What It Takes To Survive
I'm not sure if you've watched The Lord of the Rings Trilogy lately, but it taught me a lot about grief. That might sound odd, but that's how my brain works. Before my daughter's murder, I only saw the fantasy of it all; now, I merely see the struggles and what it takes to survive.
Not to get too deep into the story (in case you have yet to see the movies), but it's about Frodo, a decent enough hobbit living his best life. And as the music swells, without warning or his permission, his life changes just like that. His beloved cousin vanishes, leaving Frodo with a terrible burden to carry while enduring the struggles and triumphs that, in the end, will forever change his life. Okay, now that I've read that aloud, I'm pretty sure that sounds like almost every movie. Anyway. I found just about everything that happened during these films somehow relatable to my tragedy, and I'll pick two examples that stuck out to me the most.
Let's start when Frodo finally meets the magical elves after his grueling journey from his beloved shire. Frodo expresses his deepest concern to one of the most beautiful and powerful elves about how he can't do this appointed task alone. Boy, I hit pause every time I watch this part and have a whaling cry. Then like clockwork, I'll hit play, and it strikes me again when she states that if he doesn't find a way, no one will. This scene couldn't have depicted my inner turmoil any better if I'd created it myself. I mean, seriously, it's an acceptance that no one should have to face. It doesn't matter the support system you have or lack thereof. At the end of the day, that's the reality of grief - no one can walk the walk for you.
The other example that keeps me nodding my head is Frodo's enemies. I mean, this poor hobbit. In any direction he turns, giant spiders, evil wizards, and dark lords are trying to get him off course. And that's only naming a few, but he just keeps going like the Energizer bunny. Admittedly, it seems a little over the top sometimes all the hurdles, but when I look at my grief, it couldn't be more gut-punching accurate.
And that's because the process of coping and healing is unpredictable from one day to the next, or let's be honest, it's even one minute to the next.
Before I started counseling, I would have never imagined surviving in seconds like this. It's not like I've never experienced difficult things before, but this felt so different. It's like all the coping skills I knew and trusted no longer applied. So I had to learn all new ways to deal with how one minute I'm celebrating freeing myself from that ooey-gooey spider web like Frodo, and the next, another monster is chasing me.
It's funny. Even though I know these movies will trigger me somehow, I go back for more. I think it's because even though I know there isn't a magic spell to cure or rush grief, Frodo's perseverance is undeniable, and I need that reminder. Sure, he has to get to the end of the movie, and my heartache will take time, but it's helped teach me what it takes to survive and how to continue my journey one second at a time.