Went on a hot date over the weekend to the movies and saw Bill Murray in St. Vincent.
I love Bill Murray. I am not done considering my overall opinion of this (very) dark comedy, but I am way overdue in sharing the part that immediately resonated with me…
Yes, it has to do with grief.
Bill Murray plays a character who (spoiler alert) loses his wife. The conversation he has with the little boy he babysits is very relevant to me. It went something like this:
(little boy) I’m sorry for your loss.
(Bill Murray, angrily) Why do people always say that?
(little boy) Because they don’t know what else to say.
(Bill Murray) How about, what was she like?
So I’m in the movie theatre and I just burst into tears, trying to tell my husband (yup, I’m talking during the movie now, too) that: IT’S NOT FAIR!
What’s not fair?
The way society forces us to shut down our grief. I’m sorry for your loss is the same thing as saying: that’s enough, shut it down, this conversation is over. That is not polite, that is cold and rude. It’s also unhealthy. What was she like? Now that’s a conversation opener. Brilliant. Much warmer. Demonstrates that you care.
So I have already started doing it. Asking people who are grieving: what was she like? And the result is beautiful. I recommend it. Relationships never die. Trust me. Even if the other person dies, your relationship never dies because it lives inside of you. Keep talking about your loved ones who have passed, it strengthens your relationship; makes it grow.
I was trying to tell my best friend about this concept and saw the 1987 version of the movie The Secret Garden in my head. Remember when that little girl finds the key and opens the Secret Garden door for the first time? What garden?! The brown overgrown piles of sticks and dead leaves were so high and thick; you would never know we finally made it to the garden but for the title of the movie. That’s where your relationships go that you think are dead. That’s where the relationships go that you wish were dead. Relationships never die. They are just waiting for you behind the wall you put up.
Am I blowing your mind? Watch this video I made:
Revisit your relationships—every single one of them, as they are all living inside of you. Take inventory. Roll up your sleeves and be willing to do the hard work. Gardens don’t bloom in a day.
A Double Haiku by Rachel VanKoughnet:
Always with Despair,
sometimes I think I can count
my friends on one hand…
…then I remember:
you keep your friends in your heart.
I’m never alone.