To the new readers, yes, that was a parody headline. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rush O’Huccabecks of the Corporate Media World didn’t begin their summation of the Golden Globes thus: Hollywood Elite Applauds Beautiful Blonde’s Decision To Become Man-Hating Lesbian Wishing For Her Mother’s Death.
For the unwashed, what I’m referring to is Jodie Foster’s Golden Globe speech in which she articulately and wittily Came Out. Not that it 1) was ever a concern and 2) was ever our business. It was, in all manner of the word, fodder for gossip. But publicly outed, she is now. It doesn’t diminish her work as an actress or director, or mother. As it should be, her message was received with the appropriate response to anyone breaking open a can of spinach and saying, “I yam what I yam and that’s all that I yam.”
Perhaps, though, more touching for me was when she addressed her mother who suffers from dementia.
Mom, I know you’re inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things that you won’t understand tonight, but this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you. And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace, and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life. You’re a great mom. Please take that with you when you’re finally OK to go.
These are similar words that I uttered to my dad in the days before he died from dementia. As children, we all have that consistent reminder that most of us are going to outlive our parents. Some moms and dads go quick and sudden. Others linger through disease and pain and change. Dying is lonely because only that person experiences it. The survivors, however, have to make do with the Loved One-Shaped Hole now in their reality. Saying goodbye is the hardest part of that process.
Tonight, Foster showed that there is great strength to be derived in being who you are and that people will support you for it. And she also showed great courage in saying goodbye to someone who made her the person she is now. As I saw it, it was beautiful, brave, and filled with humor, love, and appreciation.
Just how life should always be lived.