Last night I went to see “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and got caught up in the whole first 5 minutes of the film.
If you haven’t seen it, his mom dies. You’re welcome.
Anyway, as I was watching the scene, I realized that my perspective has certainly changed over the years. I think I was supposed to be identifying with Peter Quill in that moment: trying to figure out what was going on, angry that my mom was dying, isolated from humanity through the unbearable grief of death…
But in that moment all I could think of was the things I would want to tell Peter as his mother.
“Peter, this is going to be tough, and I can’t be here to help you anymore, so listen to me sweetie. Death is painful…for you. I won’t be in anymore pain after I die, but you will. You will have this pain like a rock inside of you that you can’t move. You will feel like you can’t breathe with this rock sitting in your chest. I want you to take some time to feel the rock, so you know what it is, and so you can let it go. Take time to write all your questions to God on the rock. Go ahead and ask Him why this had to happen: it’s okay to ask. Write down all the betrayal you feel, every tear of grief and lay it on top of the rock. And when you are ready, go down to the ocean and put the rock on the shore with the rest of the rocks. Let the waves come and go over your toes. And you can remember me there. But when you turn around to return home, I want you to be the best man you can be. Be kind to those who hurt. Be loving to those who are angry. Be forgiving to the bitter. Because you understand what it feels like, and you know how much pain we all are in. And you can be their smile when they forgot how to smile.
Peter, life isn’t always going to be fair, and I am sorry for that. But you will never regret being too kind or too loving. Make sure you see the people around you who you can love, and make sure you let them love you back.
Death is so final.
Most of my family has died. There is nothing I can do to bring anyone back. And I spent a lot of time sitting at the desk, so to speak, staring out the windows trying to find answers to the “whys” of death.
But after I became a mother, my perspective has definitely changed.
I looked down at the people sitting in the desks staring hopelessly out the window, and I at want to find the words to make sense of things. At least the best as humanly possible in the face of ethereal pickles.
The death of both Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams are tough.
Both of them brought so much beauty and joy through their art, it is agonizing to think that there is nothing we can do to bring them back. I can’t write them a letter and tell them that millions of people love them. I can’t reassure them that sometimes life hurts, but if they need to talk to someone, someone will always be there.
I can’t tell them these things, but I can tell the people around me…I can love them, and help them with their rocks that are keeping them at their desks.
And maybe, if I extend my hand to them, maybe I can help them stand on the desk too.
You never know.
One thought on ““Poetry. Beauty. Romance. Love. These are what we stay alive for.””
Absolutely loved this post and think I’ll copy the letter from the mother to leave to my son someday! What a great thought.