Posted by: Kathy | November 17, 2015

A Movie That Speaks to My Heart

I am cheating a bit here for the assignment for day 12 of Writing 101. I am reworking a post I previously wrote about 2 years ago. I apologize to my readers, as I am stuck in the world of “I miss Mom” right now. I become trapped in this world around Halloween and pop and in out until the new year. I can’t help it, and I promise that all my posts for this course from here on will not be about how much I miss my mom. I know that can old, very fast. I had so many ideas for this post, but my mind won’t shift to let me write the ideas floating in around in it.

I admit that I am a TV junkie. I listen to TV shows while I work – I need background noise. Right now the TV show Supernatural is playing in the background as I write. I am “re-watching” the series on my iPad. I always put something on that I don’t need to pay attention to. It’s just background noise. How many times have I “watched” this series, I don’t know. I’m glad it didn’t end last season, as had been predicted. I watch the new episodes at night, when I can really focus on them.

Probably a year and half before my mom died, before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, she gave me the book One True Thing to read. We often swapped books back and forth. In a way it’s ironic, since the story is similar to my mom’s battle with cancer, her struggle to fight against this horrible disease, the realization that she was going to die, acceptance of impending death, and then her death. Intermingled throughout this story is how family members cope in different ways with their wife/mother’s illness and eventual death.

The book was made into a movie, and I watched the movie before I read the book, the first time. I watched the movie yesterday on the anniversary of my mom’s death. Why do I watch a movie that is so close to my real life? Because I can relate to it. I can relate to the story. I can relate to what the characters are thinking and feeling. I can relate, and that feels good.

In the beginning of the movie, Ellen, the daughter, says “I was never close to my mother growing up,” and this statement rings true for me and has brought me a lot of guilt, especially right after my mom died. I never understood why I wasn’t very close to my mom. I believe it’s because we were just two very different people, with different viewpoints. I respected and admired my mom for the life she led, but it wasn’t the life for me. But just because we weren’t close didn’t mean we didn’t love each other.

Toward the end of the movie when Ellen says to her mom’s oncologist “I’m not ready to stop the chemotherapy,” I can relate because I said the same thing when my mom’s oncologist suggested stopping all treatment. It was like he has giving up, and that was something I was not ready to do. I wanted to keep fighting. But the oncologist was right to stop treatment because my mom died less than a month later.

At the funeral, Ellen says “never knew I could miss someone so much.” This is a line that goes straight to my heart. After my mom died, there was a huge hole in my life, my mom was missing. Her death left an emptiness that no one can ever fill.

As cancer slowly takes away strength and life from Kate, the mom, her life changes tremendously from the person who took care of everyone, to having to depend on others take care of her. I watched the same thing happen with my mom. She took care of everything and everyone. She put everyone else’s needs before her own. Always. When we went somewhere I knew if I had forgotten something, Mom would have it. I cannot begin to imagine the shift in the dignity of a person whose life changes from being the ultimate caretaker to the one who is being taken care of and has absolutely no control. How difficult that must be.

Ellen watches as her mom deteriorates. The cancer has taken over. There is nothing left to do but wait for death to take away the pain from the cancer. But death meant that her mother, my mother, would be gone. That type of waiting is so hard. For me, I didn’t want my mom to suffer and she was in a great deal of pain during the final weeks of her life. As was stated in the movie by George, the husband/father, “no one should have to live like that.” I agree. But to end the pain meant losing my mom, and I didn’t want that option either. It was a no win situation. In the end, Kate was reduced to a mere shell of her former self, just like my mom. My once healthy, vibrant mom became a walking skeleton who was in constant pain. The change was shocking and sad and scary, all at the same time. This change is shown in the movie as well.

The book is different from the movie, and I’m not sure which one I like more. I’ve read the book about 3 times now, and watched the movie probably 5 times. Every time I watch the movie I cry, but I do so because I understand. I can relate. I don’t feel so alone. I’m not a freak because I still mourn my mom’s death after 7 years. Watching this movie is cathartic for me.

I didn’t read the book until several years after my mom died. I believe I decided to read it after I watched the movie. I remembered I had it in my pile of books. I’m not sure how I came across the movie. Maybe it was one of those movies on Netflix…because you watched this you may like this type of thing. But I don’t believe in coincidences. I’m glad my mom gave me this book to read.



  1. I am so sorry for your loss! 😦

    No, please do not stop writing about your mom. I enjoyed reading your post, you made the readers feel your loss and communicate with your words on a deeper level. I would like if you write more than a blog about your mother, maybe a book, it’d be great, and more source of inspiration and guidance for other people.

    You were very good to your mother, all mothers are the same, and those who are not, will lean and be so after a while. Moms never accept to take care of themselves before they make sure everyone’s needs are met. It’s such unconditional love that only moms are capable of.

    My relationship with my mother has not been so good in the last few months; I have changed and she’s still expecting the same from me. She makes me feel so guilty and bad with her kindness. I need to take personal care of myself, things she can’t do to me, and I must change a bit at some point, yet she does not understand me and refuses to give me that space. Well, she actually does understand maybe, but not giving me everything I want not need.

    I am the one who should take the initiative to please and reconcile with her, I admit but that again would make me feel weak and increase her attachment to a son who’s trying to live his life on his own… I don’t know, I can’t complete! Sorry

    • No need to apologize. I hope you and your mom can find a way to work things out so that the relationship makes both of you happy. I sometimes thought my mom “interfered” too much in my adult life, but I realized that she only wanted the best for me, and we worked it out. In the end though, none of that mattered. I was grateful for all that she did for me. Unconditional love – I never realized what it truly meant until I had kids. Now that my son is almost an adult, I realize there are many times I need to just step back and let him figure things out. Of course, I am always here if he needs something. It’s a fine line to walk. I won’t stop writing about my mom. I honestly want to help others who have lost parents or loved ones. Grief is a difficult road. I am working on a book about my mom, her illness, and after her death. It’s not easy to write, but something I want to do. Thanks for commenting and I really hope things work out for you.

      • All that you’re doing regarding recovering from your loss, the book you’re writing and giving your son the space are amazing. Keep on doing it everyday, it’ll turn out to be a glorious story, all of what you do.

        I came back home yesterday and tried to be more loving to my mom. Thank you for the nice reply. Best wishes. 🙂 🙂

        • My experience to share with you…nothing was worse than when my mom was diagnosed with a very deadly type of cancer and I felt like I had so much to make up for. After her death, the guilt tore me apart.

          • You could survive, recover from your loss, overcome the fear and grief that controlled your heart and raised you’re son, you must be a strong woman and a source of pride for your mom. She is gone, how she can be proud of you you may wonder but we do not know what’s there on the other side, she may have a kind of spiritual connection with our world and so close to us, she may be sad if you don’t become your best self. Just move towards being your best self, and the best mother. Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  2. My mother died of skin cancer 30 years ago and I am still not over it. I don’t believe you ever get over the death of a parent, especially a mother. You can get on with your life after whatever time is appropriate for you but you never get over it. Anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves. So sorry for your loss. I can relate.

    • I’m sorry you lost your mom. Yes, you move on, keep going forward, but never truly get over it. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Love you my friend!

    • Love you too ❤

  4. I feel for you, losing one’s mom is very sad. I totally understand how you feel.Don’t worry about the assignment, sure everyone will understand.Best wishes to you. 🙂

    • Thank you. I am sensitive to it – I had a friend tell me once that I was a downer and she didn’t understand how after 3 months I still hadn’t gotten over my mom’s death. I wish you the best as well.

  5. It sounds like an heart wrenching book and movie. I’m wondering if I should recommend it to my Aunt. Her husband died of pancreatic cancer last summer.

    • It’s very touching. I would recommend both the book and the movie, even if I didn’t relate to them so much.

  6. Thank you for sharing. I believe losing a parent is never “healed” in the traditional sense and there is nothing wrong with missing them. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 13, and it was scary to watch how he deteriorated over time. From a healthy weight to an empty shell. It’s been 15 years since his passing in July of 2000 and though I’m not as sad because I know it was his time, I still miss him. You always will. It’s natural so I don’t think your cheating at all. This is how you feel and writing is largely about using it as a form of therapy in addition to the other stuff. So write on. Get it out now so you can move about without the heaviness. 🙂

    • Thank you for commenting and for understanding. I am sorry you lost your dad at such a young age to cancer. That must have been so hard. Take care.

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