Life as Art, Art as Life

8 Mar

I’m glad Julianne Moore won an Oscar for “Being Alice” although I’ve not seen the film nor will I, in the near or moderately far future. She’s a great actress and I’m sure she was wonderful. She should win awards for every movie she does.

This one, though, is all about dementia. I can barely handle the trailers.

I’ve seen a lot of movies that include people with dementia. Some were minor characters, some just in the background, some the main story. Being Alice sounds too close to home right now. She’s going through what my dude is in the midst of…

While I don’t mind looking at Alec Baldwin for a few hours at a time, I would be identifying with his role and it’s just too much to bear living through it and then seeing some version of it on a big screen. Or even on a little screen once it gets to the tv screen.

The dementia depicted in The Notebook was a little surprise when I first saw it. Once they showed more about James Garner and Gena Rowlands’ characters, I figured it out and, yes, I cried at the end. And that was way before our journey with dementia began.

The grandma in The Descendants was also a surprise although she was just there. A particular scene revolved around the fact that she had dementia – and I loved the way it played out. Not that I’d want that to happen in real life, mind you.

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, in Iron Lady, blew me away. I finally saw this movie on tv when my dude was on one of his guy trips. I had forgotten it was about her sliding into dementia until I started it. Shit! Should I still watch it? Yes, I did. Alone. Maybe that was a good thing.

Similarly, Judy Dench as Iris Murdoch in Iris, with Jim Broadbent and Kate Winslet. So powerful and beautiful. And so sad because it tells the truth of how this goes. I also saw this alone when he was on an adventure with friends.

I love Quartet, thank you Dustin Hoffman, make another movie!! It’s about an English retirement home. Billy Connolly plays the resident with frontal lobe brain issues – very similar behaviorally to my guy. I loved the film because it was depicted as a supportive community – I wanted us both to live there with them. I’ve seen it a few times and probably will a few times more.

Finding Nemo, yes, Dory has memory loss! So wonderful for showing how one can still befriend and support people who can’t remember much. Patience, patience. She’s doing the best she can.

The new television series, Getting On. I don’t watch it often – his dudeness has to be away for me to watch this one. It’s morbid dark comedy, sort of, showing another side of things – the people who work in facilities that care for the elderly and those with dementia and other issues. My educational background in social work, and having worked in a hospital, helps me fully appreciate this one. But then again, I watch this one from an employee’s point of view, not a patient or family member.

Films I haven’t seen that include dementia: Away From Her – with Julie Christie, she’s always amazing. The Savages, with Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman – again, all wonderful actors whose work I usually see when it comes out. But not these one. Not yet. Maybe not ever but then, I can’t tell the future.

Then there’s the media from Glen Campbell, including the song, nominated this year for an Oscar and performed by Tim McGraw, I’m Not Gonna Miss You, from his film Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. I’ve not seen the movie but I saw the performance on the Oscars.

Yes, it’s a touching song. But it’s heavy stuff. Do you think most listeners really truly understand the depth of what he’s saying – and what it means for his family and friends? I’d guess that if they’re living through it, yes, but if they’ve no close experience with it, doubtful.

It’s kinda unbelievable – and at times almost unbearable – to live with your spouse or family member and realize they are not fully there anymore. The more that goes missing, the more we grieve, the more time passes and we find ourselves constantly grieving. It’s exhausting. To say the least.

But not for him, the spouse, the family member. Because he’s not all there – and, yes, Glen, he’s not gonna miss me.

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