Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rabbit Hole

I am so similar to Becca in the movie Rabbit Hole. Joe and I went to see it last night and it made me thankful for a lot of things, not the least of which was that the Angelika is apparently not very crowded on a regular old Monday night, because I cried and cried and cried through the film. Her grief resembled mine so much - not a perfect portrait, but many of the same emotions, the same needs, similar patterns. Her anger, her doubt, her devastation, her determination to figure out how to do this, her somewhat selfish pushing of others, not knowing if she wants them near, far or what. I saw myself. And what is better I think, is that it made me forgive myself in a sense. There were moments that made me snort with laughter too - when Howie can't stop laughing during the Compassionate Friends meeting, even though it was inappropriate. Weird stuff like that - grief just does that to you. I loved that the movie doesn't pay too too much attention to the way their child died, but more focuses on the different ways in which people grieve and the different ways they cannot reach one another and the different ways in which they manage to after all. This movie is full of humanity and realism. It is a realistic portrait of grieving a child, and the small monologue Becca's mother gives about what it is like to live forever with the loss of a child was so spot on that I just about suffocated from trying not to open up in gut wrenching sobs. It felt good. It felt good to cry. It felt good to see someone SAY it and get it so right, even if it was just an actress. Somewhere, somebody knows or they would not have been able to put it in there like that. And the moment where she sees the kids all dressed up for prom - that hit pretty damn close to home right now. Prom for Joseph would be in four months. Prom. Graduation. All the things that come with that life change. In a way I needed this film. I write and I write and I write here and it helps. It really does. But sometimes I wonder if I am whispering into the wind, if anyone really reads it and if they do, does it really matter anymore. It has been four years. Am I becoming what I feared? Someone who cannot get over it? In all honesty, perhaps yes....and yet....really no. This is just one part of my life. But as she said in the movie - you never get over it. You learn how to carry it, like a brick in your pocket that you never put down. And sometimes you don't even think about it, until something draws your hand there and it comes back to you, the weight of it. Oh yeah. That.

Interestingly, there is a quote on the film's page, http://www.rabbitholefilm.com/, that says "The only way out is through". Suspiciously like what I have been saying since Joseph got sick and put on my blog, purely my own words - The only way to the other side is through.

I can see where the film might be hard for some, maybe even plodding or morose. But it isn't. It is just so very honest. And I love that the ending of it is not this nice, neat 10 minute wrap up meant to make you feel better. It ends on a breath of hope but does not ignore the difficulty and despair that the hope balances out...in short....it is real. It was worth seeing. I might even want to watch it again, simply for the validation and release it offered me.

ETA: I represented the meetings in the movies as being Compassionate Friends meetings. It had been anecdotally told to me that Compassionate Friends played a role consulting in the making of this film. It was never my intent to misrepresent or badly reflect on that organization. Quite the contrary in fact.


karen gerstenberger said...

I'm so glad to read this. When you posted that you were going to see it, I had a little inner gasp, like I do when I hear that others are going to see it. Gregg declined when we were invited to go see it with friends (whose son died 2 years ago), so I decided to wait for it to come out on Netflix. I am glad that it was a release, and a good one, for you.

How incredibly good that God brought you and Joe together. You two just seem to be made for each other.

Karen said...

Thanks for that review. I have been afraid to see it, but your words gave me courage. It is a lonely feeling being a bereaved mother and we all need each other. I am glad you are here and glad you write, and though I've never met you, I feel I know you on some very personal level. We are bonded by loss.
It is a slow process, coming to terms with the loss of child, and I agree that the writing helps a lot.

Wayne said...

It should be pointed out that the support group meetings in Rabbit Hole were not Compassionate Friends meetings, nor were they ever represented in the movie as being Compassionate Friends meetings.

Wayne Loder
Public Awareness Coordinator
The Compassionate Friends/USA