Yesterday I had the opportunity to see the movie “Love Happens”. I had known from previous trailers that this movie was about a man suffering grief from the loss of his wife. Realizing that watching a movie like this at this time of year may have not been one of my better ideas I went anyway. What I didn’t understand that there was a lesson I would walk away with.
In the movie this man has written a book about his experience after losing his wife suddenly in a car accident. During a large part of the movie he is out on the book circuit promoting his book and providing seminars for those attending who are going through the grieving process. For those of you who know me well, know that I too am writing a book. Although I don’t have a PhD, I am an RN which means I have seen a lot of grief. I have seen it also first hand in myown life. I don’t have any intention on doing seminars or going out on a book circuit, but I do think that going out and talking to people about grief is in my future.
Without spoiling the ending for anyone, I will just say that I would encourage anyone to see this movie who has been involved with a person who is grieving. Because I believe it will serve as a means for you to understand that everyone grieves differently and at different levels. So often we tend to have a preconceived idea of how someone should grieve. I think that most of that misconception comes from what will make us feel better because grief is uncomfortable. It’s not fun and it certainly is a process most want to avoid no matter what the circumstances are.
I know from my own experiences it’s a two-sided story. From one aspect it’s a personal journey that evolves. Death brings us to places where we find it uncomfortable. It makes us uneasy. It makes us look at our own mortality. It makes us face our own beliefs in the unknown. It makes us question why. And if you are a believer – you may even question God.
I know I have and still do question God as to why I lost my mother while being 7 months pregnant with Brittany. Losing my grandmother 5 years later. And then the worst loss of all, the sudden death of my 17-year-old daughter Brittany. I can’t possibly begin to tell you that God has answered my questions. He has not. But what He has provided is along my journey some very special people who I would have never met, who I would have never known the largeness of their hearts and their generosity and love for me and for God.
What I also know is that there are things I have yet to deal with. In the movie it becomes clear that this man is living two lives. The life of a griever that is public, the one we all want you to see. And then the life of a griever that is private. The one we don’t want you to see. The one that makes us vulnerable. It makes us retreat from public life because we don’t want anyone to know how we truly feel.
Over the next week I’m going to tell you my private thoughts on my own experience and what I learned in watching this movie. I do it not because it will help me, I know it will. But because I hope that someone somewhere will read it and have moment where they realize that this monster called grief must be faced full on and without fear. Because it can consume you and it can take away your life. As it has mine over the past 3 years. My story may take you places you have never been and may never want to go. But I can tell you that once you hear it, it may encourage you to know that someday what you learn may help you to help someone else.
And that is why I write.
Until next time