Friday, July 1, 2011

And the Road Goes Ever On

"My dear Sam, you can not always be torn in two: you will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much to enjoy, and to be, and to do. Your part in this story will go on."
- Frodo Baggins, The Return of the King (film)

Orlando Bloom and Elijah Wood
I made a huge step onto the road back to normalcy Tuesday night.  I went to a movie.  Now, I've been to dozens of movies in the last two years.  I've always loved movies, so when football is in short supply and thoughts are long and hard, it is the natural diversion, and this was true long before The Beast came to live with us.  There's nothing like a Jerry Bruckheimer blow-'em-up thin-plotted cinema extravaganza to calm one's nerves.  It went to another level when The Beast left.  I was digging pretty deep into the movie queue last summer trying to find anything that would distract me.  But, there were certain movies that I just couldn't do.  Movies that I loved and are part of the very fabric of our lives.

First some background:  I am not the biggest LOTR/Star Wars Fangirl on the face of the planet.  Not even close.  As a matter of fact, gather up a random sampling of say 100 professed Superfans, and I probably wouldn't even rank in the top 50.  I count myself a lesser member of a deeply dedicated group with memories for things like what the name of Grima Wormtongue's father is.  (Like, who cares, but in case you're curious, it's Gálmód.) But, I'm admittedly pretty far out there if you stack me up against the general public.  And I took my kids along with me.  They almost couldn't help but become steeped in the ways of the Force living with me as their mother.  As a matter of fact, Marissa is the only person to have beat me at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit (I was having an off day).  But, as much as Marissa may like them, Kelsey bordered on being in the top 50 in that room with both franchises.  They were a Big Deal for her.  She stopped short of reading the Star Wars novels like I do, but I probably could have brought her around to them at some point, because some of them are genuinely good fiction.

Silly as it may sound, it was some semblance of the glue that kept us bonded when there wasn't much else between us.  Some of my best memories as a mother and some of my worst have either Star Wars or Lord of the Rings somewhere in the telling.  Willow probably is in there somewhere too.  That held a pretty high place in our collective esteem as well.  And, of course, without her here, those memories still linger.  So, I hadn't watched any of either movie series since before Kelsey's death.

At first, I wasn't really conscious of what was happening.  I knew, in the immediate days following her death, when every moment was an agony and you'd do anything to pull yourself out of your own head, that, despite there being a lot of hours worth of material there, I couldn't do it.  I picked up The Fellowship of the Ring in those first few days, looked at the box, then tucked it safely back on the shelf.  But, after that, as Mother's situation worsened and I went back to work, I didn't think too much about it.   There wasn't enough time to watch any of those films anyway.  Then Mother died, and time opened up just a bit.  I still didn't opt for a LOTR movie night.

I picked through my toys and collectibles, gave away some things, but kept most (currently sitting patiently in their boxes in my attic, waiting for a larger house with a dedicated Nerd-room), but it still didn't prompt me to pull out one of the DVD's and watch it.  But, I didn't really think about it as a decision.  I just didn't watch them.  Then I moved here, my boxes and boxes of Star Wars and LOTR toys along with me, and I had the time if I wanted it.  And that's when I realized:  I couldn't watch them.  They were too steeped in the memory of my daughter and my life with her.

And that's also when I determined that I needed to work to get that part of my life back at some point.  I couldn't let The Beast take that from me too.  I needed to celebrate that connection with Kelsey, not lose it.  I was ready to fight for it, but it wasn't that easy really.  Spike TV seems to be an All-Star-Wars-all-the-time network lately, so I'd watch maybe a half hour (most of which is commercials) here and there, or catch bits and pieces of the LOTR on TNT, but that's all I could handle.  I no longer get the email alerts I used to.  I don't visit the fan sites anymore.  I miss all that.  I revel in being a dork when it comes to stuff like that.  There has been such joy from it.  But, I just couldn't do it.  However, both franchises are releasing Blu-Ray versions (LOTR came out on Tuesday and Star Wars will follow in September), so it's been on my mind a lot more than usual lately and, as often happens, Fate took my hand.

We found another good movie theater quite by accident one day when we were lost.  That's our default now, so as we were there to see Super 8 not too long ago I saw the poster for the one night release of each of the Lord of the Rings films.  We had missed the first one already, but The Two Towers (my personal favorite) was coming up in a few days.  I discussed it with Marissa and debated what to do.  I chickened out and we opted for a baseball game instead.  That left The Return of the King.  My last chance.  Only showing on one screen that one night.  We decided to take the plunge.  And I did it.  I sat through all four hours and 25 minutes (no potty breaks, thank you very much), cried at the end like I always do, and enjoyed it when Marissa told me I wasn't close to the only one in the theater doing so.  Kelsey was on my mind through much of it, but I like to think she was happy that we were there, not mad that she wasn't.  I like to think she wants me to be one and whole for however many years and wants the Force to be with me.  I hope so anyway.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.  You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."
- Bilbo Baggins

The Fellowship of the Ring, NewLine Cinema

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