Friday, July 8, 2011

On Grief

All great movies are based on shock: the surprise of the unexpected thing. Some movies go overt with this more than others, like when, in The Big Lebowski, the Dude mush-mouths, "New shit has come to light, man!" but most movies have the premise of normal-normal-something wacky-deal with it-climax-return to normal, albeit with a wink at the fact that everything's changed. Consider The Royal Tenenbaums, wherein Royal's return to his estranged family is the something-wacky, and the the movie spends its remainder dealing with it and trying to put that family back together. Or Shaun of the Dead, where most of the movie is also dealing with the zombies infesting suburban London, and the winking return to "normal" is punctuated slyly with a plus-ca-change atmosphere of post-apocalyptic triumph.

But movies aren't real life, and a shock to the system on screen (entertainment!) is often a painful few weeks in real life. When Something Big happens, it's a lot of work to pick up the pieces, and it's unfortunately not wrapped up in a neat 121 minute package, complete with theme song. Which is a bummer, really. No montage sequence for us: we have to sweat out those 15 pounds in three months, or try on twenty-three actual different bridesmaids dresses, all of which look terrible. Or we have to go through the really painful parts: the breakups, the diagnoses, the deaths.

I'm sorry, I know I should be all wisdom and flowing goddess gowns right now, offering up platitudes like One Day At A Time and It Gets Better and Serenity Now and other meaningless things that are designed to make us sound less like assholes with no words in our mouths when something bad happens. God knows I could try. But life ain't like the movies, where a thoughtful platitude makes Julia Roberts square her shoulders and get on with things.

So here's the truth: I'm sad you're sad. I'm sad you've lost someone you love. I love you, and I know your strength, your firm sense of family, and I hope those things help carry you. I would do anything to make this easier for you, because I can see on your face how hard this is. Please remember to breath.

For Mike, Jamie and John.

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