I took my niece to a movie today. It wasn’t for her. She is on vacation from school and probably bored out of her mind but I invited her to a movie just because I wanted to go. I’m supposed to be working, I am. I work. I just do it in the middle of the night and at weird hours. Don’t worry; they’re getting their money’s worth. It’s the clock that’s unreliable. So today at 2pm I took a break and went to the movies with my pseudo-niece. She’s a nut. A total wild card. She and I have had some rough moments, but we are so goooood now. More on that another time. Today, she was my movie buddy. Today, we went to see an alien invasion movie, Arrival.
Yeah, that’s what we thought anyway.
After I dropped her off at home, I sobbed in my car. I sobbed my eyes out and couldn’t catch my breath. Guys, I am strong. I am fierce, actually. I am super human. I’ve learned that over the years and I accept it now, without ego or bravado. I just know who I am. I write this because it is important that readers know that I KNOW who I am. I know how strong I am. I am the epitome of resilience. I carry the flag at the front of the parade of brave mothers. Okay? I am s.t.r.o.n.g. and yet, this movie…
This movie reduced me to tears.
It was all I could do to hold it together in front of my niece.
Ohhhhh, but on the drive home? Alone in my car? As the movie replayed in my mind, I came to the realization that I really shouldn’t watch these types of movies. Time travel? Aliens? Higher knowledge? The concepts are dangerous to me. They make me want to abandon normal life in pursuit of the idea that I could actually find Mason somewhere in this universe. On my own. Despite the rules of time. When I watch these movies or consider these ideas, I am consumed with the idea that it just might be possible to find that time portal and make my way back to a year where he still exists. There were so many layers of what was and what is, existing at the same time. There was knowledge of the future, and the past, which hadn’t actually occurred, and a moment of choice.
Spoiler alert… this movie will wreck you if you have lost a child (… and that is NOT what it is even about!!!!)
I know I am crazy. I know.
Have you seen the new TV show Timeless? Or have you seen the movies Time Traveler’s Wife, About Time, Interstellar, Frequency? These are dangerous movies and TV shows if you have lost a child. I’ve lost other relatives, don’t get me wrong. I’d LOVE to see them again too… but there is NOTHING like the loss of my own son. Nothing. No pain even scrapes the surface of this misery. No description, however specific, can even do justice to the depth of this loss. So when I see these movies, or TV shows, I become obsessed. Irrational, almost. Fascinated, at the very least.
The layering of time over time. The possibility of traveling through time. The influence of the future on the present. The intersection of different types of time (i.e. Chronos vs. Kairos).
I thought we were going to see an alien movie. And it was. It was totally about aliens, yes, and so much more. When we left, my niece-of-sorts told me it was confusing and I tried to explain it to her. But how could she know? How could she understand the depth of emotion and pain and loss and CHOICE depicted in that film? She is too young. Thankfully, for her, she cannot understand the depth of this movie’s message. I thought of my friends who have lost children. As we walked to my car, I wiped tears from my cheeks and thought of Sarah, and Mary, and Erin. I thought of Wendy. I thought of Carla’s mom and Ryan’s mom. I thought of the man who approached me at a recent parents’ night… I never got his name… but he sobbed as he held my hands and asked me, “How do I go on?”
I held it together. I held them all in my heart and made silly banter and simple conversation with my niece all the way home. But when she was out of my car, all bets were off. All gates were open. The flood came. The grief burst forth. If only I could go back in time…
If only I could find a way.
Here is the question posed to me today: “If you knew everything you know now, would you still choose it? Would you do it again? Would you suffer the pain just to have HIM, experience him, love him?”
I have asked myself different versions of this same question many times in the three years he has been gone.
Never have I posed the question in this way. Never have I considered ‘knowing’ and choosing it still. Choosing him still.
Choosing the rejection from my family, still.
Choosing the abandonment from his father, still.
Choosing the betrayal of friends, or the struggles, or the judgment from the church, or the heavy weight of responsibility of parenting alone, still.
If I knew how it would end, if I knew every single bit of it, would I choose to do it again?
And that, my friends, is what I cried for. What I cry for now. If I knew the end before the beginning, would I do it still? Dear God. Yes. I would take this pain again, forever, again and again, just to know him.
Just to mother him.
To shmuvver him.
To love him.
To raise him.
To lose him.
To miss him.
To be a small part of his journey.
To have him be such an enormous part of mine.
it’s just me…
The blog, It’s Just Me, is written by Holly Chamberlain, who makes a living as a regional sales manager for a global pharmaceutical company and who makes a life by working with teenagers, teachers, and parents to redefine the criteria for who is ‘at risk’ for self-harm and suicide. She is the Founder of the aMasongrace Project and shares these core messages with students to help build resilience, offer hope, and improve self-esteem: Moments Pass, Please Stay, You Matter.
To subscribe to the blog, please visit the website, www.aMasongraceproject.com, to enter your email address. Follow the aMasongrace project on Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat: @aMgYouMatter.
To invite the aMasongrace project to speak to your youth group or school, please contact Holly via aMasongraceproject@gmail.com.