthy.
     Albert Schweitzer said that ‘affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live thoughtlessly and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to give it true value.’
     That morning I trudged through the snow with the glass and released the hornet inside the barn. I told no one about that for a very long time, because reverence for the life of a hornet is something not many people understand.

Jo Leath is a Transition Coach who works with lesbian widows who are struggling to identify their authentic identities in the second year of their life alone.
    The Journey Into Alignment Coaching Program offers helpful strucure as members move beyond the natural uncertainty that follows loss of a partner.
    Participants will locate their intended destiny; find their own certainty and move into the expression of their true nature.
   To learn whether this six-month program is right for you, use the "contact us" tab on this page.