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Thursday, 23 September 2004

I pretend I'm ok, but I'm not

Just went to see the movie Goodbye Lenin which is about a guy whose mother is dying and who goes to elaborate lengths to hide from her the fal of the Berlin Wall, as it would upset her. The mom dies at the end and the movie turns into sort of a homage/memorial. I wish I had not gone to see it. Um, other than that, it's funny.

A year ago, I wouldn't have been able to sit through much of the movie at all. Now, I got all the way to the end before I started crying, you know, which is kind of embarassing, as the lights come up and I'm crying at the end of a comedy.

There are things you do when your mother is dying. The last birthday party. The attempt to hide some sort of truth about the situation and how the world is changing. Trying to somehow make things stay the way they were. The uncertainty of how long it will go on. The denial.

Everything in my life changed when my mom was sick. So many things ended. Everything is different now. In the movie, everything about East Germany changes. But everything that momentous happened on a personal level to me.

When my grandma died, my mom was deeply upset for five years or so, if I recall. I remember explaining to my dad that I was worried about my mom because she had been mourning for over a year. Heavy mourning. She wasn't able to deal with stuff. And here I am, almost two years later, crying in a movie theatre. Crying while recording Chpoin's Funeral March. Still mourning my mom, my grandma, my cousin, my past relationship. So many endings. I used to worry last year that we would have to listen to a recording of Hank Williams in my Proseminar class and it would make me cry. I played it for my mother when she was dying because she recognized it and liked it. By the time Hank got played in class, I was more ok. I'm awlways getting more ok, but not all the way. How can you ever fully recover from life? You can't. Your wounds scab over and turn into scars and still hurt when something pokes them, maybe less and less over time. Maybe I'll slowly forget. I don't want to forget tho. I want to hold every moment in my brain as sharp as it is now. As sharp as it used to be. As burned in as it felt when it happened. Because I don't want to forget her. because my memories are who I am. Because my catholic culture puts a premium on suffering and so it seems good to have suffered.

three weeks of classes over. this semester is just flying by. And I have no idea where I'm going to land.


Yvette said...

Hi Celeste,

I read your blog. Did you know this? I am not anonymous. I wanted to tell you that I cried at the end of that movie, too.

And I do know what you mean when you say that you do not want to forget but want to hold the memories ever in their sharpness. There is something urgent about always being able to care viscerally, whereas something the memory comes back very sweetly, and I'm grateful for that, too. Yvette

Jean Sirius said...

first things first:
there there there there there there there

here's the secret: nobody ever knows where they're going to land. it's actually a gift to *know* you don't know.

crying in movies: ain't no big thing. i suspect people who don't do it, and i don't like 'em much, either.

in conclusion:
there there there there there there there there there