Last night I took a wonderfully relaxing restorative yoga class, complete with candles and chanting music, it was lovely. When I arrived home my very adoring husband met me in the driveway and said “Come on let’s go to the movie store and get a rom/com”.
Huh? A rom/com? Really?
“Yes, you like those”, he replied and off we went without any argument from me.
The movie store was empty so we were given a lot of attention by the salesman who walked the store with us and tried to help us find a movie that was appropriate for the whole family. There were two that he recommended and one had a dog so I chose that one, The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Disclaimer, if you have not watched this movie and want to be surprised turn back now and stop reading the rest of the post!
All I knew was that this movie had a dog and I thought I had heard it was a book turned into a movie and people said it was good. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t really follow pop culture too closely and that combined with my horrendous memory makes choosing movies a bit of a crap shoot.
So we know in the first scene that the dog is going to die, I’m not spoiling anything here it really is that obvious.
I can handle a dog dying, as a matter of a fact I began thinking this would actually be good for me because I have been questioning if I am even capable of crying anymore. Since starting the anti anxiety meds I have felt a lot less anxiety (thankfully they are doing their job), but I have also felt a lot less sad and I’m not always convinced that is a good thing. You see I am a full experience kinda girl. I want to feel ALL the feelings, good bad, every single bit of it, just a tiny bit less worry! So anyway since I haven’t really had a good cry in a while I figured this would bring some things to the surface and show me that I am still whole.
Here is what I didn’t expect. About halfway through this movie the mom starts to feel sick and the dog immediately knows that something is not right with her, he can smell what is happening. I looked at my family and said “Oh my God, the mom has a brain tumor”! Seriously?
How is it possible that of the hundreds of movies available I chose the one with the mom who has a brain tumor? I know exactly how this is possible because my patients talk to me about this all the time. In their cases it is movies about babies dying, stillbirth, miscarriage. No matter what they put on tv to distract themself somehow it finds them, the same way that this movie found its way into our dvd player.
It goes without saying that the mom dies, then the dog dies. The last time I cried this much through a movie I was watching Stepmom, if you have seen this movie then you understand there is just no way around it.
Back to last night. So it goes without saying that I ugly cried, and my kids hugged me a lot (this was the first time I have really showed any emotion about this in front of them). Yes, I had a discussion with them about the fact that the mom in the movie probably had a very aggressive brain tumor based on what we saw transpire with her, and that is not what I have (at least I hope not, fingers crossed for a good scan this week).
I have worked in the world of grief for eight years now, every day is death, grief, & loss. Working so close to death by default makes you consider your own mortality in a way that the average person is probably not accustomed to. This isn’t new for me or uncomfortable. But it has never felt as close to home as it does now. Even though it may still be, and hopefully is VERY far away.
Something I have learned over the years by working so closely to death is that all we are guaranteed is today, right now, the present. I try hard to pay attention to the small details, to enjoy the moments and to not take them for granted.
The dog in the movie stated that “The good driver knows not to dwell in the past or the future but to focus on the present”.
Some days it is a struggle to completely focus on the present but that is my goal, to continue to notice, wonder, revel, and enjoy the moments I am given. Also, I’m taking recommendations of shows that do not involve moms dying from brain tumors!