I cried so hard after I saw the movie "Nell" that Mr B had to drive me around a nearby lake for half an hour till I could get a grip. A pretty strange reaction to a movie a lot of people found average to awkward to awful.
I still don't know exactly why I was so deeply moved, but I'm sure that Natasha Richardson's performance together with Jodie Foster and Liam Neeson evoked something very deep in my bones about the breathing-taking forms that love and loss and love-again can take.
Natasha's death this week has rattled me to the numbing point of denial. I could not bring myself to read about it or even try to piece together the chronology of her demise from snippets of overheard conversation. Usually I fixate on such events, one, because I'm drawn to all things medical, and two, because I'm a movie star junkie.
But not this week.
My beloved firstborn has had so many head injuries from soccer and snow sports, we began to think of the emergency room staff as next-door neighbors. And while hate is not an emotion I that experience often, it's the precise feeling that springs to mind when I think of head injuries. And I have one.
And that's why I snuck out of the room on this tragedy. Not because of the unbearable grief that accompanies Natasha leaving two young boys and a bereaved husband and family. Not because of the vacuum created when the world loses one so luminous and gifted and young. But for baffling selfish reasons.
I'm alive. She isn't. My fall 5 weeks ago could have dimmed my lights for good. But it didn't. I had nasty symptoms and a hematoma outside my skull. She didn't. I was immediately whisked away into the blessed vortex of savvy, compassionate, nearby medical care. She wasn't. I'm recovering. She won't.
I'd like to say I'm grateful, but the word isn't big, rich, deep, wide, or beautiful enough.
(For a cogent take on this tragedy, I suggest you visit the beautiful post by A Tidings of Magpies)