Inside Out

So we burned her body and now it's ashes?  But actually, our bodies are made out of ashes.  And stars.  And dinosaurs and vehicles and grass.  Everything is in us, really.

He's right.  Smoke is a suspension of particles, billions of carbon bits, trees and televisions, kitchen sinks and wounded soldiers, drifting.  Ashes to ashes.

Can you still get bacon without killing the pig? Like instead of slaughtering it you could just pull the bacon out of one side?

He still has a little to learn about life and death.
Don't we all.
We took the boys to see Inside Out this week.  It was fabulous.  Huge themes, epic imagery.

The movie deals poignantly with way people manage feelings.  Perhaps most movingly, the film portrays memory and the way we often desperately hold on to it.  Memories play a really big role in the show, how they are created and stored, how they can influence our personalities, how we either retain or discard them.

I doubt the boys grasped every subtext, but the story led our family to some conversations about joy and sadness working together.
One large message is that sadness and fear and anger are valuable, and that emotions are often intertwined.  Although Joy is the main character, she may not be the heroine.  In the movie (mild spoiler alert) Sadness is compelled to touch some joyful memories, adding a layer of melancholy to them.  Just like in real life.
It's a powerful notion for kids and parents alike, the idea that sadness is natural and necessary and not always equal to unhappiness.
Talking with Tuck about the internal landscape of our brains, about emotions coexisting and memories crumbling and fading away, my own mind reached back to places that may be dangerous to go with an achy heart.  Do parents of dead children ever construct fake memories, I wonder, idyllic scenes that may not have actually taken place, through some surreal and unreliable lens of retrospect?

Sometimes I am guilty of living in a memory, a real one, I think, making tents and tiny houses to camp out there for too long.  I remember looking at his tiny hand resting in hers, remember feeling delighted and robbed for them both.  They had a rare gift that came at a cruel price.  He had no idea what was about to happen.  And we had no idea how to tell him, what to tell him, whether to tell him.  Your sister’s body is very sick and her brain is dying fast.  He was not quite three.  We wanted to be honest, but also to preserve their overlapping days without burdening our precious little boy with grown-up grief.

He's known grief though, he's fought off angry and afraid both in the same breath.  Sometimes we did it with him.  Sometimes we still do.  Sometimes we ignore it, pretend it away for a few minutes, maybe longer. Other times we wallow in it, allow it to wrap us up.

She was our happiest sadness, we agree.


Poppy John said...


Poppy John

Jan Betz said...

Perfectly said, Poppy John.

Kristy G said...

Emotions are real. Sometimes they bring out the best in us, sometimes the worst, but they bring out our true selves. I love that you allow them to be what they are.