I have long loved the movie 50 first dates. I’ve probably watched it over 25 times. Lucy (Drew Barrymore) awakens every morning after a car accident, unaware of the accident, thinking it is the morning of the accident. For many months, her family recreates that day for her over and over. Until Henry (Adam Sandler) comes into her life and falls in love with her and doesn’t want her to be stuck there anymore. He wants her life to move forward. Each time I watch, I have marveled at the devotion it would take to teach someone every morning the tragedy that occurred in their life, what has happened since that day, and who you are to them. The love and commitment that it would require to do that each and every day is remarkable.
This is exactly what my mother did for me every day for 2 weeks, never knowing if it would be like this forever or one day I would be able to recall what had happened the day before. Each morning I woke up with no idea of why I was in the hospital or where Glen or my kids were. My family would tell me enough details to pacify me but decided it wasn’t worth putting me through the pain of the truth knowing that they may have to put me through all that pain again the next morning or even a few hours later.
By the end of the movie, Lucy wakes up every morning to a video that Henry has made of how she got from the day of the accident to the current day. There is visible confusion each morning as the video begins, but she eventually comes to see the amazing ways her life has moved forward.
There are days where I want this. Days when I wish I had a video to watch to explain what has happened and what has brought me to this day of my life. I would love to say that my memory is great now but it is still a large struggle. I forget small parts of days and sadly I have a hard time remembering entire conversations at times. I have asked those close to me to simply be honest when this happens. When I am talking about something I have already told them, to let me know. There are other times when people talk to me like we’ve already had this conversation or they have already told me, and I have no recollection. I have asked them to give me prompts or reminders and then it will begin to come back to me. I don’t have the recall on my own but even the slightest prompt will remind me. The most difficult memory issue for me is facial recognition and meeting new people. It takes many times of meeting someone for me to remember his/her name or to even remember that I’ve met them before. As embarrassing as it is, I have learned to be honest with people when I am having trouble.
In moments like this, my heart aches for Glen. He was so incredible with people. My heart aches for the person you share your life with, who could help you remember. Aches for my companion. And so I have sought companionship. Through family, through friends, and at times through thinking I was ready to date. I know there will come a time that dating will be an appropriate choice. In my loneliness I have thought I was ready way before I was. I have learned many things. The main thing I have learned, I am not ready.
The relationship that Glen and I had was great, beautiful even. Certainly not perfect but filled with love, communication, devotion, and a solid spiritual foundation. I see that in my loneliness, I have been trying to go back to what I knew and what was good. I see how this is a normal reaction to loss but have to realize that it is not the right timing. I still have a great deal of personal healing to go through. The danger of dating and committing too early is that the broken places inside of me will not have a chance to heal. It would be easy to rely on another person to fix me or make me feel whole, but that is not something that a man would be able to do forever. And those broken places would not be healed, just overlooked for the time being. The reason why I cannot put myself in a relationship right now is because in focusing on someone else, my focus becomes divided. Right now to remain in forward motion I need to focus on my continued healing and my kids. I need to love myself and be fully devoted to my children.
At the conclusion of the movie, Henry shows Lucy how the pieces of her life have come together. How blessed she is despite not being able to remember each moment of each day. This past weekend, as I celebrated my birthday and looked around at all the friends and family that were there, in my own way, I was able to see how Glen was able to put the pieces of my life back together again through the legacy that he left. I am okay. My children are okay. Every morning I wake up and through my kids and my day, I am able to see the legacy that Glen left and the way that he loved us. There is not a doubt in my mind that some days will be harder than others. Some days will be more challenging than others. It is especially on these days I know I can lean into the love of my family and friends and the legacy that Glen has left. I know that on the other side of this grief, the best days are ahead.
Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”