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Apr 11, 2006 04:27 # 42497
If my mother were still alive, and if you added 30 years to her looks, and gave her a Michigan accent (such as the one she had), she could have been Mrs. Palfrey. When I saw the previews for this movie, I could not for the life of me figure out why I wanted to see it so badly; yet, when I saw Mrs. Palfrey on screen it was as if she were my mom. She wore her hair that way, wore that kind of jewelry, the scarves, the same kind of coat, the walk, the way she carried herself. Her fascination for poetry; though Mrs. Palfrey's favorite was Wordsworth, her husband Arthur's was Blake...and my mother's Edna St. Vincent Millay, my father's Emily Dickinson.
My father quoted poetry to my mother to woo her...and sang her songs. Theirs was that kind of romance that Mrs. Palfrey reminisced over. When my mother Judy had my sister and I, was when all of the dysfunctional behaviour mirroring my grandmother's behaviour with her (as it always seems to happen with families...) came to the forefront; but, after her and my father's move to St. Louis things really changed. She was angry about moving here, and internalized it that's true...but she also became almost exactly like what Mrs. Palfrey was in this movie--a lovely lady. Her last decade was the most beautiful of her life from my vantage point. Of course, she would not likely say that.
She would likely ruminate over her lost youth, and the romance she and my father shared then...as Mrs. Palfrey did over her husband Arthur. And while watching Mrs. Palfrey, I remembered how, before the cancer scared me off, I was with my mother, almost exactly like Mrs. Palfrey's friend Ludo, with the exception that I just loved her as a dear friend. We had developed the kind of friendship usually reserved for people of the same age in this century where everything must be age-appropriate. She was my BEST FRIEND. And I still miss her.
Watching this film, my friend Rick and I, were both moved to tears. Both of us thought of all the families that do not appreciate their loved ones who are aging, and thought of how wonderful it was for Mrs. Palfrey to have this friend. My grandmother, in her later years, had such a friend. My mother didn't really like him, and I can't say I did much either. But we didn't really see what he meant to her. We only saw the stuff he did that was manipulative.
I get to thinking about Georgia O'Keefe in her later years...and I get to thinking about how I do believe in reincarnation while I am sitting here eating roasted orange and yellow peppers with Thai basil and lemon juice; something my mother would love to share on her best china, or on tiny crystal plates from the thirties that she got at a yard sale. I am tempted to go pick up a book of Edna St. Vincent Millay's poetry, or Mary Oliver's poetry. Mary Oliver was one of her favorite poets toward the end of her life. And then I think, how this whole thing about my identity on this place took a turn for the worse, when the identity of Ludo in this movie did not. In my case, a dark man from my past tried to destroy my place in this community...and then by accident, and to add insult to injury, I made the mistake of writing a piece "in my mother's voice" that confused enough people to cause a problem, and have them think that I was not who I am.
We are all kidding ourselves if we think we aren't all acting to a certain extent through our lives. When I came here, I tried to act as if the things that had broken my heart were already healed, when they were not. We are all "actors", at the risk of sounding too Shakespearean. Would that it were different.
I wish...there was the forgiveness and understanding in the so-called real world all of the time, that there was in this movie. I wish those here, in this supposedly 'unreal' world, could understand just exactly how much my mother meant to me, and how this movie touched such a raw, wounded place in my soul. My writing, the "dramas" that I apparently have when so many have none, have all been about healing this raw, wounded place. The relationship with my mother and my family. The very place that 'Mr. Potatohead' (not his real name...) found and filled with his venom. I've spent ages slowly sucking that venom out...and when I come upon a movie such as this, my heart just swells remembering the woman my mother had become, and the man that came into my life after she died could have been, if he'd opened his heart. He's like Desmond in the movie...the real one, in a way....
All of these relationships I have had since her death, served pretty much only to try to heal the realization that death does come. And now that I have decided to be celibate for a year, until next January 6th, I am finally truly able to grieve her loss, and to find the parts of me that I buried. In the movie, when Mrs. Palfrey says to an older gentleman who proposes to her, that all of her life she has been either someone's daughter, someone's wife, or someone's mother, and now she just wants to be her: Sarah Palfrey...I know my mother felt this way, and so do I. I don't want to be trying to be someone's girlfriend before I've really met myself. You don't really need to be in a defined relationship to someone else to be happy, you just need friends. Friends who realize that even they too, are human, and everyone sees what they want to see in themselves and in others, rather than the truth.
And all of this, makes my heart open just that much wider. All of this makes me think about forgiving EVERYBODY that ever hurt me or those that I love, because life is so very, very short. And the Mrs. Palfrey's of the world are such gems.
Smile at the next little old lady or man that you see, and invite them to dinner to tell you their stories. One day, if you all ever finally meet me, hopefully, not only will I be as kind as Mrs. Palfrey and as lovable, but by then it won't matter to you what age I am, what my name is, or how I look. Hopefully, it will just matter that my heart is good, and that I can love. Hopefully you'll just trust me to be myself, and I'll do the same with each of you.
When I am wobbling down the street with a cane, white hair, and a beautiful scarf from Venice around my neck, will you pick me up when I fall, and invite me in for a cup of tea?
My mind is made up...not like my bed, which is a mess.
This post was edited by rosyxxx on Apr 11, 2006.
Dec 19, 2006 01:25 # 43728