Have you ever had a movie change your life? Obviously, nothing can change you if you're not ready for it. But in my mind, every action has a reason. It's almost as if the last two years led me to a scene in A Single Man. The scene is below. I'd ask you to watch it before you continue reading.
A Single Man is about a college professor in the 60's who has suddenly lost his lover of 16 years. His heart is broken and he is able to share his grief with very few. After 8 months of waking up alone, he decides that today will be his last day. The movie follows him through that day, which seems to be full of things he has never noticed before - the color of a rose, the new shoes of a child. As he takes everything in for the last time, everything seems so different, so alive.
The clip above is one of the first scenes. As I watched it I cried. "It takes time in the morning for me to become George," he says as he puts on his armor to face the day. "Looking in the mirror staring back at me is not so much a face, as the expression of a predicament. Just get through the god damned day."
I cried because I felt connected to him. I cried because he was me.
For the last 2 1/2 years I've stumbled through in a fog, allowing most around me to pass me by. And after watching that movie I decided that I just didn't want to be that person anymore. It was like a breathe of fresh air, the realization that only I could make that change, that I didn't have to be the grieving mother that others, including myself, expected me to be. It was my choice as to whether or not I wanted to continue to put on my armor every morning. It was my choice as to whether or not I would continue to let relationships bounce off it.
Reflections never lie. I think the best advice I've ever been given was to surround myself with others who are a reflection of me. This can go really bad if you don't like what you see in yourself.
I have friends who have walked this journey of grief with me from the very beginning and continue to love me. I have friends who have jumped in afterwards and started loving me anyways. I've used them all to get where I am today. It's taken me a while to figure out that those who have left had to, because I was no longer a reflection of them. It's taken me a while to figure out that everyone is brought into my life for a reason, a lesson for me to learn. There's no need for me to be angry at their absence. Learn my lesson. Move on. I don't want to look at my reflection in a friend's eyes and see doubt, resentment, or crazy. It just takes too much energy to try to fix. There is no fixing them, only me.
My current reflections:
A mother fighting for her son's life
A mother fighting for other children's lives because of the son she lost
A runner with fast, pink shoes
A speech pathologist living in Hanna Barbera's world
A boy who never takes no for an answer
A young politician
And of course, George.
I draw bits and pieces from them all, in hopes that someone looks at me and wants to have me as their reflection.
The movie ends with this closing monologue:
"A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity, when for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence. I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I’ve lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it’s meant to be."