I was disappointed by the ending of Manchester by the Sea. Without spoiling too much, the ending leaves the main character right where he was, immobilized by unrelenting grief. Unable to move on and at an impasse with a life that handed him too much to be able to recover from.
I was disappointed. I thought he should have found happiness. I kept waiting for some point in the film where he breaks free of his grief, but it never came. Then I started to think of people I know that have been handed things that are too much in this lifetime. Things that are unimaginable, and too dark to bring light to. Things that would make it impossible for me to ever come out from under the covers.
I realized that it was ignorant of me not to understand the ending of the movie. Sometimes there is no moving on. There is no replacement in this lifetime that can make up for a loss so terrible, so unimaginable that it freezes your soul and leaves you in a purgatory of ache. I didn’t like the ending of the movie, but its truth deserves to be heard and the story it tells is one that so many people live; or try to live with.
In my life there has been darkness, there has been sadness, but not the kind of darkness and sadness that I’ve seen others face and try to recover from. I started to think and pray for all those people I know that have unescapable grief. People who are trying to just get up today. People who have to make it through the Holidays. People who have to listen to the trifle struggles of those around them and still keep a kind and open heart.
As much as the Holidays bring joy to so many, they bring a great sadness and longing for those who ache to be with the one person that made life stop and grief an everyday visitor.
There are people who face sadness every waking moment. I don’t have words for them. I don’t understand what it’s like. I cannot imagine the pain. I can’t walk in their shoes and in my silent thoughts I pray I never have to.
I can only fumble for words, listen and share memories, cry, be still with them, and try to add light into the dark places they go.
I wish so badly there was a beautiful end to the story, but that won’t come until those who have walked through darkness finally bathe in the light of ones they've lost.
Have faith and know we will never forget.
W. H. Auden
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.