Thursday, March 12, 2009

Maude would be proud

I love the movie Harold and Maude. I first saw it in high school with my friend John Bowie (I'm pretty sure of this) and then went on to see it at least a dozen more times during college and probably a little less since then. I haven't seen it in a few years and so when I saw that it was playing on TMC I promptly set the dvr to record it. It only took me two days nap times to get all the way through it but this afternoon I got to watch the last 30 minutes while Shimmy was snoozing.

It's funny, I know that ending is so beautifully sad but I don't remember ever really crying at it. Part of that is I don't think of myself (pre-pregnancy) as a big cryer, although I certainly will tear up at the big jerkers. This afternoon, Harold & Maude hit home in way that it only could given the time and circumstances of my life.

If you've never seen the movie, please stop reading this weird blog about the Fitch-Jenett family immediately and go out to your nearest video store and rent the movie. I'm serious, do it now. Do it. Go.

If you've seen the movie but haven't in a while you should do the same.

If you've seen it in the last 6 months you're good. Read on.

So of course I love the quirkiness. I love the humor. I love the soundtrack. What's not to love? A 20 something with a death wish (and multiple staged suicide attempts), meets a 79 year old who steals cars, attends funerals dressed in white with a yellow umbrella, and transplants trees from the city to the forest. They fall in love.

Spoiler here.

That she chooses to end her time on this earth just as Harold is feeling love and connection for the first time in his life is so sweet and hard to watch. It always has been, but this afternoon it just hit home in a terrible and beautiful way.

Maude is a holocaust survivor but the only way we know that is from a story she tells in the first part of the movie placing her childhood in Austria and then a brief moment where Harold sees the number tattooed on her arm. There's no conversation, no obvious mention, no dialogue at all about it. In that moment though, it is clear where Maude's fire and love of life comes from. She takes such joy in living each moment, it's powerful like a tidal wave washing over Harold. It's so frikkin' sweet to watch him get swept away by her.

And so at the end of the movie when Maude decides that 80 years is just enough, you can see the devastation in Harold. It's an amazing shot of just his back, through a window no less, but you can see him crumple (even as he remains standing) from the loss.

It's how I feel with death standing just behind Simon ready to catch him should he or his heart decide that it's enough. That I could and would crumble like that if that time should come. He's doing so fabulous right now, laughing, smiling, and being so present for each moment in our days. I've said it before, he is such a bright light. He's just not tethered at strongly as the rest of us. If any one knows it's me, that just because you have a strong tether (you're in the best of health blah blah blah) there are horses and motorcycles that could cross your path. But to be walking through your days and already have the tether be gossamer thin...well that's another story. That's Simon's story right now.

So I sobbed. I sobbed for Maude who got to live with wild abandon. I sobbed for Harold who just learned what that means and now has to do it on his own. (I know they're characters in a movie but still....go see it.)


I sobbed for Simon who has so much joy and love to give.

Oh yeah, and I sobbed for me and Jaime for having to live with the fear that Simon may not get to share that love for very long and wanting him to get to do that because it's such a good thing.

I think how much greater the world I live in would be if he got to stick around. That's what turns the sobbing into a joyful laugh and smile.

That's what I ended on.
Now go see the movie.
Love to all
Avocado facial anyone? The carrot is extra.
It also works well as a pomade


Jen said...

Tetherball at IB. That's all I have to say to you at the moment. There is no meaning, I'm just reminding you of that old ball and dusty circle.
Love you

Sol said...


If you remember nothing else from Harold and Maude, remember that word and the context in which you heard it.

Then try to stop giggling.