Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Year of Magical Thinking

I went to see Vanessa Regrave in the play "A Year of Magical Thinking," and it left me really thoughtful about Chelsie and the loss to our family. The play is about a woman who loses her husband and daughter in the same year. She talks about how, to cope, she resorted to "magical thinking," suspending her logic and reason to keep herself from grasping the full loss. So she would think things like, "This looks like a fun vacation, we'll have to go on that when Dean gets back." She tried throwing out his clothes, but couldn't because it meant he wasn't ever going to use them again. She made elaborate plans for the funeral, redid her apartment, organized all her files, thinking that she would have everything ready for when they got back. She pointed out that she didn't say to herself directly that they were coming back; and she wasn't expecting some miraculous resurection or mistaken identity. Just that she led her life in a way that would allow them to come back. It was the only way to survive for her. I just thought it was such a beautiful thing, because I feel very much the same. At the end of the play, she talked about the huge conflict in her emotions. She felt relief to be moving on and not weighed down with sadness, but she felt pain at having to let go of her family for good and admit to herself that she was alone and they weren't coming back. She said the last battle was finally admitting to herself that death was real. The play was a lot more eloquent than I can type here, but it really struck home how any reaction is normal, we all do what we have to shield ourselves from too much emotional pain, and that it all just takes time.

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