Friday, March 16, 2012

The Descendants and aprés-show tearfest


Saw The Descendants last night, thanks to the FREE movie tickets we snatched up from a local car dealership who was giving back to the community for March Break. (YAY MUSKOKA KIA! You guys rock!)

I'd been wanting to see this movie for some time but we've been so broke lately that a movie night just wasn't in the cards. But you can bet my non-existant bottom dollar that I could have talked Dave into seeing some new comic book hero flick – but that's another story. Fact is, even he couldn't refuse what he thought might be a sappy chick flick when the door fee was free. So off we went, using our last-day-before-payday change to buy popcorn and Twizzlers.

Let me just say even Dave was impressed by The Descendants. It was a phenomenal movie. Funny and sad, brilliant and quirky, with outstanding performances by everyone in the cast. Yes, Clooney deserved an Oscar. That first scene, where he promises to be a better husband and father, just blew me away. And Hawaii as a set? I want to go there NOW.

One of the best things about the movie is how they don't play the tear-jerker card. It isn't maudlin. It isn't sappy. Even though, on the surface, it is about a woman in a coma, it's no Terms of Endearment or Notebook. Thanks to some fine writing it actually has a light pace, a gentle humourous touch that won my heart. Still, there's a woman on the bed, in a coma, dying. And wow, she really looked like she was dying. I say that from experience because I have seen more than one person in that state and it isn't pretty.

But here is where my revelation comes in.

When my father was bone-rack thin on his death bed, when he was in his casket as emaciated as a skeleton and unrecognizable as the dad I had knew and loved, I thought I would never be able to think of him as anything but sick – ever again. People trying to comfort me said, "Don't worry. Time will erase these images and eventually you will be able to remember your father as he was when he was healthy." I didn't believe them. How could I? He was sick for so long ...

Dave and I were on our way home from the movie last night and our thoughts were with our fathers – he lost his two short months after I lost mine. It's partly what binds us, this experience. After seeing the movie-woman dying in her bed I couldn't help but think of Dad on his deathbed. That's when I realized I was picturing him healthy! He wasn't emaciated, he was portly! There he was with his beer belly and his muscular arms, his strong back and his thick neck. He was lying in his hospital bed, hours from death, and yet I couldn't see anything but a healthy man.

And then I realized I couldn't remember what he looked like in his coffin. I mean, if pressed, I sort of remember. But I can't see it CLEARLY.

All of that – it's GONE.

This tremendous revelation hit me hard. I started bawling so bad I couldn't catch my breath; big gasping, ugly sobs.

It was true. What they said – all true.

I have been surrounded by death lately. So many dear friends have lost loved ones; others struggle with critical illnesses.  Like the ones who told me that some day I would be able to see my healthy father again, I can honestly say that there will come a time when you will only remember your mother, your partner, your spouse, your child as the healthy person he or she once was. It might take years, but that day will come.

Love to you all.

And go see The Descendants.

20 comments:

  1. What a wonderful gift to get from the movie! Time did erase the images.

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  2. Still waiting for that breakthrough but I am starting to recall some of the happier times.

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  3. Life loses more and more rough edges as you get through it. Your ticket would have been valuable at twice the price--and it was free. Keep remembering the good.

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  4. Thanks for this. I see my father sometimes healthy, sometimes at the end. I guess I'm getting closer to healing. Peace...

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  5. heard only good reviews for this movie....but as i am a bit of a cissy when it comes to weepie films, i think i shall wait for DVd !

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    1. Good idea, Jason! I want to see it again on DVD and then bawl in earnest!

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  6. glad you liked it too!
    I agree she DID look as though she was dying didnt she?

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    1. She did! Especially her hands. I was thinking they might have juxtaposed her face with other hands.

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  7. Its been a long times since a blog post brought me to tears. Thanks for posting this beautiful piece.

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    1. Oh, I'm sorry Ron! But thanks! *passes you a Kleenex*

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  8. Yeah, I heard good things about this movie but unfortunately it was only in town for a couple of weeks and got bumped by bigger and flashier movies. Guess I'll have to wait for video...

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    1. I wouldn't recommend it for Bad Movie Night but I think you and V might enjoy it together!

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    1. I know, right? (And thanks for the mention on Twitter!)

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  10. Still waiting here. I am really glad it happened for you.

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    1. It'll happen, EC. I do hope so, at any rate. (Hugs!)

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