A few years ago Mr. Wonderful and I watched A River Runs Through It, a brilliant film starring Brad Pitt and directed by Robert Redford, about two brothers growing up in Montana. One is the good son -- well behaved and studious; the other is rebellious, free-spirited and an alcoholic, but also the most beloved. Their father is a Presbyterian minister, and the mother is a dainty stay-at-home sort. But, most importantly, they all love each other deeply. I've seen that movie millions of times, but when I saw it with Mr. Wonderful, I saw it through his eyes. And I loved it even more then.
Particularly this line: "Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, 'Norman, you like to write stories.' And I said 'Yes, I do.' Then he said, 'Someday, when you are ready, you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why.'"
I bought the DVD on Saturday evening, just before I heard that Mr. Wonderful's truly wonderful mother had passed. I watched it shortly after I woke up yesterday morning because it seemed appropriate, and I wept with a sense of peace. Because all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. But the peace did not last long. The world has lost an amazing woman, and Mr. Wonderful has lost his last living parent. At age 31. It's a time of intense tragedy, and I find myself frozen with helplessness, unsure of what to say or do. As I said to Mr. Wonderful, "I mourn the loss of an amazing woman who brought light and life to all around her. But mostly I mourn the loss of the woman who gave me you."
"As time passed, my father struggled for more to hold on to, asking me again and again: had I told him everything. And finally I said to him, 'maybe all I really know about Paul is that he was a fine fisherman.' 'You know more than that,' my father said. 'He was beautiful.' And that was the last time we ever spoke of my brother's death.
I'm grateful that such a wonderful person was the head of Mr. Wonderful's family. And I'm humbled by her untimely death.