Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Imaginary Lunch with Judi Dench

I'm generally not big on cleaning, but I'm cleaning today. It's a good day to clean because I turned the music up and I can think. I needed to think still today because it's been a hard week with people dying. I just want to hold up my hand to the face of Death and say, "Wait. Wait for a while because you've been overwhelming me with all these people."

I need to clarify. No one I actually knew died this week. It's just been a series of people who I almost knew or who I thought I knew because I saw them all the time. 

Alan Rickman.

Here's the thing - I never even told Mike that I had a secret crush on Alan Rickman. Oh, he probably knew because I sat through any movie with Alan Rickman over and over, but I never admitted it out loud. He was one of the few I had looked up on IMBD and figured out if I was old enough to marry. Thirteen years. That's close enough, but it's too late now. And I'm happy. I hope Alan Rickman was happy too.

I can't even have lunch with him now. Alan Rickman is one of those guys I would have liked to invite to lunch so I could ask him all these impertinent questions. Why did you like to play the bad guy? How did it feel to play the hero in a Jane Austen movie? Did your life ever imitate your art? Did you ever feel like you were acting out your own life, like someone was watching this cosmic movie and you were the main character? How did you pick all these amazing movies from their scripts alone? What made you most happy?

Alan Rickman joins Einstein, Buddha, Judi Dench, Patrick Stewart, Neil Armstrong, Marie Curie, Jesus, my dad, President Obama and his wife, and Paul Giamatti on my list of people I would like to invite to lunch. Oh, there might be others, but if I can't think of them right now, should they really be on that list?

I loved Alan Rickman. I always will. It's even better because I keep reading that behind all those evil and superficially evil roles, he was kind. Kindness is a big attraction, guys.

So, I've been listening to my music and wondering if he'd ever heard this song or read that book that I just read and loved. Did you read 'A Man Called Ove' yet? Oh man, read it. Stop everything and read it now. I laughed and cried and wanted it to go on and on and on forever. Come to think of it, Alan Rickman would have done a good job playing Ove in a movie. And now he never can.

There's another death that's closer to home. I can't talk about that death here. I really can't. It wouldn't be a good thing. I just want to tell you that this nearer death was a tragedy. It might have been prevented but it wasn't somehow. It was someone I didn't know, but there was only one degree of separation between us. I knew his mom, his brother, and his dad a little. I knew friends of his. I had only met him once and he was kind in that moment.

So, I'm cleaning today and thinking about him. Actually, most people would call it praying. I'm hoping that this boy's mother and brother and father can keep breathing during these overwhelming days. I'm thinking that I'm so grateful for Mike and Nick and all the wonderful people around me. I'm thinking that there might be peace and relief from pain for this boy. I'm thinking about all that lost potential.

I hate being obscure. You know, how people get onto Facebook and write this longwinded request for sympathy and they don't even tell you what's happening in their lives. The worst is when they check in at a hospital or clinic and still don't tell you. What the hell?

This is different. It's not my story and so I can't tell it. I can only tell you that I'm impacted by it all, that it's in my head, swirling around and around. My mind wants to fill in blanks, explain what can't be explained. My mind wants a continuance, a conference with Death. There is no going back and fixing things with Death.

I know Death. Twice, I've watched Death fly off with someone I loved. The moment, the exact moment of death is ethereal, but it hurts so bad afterward. I've bargained with Death and won. I've bargained with death and lost. Some day I should tell you about when my dad died. It would not be an easy story to tell, but I know it's there, like Death, waiting in the wings to be told, a long dark story with one moment of peace or beauty or vision at the heart of it. I'm still not sure how to describe it to you, that one moment when you can see or feel life leave a person and it is whisked upward. There's a pause, an almost audible pop of a bubble, when life leaves a room and is gone.

And so I'll go back to cleaning. I'm more behind than I'd intended. And I'll let my thoughts swirl around and around and around these people who left this world this week.

I want to tell you, Paul Giamatti, Judi Dench, President and Michelle Obama, and Patrick Stewart. Take care of yourselves this week. Take really good care, because there's a lunch me in your futures if you're ever interested. No, I'm not an important person and I certainly can't add to your already blisteringly bright futures, but it could be fun, right?


Thank you for listening, jb

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