Monday, September 24, 2007

Crybaby alert!

How cool was I today on the plane ride home Vancouver when Away From Her, the in-flight movie, played and I cried beside some guy I've only ever spoken to in order to get to the toilet?

Now, first: see previous email about having no sleep.
But, seriously, have you seen this movie?
It's pretty touching.

I mean, this old couple is so in love (the first tears welled up right there: just thinking about the deep, long-lasting love. That's when I realized I had to write about this because emotional-Cathy is really something sappy and funny when you're not in the middle of it, so I'm giggling about it now).

And then the wife, Fiona, develops Alzheimer’s and the progression of the disease is sad, for sure, but the really sad part is that she loves her husband, Grant, so much that she doesn't want to burden him with her care. She decides, while she still has her marbles, to self-check into some caring institution. He is resistant. Actual rolling-down-the-face tears came when she firmly asks him to leave, but only because it is so very hard for her to say goodbye. And you know that it's hard for her because it is so hard for him. OK, you get the whole love theme happening here? It's heartbreaking.

And once I start, pretty much anything sets me off.
Grant comes back to visit Fiona and she has forgotten him, predictably, but shockingly has found another boyfriend! But Grant continues to visit her every day, doggedly, even though she clearly feels uncomfortable with him there and prefers to spend all her time and compassion that she used to share with her husband on her new mate. And still he comes. Grant explains to a young kid who asks why he continues to visit and torture himself:

"To watch her. To make sure she's happy and OK."

Come on!
My throat is aching, trying not to sob.

And then this new mate leaves the hospital because his wife (yes, he too has a wife) can't afford to pay to keep him there.

Fiona is devastated. Her health goes downhill in grief over the loss of her loved one, the only one she can remember. And what does Grant do? Visits their house and tries to convince the wife to bring Fiona's lover back to the hospital.

Cry fest. Seriously. It was all over for me.
Every thought after that was just a huge wash of emotion that I couldn't contain so I had to distract myself by thinking about something totally mundane like how much laundry I needed to do when I got home and what I was going to wear tomorrow. My brain wasn't capable of any higher thought, to be honest.

But it was a beautiful movie about the selflessness of true love. Which of course led me to introspection on how selfish I am (I love how self-critical I can be -- I'm probably not that selfish, really) and how I'd like to fix that but wondering if it's just something that fixes itself when the situation is right. In truth, I suspect it is a little of both: it requires the right relationship as well as the right personal commitment to it and maybe a different understanding of the self compared to the whole.

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