Last night we watched Rabbit Hole, A.K.A Nicole Kidman’s newest movie. It was truly amazing and should be viewed by all. It might be triggery for survivors of child loss and it’s very, very sad, but the message is so intense and spot on. The writer MUST have had a first hand experience with infant or child loss, because the writing was perfect in describing the feelings, emotions, experiences parent’s and families go through with child loss.
I read a review awhile ago here that said that folks who had not been through a loss would probably look at Nicole Kidman’s character as unlikeable, or not coping in a healthy way , but that anyone having had a first hand experience of loss would fully understand her pain, and actions. Mike, the reviewer at the link I posted says she is "a women who lashes out only after enduring an endless barrage of painful reminders from the outside world". The thing is, even if I don’t agree with her way of mourning the loss of her son, I have no place to judge. If surviving loss has taught me ANYTHING it’s that everyone mourns and heals in their own way, at their own pace.
The movie takes place 8 months after the couple’s 4 year old son was killed after being struck by a car. Kidman’s character right off seems cold, not wanting to talk about it, go to support groups or counselling, and wanting to rid her home of any evidence the boy was ever there. For her, seeing his finger prints and art day in and day out is excruciating. She says she is just packaging it and putting in the basement for now. She also tries to give her pregnant sister all of her son’s clothes for her baby to be, and won’t get the hint after her sister comes up with multiple reasons for not accepting the clothes. When the sister finally flat out says it would be too weird watching her child running around in her deceased nephews clothing, a hurt Kidman just leaves as quickly as possible.
Kidman’s husband is dealing with their sons death very differently. He want’s to work on his marriage and try to maintain some intimacy between them, want’s to talk of the possibility of another child, want’s to go to support groups, to talk about their son and try and cope with the loss, he wants the memories around him and feels like Kidman is trying to take that from him.
As a loss mom, Kidman’s emotions felt so true to life, even my husband nodded with familiarity. Her anger just feel’s justified. I know the deep pain that no one and nothing can fix but time..the feeling of anger that the outside world just doesn’t seem to "get" how horrible this really is, that no one understands..the new eyes you suddenly have to look at the world around you through. The things that upset her are things that I myself experienced first hand:
- Best friends not calling because it’s too weird and they don’t know what to say.
- Hearing people say God needed another Angel. (To which Kidman replies, Why didn’t he just make himself an angel then, just poof, he is GOD after all)
- Trying to be a wife to your husband when your heart is so broken it hurts to breath
- Trying to keep a relationship intact amongst very different ways’ of healing and mourning, respecting that both still loved their child equally, even if they mourn differently
- Wondering if the pain will EVER lighten and you can possibly keep living this way
- Feeling angry when people compare their loss to yours when you feel the two are not the same at all (i.e loosing an adult child to drugs over a young child to an accident..)
- Wanting answers, trying to find answers even if they won’t change a thing, trying to make sense of it all
- Alternating between being angry at the people involved in your child’s accidental death and understanding it was really no one’s fault
- Watching other parents, ‘parent’ in ways that you don’t feel appreciates their child, judging that they should be more grateful their child is still living
- Watching the outside world NOT even begin to comprehend the true horror you have lived though, or they would give you some leeway for your ‘societal unacceptable actions’ (I think Nicole did cross a line in the grocery store BUT I was appalled that when the sister stepped up to the women in question and explained "Sorry, she just lost her 4 year old son" that the women said she didn’t care!!!…I fully would have expected any decent human being to say…Ooooohh that explains the crazies, how sad…and then hug their own child and be so grateful he is there, in the store with her.
- AND FINALLY…coming to the conclusion that unless you want to be excluded from common society forever, your gonna have to fake it or people won’t want to be around you. You will have to plaster on your "I am ok" face, and let your friends talk about their pregnancies, and be around their children, and pretend it doesn’t kill you a little inside..until it does get better..a little..one day at a time…
I loved the description her mother gives of how the pain transforms with time:
-Does it ever go away?
-No, I don’t think it does. Not for me, it hasn’t – has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.
-I don’t know… the weight of it, I guess. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and… carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful – not all the time. It’s kinda… [deep breath] not that you’d like it exactly, but it’s what you’ve got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh… it doesn’t go away. Which is…
-Which is what?