I remember just after Sam had passed last May, with my wounds of loss so fresh, wide-open and raw, I was sitting in my very first moms’ support group dinner at Vino Villa, down on Madison Ave., in Greenwood. During dinner conversation, one of the moms I had just met said something that struck me oddly, i.e, that I didn’t understand; a mom who at the time I really didn’t know at all and who since that time I’ve not only come to know, but I’ve also come to love for the kind and generous person that she is, her beautiful heart and profound spirit. What she said that struck me oddly was that after the loss of her daughter that in the first year she and her husband often went to the movies and it helped (in their grieving). It struck me oddly because I’ve never really considered myself a “movie-goer” so the only times I really had interest in going to see a movie was socially in my younger years and then when we went as a family; first the Disneys’ then Yu-Gi-Oh and Bionicles followed on with the Harry Potters’, Lord of the Rings’, James Bond, The Hobbit, etc. I remember seeing the first midnight showing of Harry Potter #6 with Sam; that was the first and only time I’ve seen the very first release viewing of a movie. Sam and I were watching it in Greenwood with a lively audience dressed as movie characters jovially shouting out Harry Potter-isms in the crowd before the movie. At the same time, Nick and Ed were watching it in Danville because it came out in the summer and Nick was there for swim season part of the week and spoiling of the highest nature by his grandma and grandpa.
Why would I go to the movies now, I thought as I heard what my mom-friend shared in her wisdom. How would that help me now? To be further reminded of the pain of loss and of what will no longer be? I so appreciated what she said and pondered her advice but too quickly perhaps discarded the thought of going to the movies as something that would be helpful to me in this devastation.
Most everything changes with loss I’ve learned and also, she was right. Almost nine months later, I can now say that in the past months I’ve been to the movies to see “Gone Girl”… twice; “Should I Stay”… twice; “American Sniper”… twice. I’ve also seen “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon, “Birdman" with Michael Keaton, “The Boy Next Door” with Jennifer Lopez, “Jupiter Ascending” with Channing Tatum, “Still Alice” with Julianne Moore and “Mockingjay - Part 1” (after I watched the first two Hunger Games on Netflix first). That names most of the movies I’ve gone to see although not necessarily in that order and doesn’t designate which movies I might have seen in the same day even. Sometimes I go with Nick or a friend, sometimes Ed and I go with another couple and often I go by myself. In the dark, pitch black theatre, in a comfy chair, I have found I can go anywhere other than where I am. And if I cry, the tears fall and no one is the wiser.
On another note, the past few days have brought about a sort of culmination in my current journey. Yesterday I was at Connersville High School and I saw first-hand all they did in awareness during National Drug Facts Week and how the $1,000 donation from Sam’s Watch will be helpful. Then in the afternoon I was at the Indiana Statehouse to support stringent synthetic drug legislation. Last night I shared about Sam with a group in a seemingly impactful way by the tears I saw from the eyes of dads, moms and their teens who are working with a second chance; a second chance Sam didn’t have. Nick was beside me, steadfast and true, my all-time supporter. When we got home after, Nick opened his mail to find a special invite to a prestigious conference in a professional field he has interest in which could mean that if he accepts the invite, this summer Ed and I will be with him in Boston where the conference is. Next, with this morning, I checked my emails to find Nick still has all A's in his classes and then in the early snowfall I drove to Whiteland High School to pick up the documentary DVD of Sam called “The Power of Choice” completed by the Seniors submitting it in the local film festival of “A Story That Has To Be Told.” Then today, all day, was a day recognized by Gov. Pence of our work in memory of Sam. Finally, later this afternoon I got word of a favorable decision towards something professionally that I’ve been working on and hope I will be able to make official in mid-April. So as I consider what I will do to pause and rest a while on laurels, I know exactly what I’m going to do with my ever-broken heart. I’m going to the movies.