Tuesday, March 07, 2006

GRIEF: Or How I learned to stop Suffering and Love Disappointment

I remember some years ago, when I was in the extremity of my Wu Wu, a spiritual belief somewhere between my cousin Susie and Shirley MacLaine, in other words all things are possible, and who knows if, and how can you disallow that maybe? At the time I was heavily into reincarnation,and the Founders spinning in their graves because of Richard Nixon, and they were going to get himour in time for the Bicentennnial and it DID happen. But along with all that I read a book by Louise Hay, called 'You Can Heal Your Life,' which had in its pages what all afflictions meant, and how various parts of the body were aches in the spirit, or fears, like lower back pain was concern about money and almost everyone I knew had that: the concern,and the pain.
When Don got lung cancer, I understood within a heartbeat that he, who had stopped smoking eight years before, was grieving. The lungs are grief, wrote Louise Hay,and I knew without question that was it in his case. He had lost the thing he loved best after his family, and that was the career he hoped for, that career, producing television, which he would have done excellent well-- I saw him in action in London, and nobody could have done it better or funnier or more supportively,because if there was one thing he knew how to do it was deal with talent, so when he produced the pilot we did with Michael Caine, and a charlady(which Michael Caine's mother had been),and a Brit revolutionary,and Jaye P.Morgan and me being hostesses,it was the best it could have been under anyone's instruction. He was a first rate television producer, but my success with The Pretenders had obliterated him. "Now that your wife has such a big success," they said when they called him into the office of America's best-loved family show(no names) "you won't need the money anymore," and fired him. Short of castration, there wasn't much more they could have done. And for years he went on, hoping, limping,imagining, pretending, that the day would come. When it didn't,he got lung cancer.
I am writing this because Christopher Reeves darling wife just died of lung cancer, and as she didn't smoke, they don't understand why. I understand perfectly. As hard as she worked before his death and after for stem cell research, she hit a wall. She lost the person she loved most, and then she lost the fight to make his loss into a win. And she grieved so deeply she couldn't breathe.
This is a message to all of you I love: TRY NOT TO GRIEVE. Punch pillows, yell into canyons, walk or swim till you're exhausted. Every loss that we have can be transmuted. Every fight that we seem to lose can be moved onto a different battlefield where in some unanticipated way we can triumph. The secret is to stay alive as long as we can. Certainly longer than George W. Bush

No comments: