Monday, December 29, 2008

Who knows what the tide could bring?

The universe is a clever thing.

I'd seen the ads for Castaway on cable for a few days now. I remember liking it when I saw it. The first time I saw it was after my second miscarriage, and I vaguely remembered that I really liked the so-what of the movie. That scene where somehow the entire point of the movie is conveyed to you. He's on an island, he floats to a rescue, big deal, so what. Then there's the scene with the so-what soliloquy and it was just what I needed at that moment.

I had forgotten about the so-what soliloquy and found myself watching Castaway last night, even against my wishes. I happened to flip to its channel, and couldn't stop watching.

Then I got an update on Dante. I'll not get into it here, but the end is nearing, and I couldn't stop crying. I realized why I'm so taken with Dante, considering I've never met his mother or him in real life.

It's because it could be Brody. And man, that's a hole that me, a former panic attack sufferer, could really climb down quickly, isn't it? Before I had children, I thought children with illness were a sad thing. And when I had a child who has an illness, I experienced terror for the first time in my life.

All of those cliches about how much you love your child are true. Every single one of them. It's a shame that they are all cliches, too, because I don't think you really comprehend the depth of love in your heart until you have a child. And when you have that, you also have this vulnerability that is glaringly exposed: your child. And when that child is threatened, nothing else matters. Nothing.

Which is why, in a great measure, I have been so affected by Dante. Because in a way it doesn't have anything to do with Dante, but with Brody. Dante's family is experiencing my worst nightmare, and I can't look away. Because it could still be us. It could still be him. I could choke on my fear and suffocate myself with powerlessness.

Which is what made me sob in the shower after reading the update last night.

Then I remembered the so-what soliloquy from Castaway. And how it helped me when I first experienced a profound lack of control - recurrent miscarriages - and why did I like that movie so much after that scene? So I looked it up. Ahh. . . . the universe is very clever at reminding me what I need to know and learn.

Here it is. Tom Hanks is back in civilization, and he's just left Kelly, his fiance, at her house with her husband and new baby. He's got a whiskey on the rocks clinking in his glass, and unshed tears in his eyes:

We both had done the math. Kelly added it all up and... knew she had to let me go. I added it up, and knew that I had... lost her. 'cos I was never gonna get off that island. I was gonna die there, totally alone. I was gonna get sick, or get injured or something. The only choice I had, the only thing I could control was when, and how, and where it was going to happen. So... I made a rope and I went up to the summit, to hang myself. I had to test it, you know? Of course. You know me. And the weight of the log, snapped the limb of the tree, so I-I - , I couldn't even kill myself the way I wanted to. I had power over *nothing*.

And that's when this feeling came over me like a warm blanket. I knew, somehow, that I had to stay alive. Somehow. I had to keep breathing. Even though there was no reason to hope. And all my logic said that I would never see this place again. So that's what I did. I stayed alive. I kept breathing. And one day my logic was proven all wrong because the tide came in, and gave me a sail. And now, here I am. I'm back. In Memphis, talking to you. I have ice in my glass... And I've lost her all over again. I'm so sad that I don't have Kelly. But I'm so grateful that she was with me on that island. And I know what I have to do now.
I gotta keep breathing.
Because tomorrow the sun will rise.
Who knows what the tide could bring?


Jacque said...

I love Castaway and I watched part of it last night too. That movie didn't end like I would have liked it to, and life is exactly like that, it doesn't always come out like we hope. We do have to roll with the tide, and pray we come out on top of the wave.

Anonymous said...


What an excellent way of describing how it feels to be the parent of kids like ours. I've never had a work for it before but that about sums it up.

I missed Castaway last night- I was watching "Mermaid Girl" on TLC with my 8- going on 30- year old. The I took him to the bar- talk about diversity lessons for the night!

Love Brody's helmet!


Shannon said...

I know exactly how you feel about Dante because I feel the same way. I cannot even allow myself to think about losing Zoey or Lily, it hurts too much to even imagine it. I am sad for Dante and his family, but thinking about it always makes me think of me and my children. I cannot imagine.

Robyn said...

If I ever lost Rylie, I honestly think I would just go catatonic, shut down, and have to be committed. Not kidding.