bunt sign

Monday, February 12, 2001

It costs me nothing (or very little, at any rate) to spend my mornings and evenings with Mom, helping her get through the rough times when she can't see well enough to read and can't look up at the TV. I'm not missing out on anything more important — even if I thought there could be something more important than being there for her when she needs me.

Today is her last day of holding her head down. Tonight will be the last night she'll have to sleep in that uncomfortable position. And tomorrow morning, when she wakes up, she can look up and see the world again. It's been a long ordeal, much longer for her than for the rest of us, but the hardest part is nearly over.

And I'll be almost as glad for myself as I will for her when this business is done. I'll still spend a lot of time with her, and I'll be available when she needs something. She won't be driving for some time, and she won't really be seeing well for awhile, either.

But I'll be so happy to look her in the eye again and know that she can look back. I've spent more time with her lately than I have in years, but even so, I miss her. I miss seeing her face and talking with her, person to person.

It's a lot to ask of someone to hold her head down for two weeks, and I don't think you can realize the cost in interpersonal relationships until you go through something like this. She's still in there, somewhere, but it'll be like coming home from two weeks in boot camp when I see her look up at me tomorrow.

Hey, I'm paying for all these satellite channels, so I might as well catch up with all the movies I missed in the theaters. Last night it was Bringing Out the Dead, which I thought was amazing.

Scorsese's impressionistic portrayal of life and death in New York City through the eyes of a paramedic, played with compassion and intensity by Nicolas Cage, made me uncomfortable for a long time. I sat throught the first half hour thinking I was going to hate the movie, but by the end I was experiencing everything along with Cage's character and wanted to see it again.

Some of the performances seem mannered and over the top at first glance, but the film as a whole takes you inside the character's head, where the gritty realism is given a context that includes all the emotions he brings to his job — the guilt, the disgust, the sadness, and the fiery rush of adrenaline needed to keep going, night after grisly night. It's a great ride, not always smooth but filled with real ghosts and real demons, and true to the circumstances.

Anyone who thought by Saturday's entry I was implying that I like only soft, feel-good movies should know better, because I've written many times that I end up liking (to some degree, anyway) almost any film I see. The ones I don't like I usually hate with a venomous passion, but I can take something positive away from nearly any movie. And to be honest, it makes me strangely happy to find one that excites me, especially a film I wasn't sure I'd enjoy in the first place.

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Things that you held high
And told yourself were true
Lost or changing as the days come down to you