Maybe we all need plastic grieving tools

Aug 5, 2008Archive

Hubby and I watched Lars and the Real Girl two nights ago. Wow. A surprising, deep, emotional movie. I still can’t believe we both cried.

That evening and the next day I thought about the main premise of the movie–that Lars needed an inanimate girl as a substitute for the mom he never knew. She died at birth and he never got to bond with her, believe she did no wrong, rebel against her, then make his peace with her. So he did it all through a mannequin-type doll/woman, all the while being completely delusional.

The irony is that the town he lived in went along with his delusion. They invited the doll places, treated her as real as any person. A beautiful picture of community.

It occurred to me that maybe we would all be better off if we could take a tangible object and grieve with it. I was ten years old when my father left this earth. I never experienced:

  • My father teaching me how to drive.
  • My father helping me decide what college to go to.
  • My father giving me a shoulder to cry on when my heart broke.
  • My father dispensing sage advice while I decided on a major. (I chose his: English)
  • My father meeting my future husband.
  • My father walking me down the aisle.
  • My father holding his grandchildren.

Maybe the sting of the pain would’ve been lessened had I had a period of time to physically grieve him. I’m not sure what it would’ve been that I lugged around. A book of poetry? His camera and lenses? A life-size photo?

We all scrap our way through grief in a blind journey. Maybe having something tangible would’ve prevented the My-Father’s-still-alive-in-Africa dreams. Or maybe not. Hard to say. I’m curious what you have to say about grief, and about the movie. Comment away…