Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be difficult at the best of times but when Christmas arrives in all its finery on your emotional doorstep, your heart is inevitably greeted with even more painful moments.
Take movies for instance... most motion pictures created for the holiday season are full of warm remembrances, love-filled reunions and clarity of thought -- all subjects that are difficult to embrace when you're missing someone who you will never see again.
As much as it feels out of character, I've chosen to avoid some of my usual December celluloid picks ("One Magic Christmas", "The Homecoming", "The Christmas Box", and "Little Women" - the Liz Taylor version, Mum's favourite) because I'm just too raw for their stories right now. And let's not forget the animated Rankin & Bass classics - they're even more of an emotional minefield ("Nestor the Long Earred Donkey", anyone? "Ears, Nestor.").
The common thread in all these movies: their themes, all so beautiful and moving... and yes, I watched them all with my Mum. She loved each and every one of them. Atop of my avoid-at-all-costs TV viewing list is "The Family Stone". The last part of the story, after all the hilarity and family hi-jinx... well, if you've seen this funny yet touching film, you'll know why. The tree decorating scene at the end... heartbreaking, and right now too close to home.
So for this year while I *try* my best to partake and honour Christmas like my Mum would want me to, I'm sticking within the cinematic safety zone of Will Ferrell's "Elf" and "Love Actually." I'm not sure yet how I will fare with these flicks. I'm a big softie, and can cry at just about anything. Yes, I have been known to tear up during both of these favourites, but at least I'm hoping that I'll be able to stir clear of a full-fledged waterfall. I can't promise, but I'll try.