🎵It's got to get easier
🎵Oh, easier somehow
🎵But not today
Imagine Dragons
Not Today
Reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes-image-jpg
When I read, I can't help putting myself into the perspective of the story and wondering what I would do in that situation. I am reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes before the movie is released on June 3rd. The movie trailers for Me Before You depict more of a love story but the book poses some deep questions very early on. Lead character Will Traynor has been paralyzed for life in a motorcycle accident and has expressed a wish to go to Switzerland for assisted suicide. His mother wouldn't hear of it! Appalled, she runs out. Will finds a small rusty nail protruding from the woodwork in his apartment and with the assistance of his motorized wheel chair, he manuvers effectively enough to slit his wrists and barley escapes (by mere minutes) bleeding to death.
His mother reflects, "It took his attempt to make me agree. It's not that my religion forbade it-although the prospect of Will being consigned to hell through his own desperation was a terrible one. (I chose to believe that God, a benign God, would understand our sufferings and forgive us our trespasses.)
It's just that thing you never understand as a mother, until you are one, is that the grown man-galumphing, unshaven, stinking, opinionated offspring- you see before you, with his parking tickets and unpolished shoes and complicated love life. You see all the people he has ever been all rolled up into one.
I look at Will and I see the baby I held in my arms, dewily besotted, unable to believe that I had created another human being. I saw the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied by some other child. I saw the vulnerabilities, the love, the history. That's why asking me to extinguish- the small child as well as the man-all that love-all that history (pg 123)
Leading lady, Louisa Clark, is hired to be be Will's personal assistant. To the delight of his mother, she does convince Will to let her give him a shave and a hair cut. Will is intentionally cruel to Louisa but he slowly warms up to her. Louisa has an incredibly difficult task of being the day shift of suicide watch and trying to dissuade Will from following through with the plan to end his own life in just six months.
Will is in almost constant pain from muscle spasms, bed sores, and occasional bladder infections. The pain prevents him from sleeping even with the help of sleeping pills and the pain medications have created a stomach ulcer. Will's ex girlfriend stops by to announce that she is mayrrying another good friend of Will's and that only adds to his feelings of helplessness and depression.
Louisa says, "I got to study Will Traynor up close, in those first couple of weeks. I saw that he seemed to be determined not to look anything like the man he had been; he had let his light-brown hair grow into a shapeless mess, his stubble crawl across his jaw. His eyes were lined with exhaustion, or the effect of his constant discomfort (Nathan said he was rarely comfortable). They bore the hallow look of someone who is always a few steps removed from the world around him. Sometimes I wondered if it was his defense mechanism, whether the only way to cope with his life was to pretend it wasn't him it was happening to.
I wanted to feel sorry for him. I really did. I thought he was the saddest person I had ever met, in those moments when I glimpsed him staring out the window. And as the days went by and I realized that his condition was not just a matter of being stuck in a chair, the loss of physical freedom, but the never-ending litany of indignities and health problems, of risks and discomforts, I decided that if I were Will, I would probably be miserable too.
But, oh Lord, he was vile to me. Everything I said, he had a sharp answer for. If I asked him if he was warm enough, he would retort that he was quite capable of letting me know if he needed another blanket. If I asked if the vacuum cleaner was too noisy for him-I hadn't wanted to interrupt his film-he asked me, why, had I worked out a way to make it run silently? When I fed him, he complained that the food was too hot or too cold, or that I had brought the next forkful up to his mouth before he had finished the last. He had the ability to twist anything I said or did so that I seemed stupid.
During those first few weeks, I got quite good at keeping my face completely blank, and I would turn away and disappear into another room and just say as little to him as I possibly could. I started to hate him, and I'm sure he knew it "(pg 51).
Reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes-image-jpg Reading Me Before You by Jojo Moyes-image-jpg
Imagine Dragons wrote the song Not Today especially for the sound track of the movie and Emilia Clarke, famous for starring on Game Of Thones, plays the role of Louisa. Would you expect any project from Imagine Dragons to not be complicated? What would you do? Could you let someone you love end their own life? The question is a very personal one for me because I am a professional dog trainer. There is a veterinarian within the same building that I work and pets are euthanized every day. I am sometimes the one that has to unlock the back door of the building so pet parents can bring their pets in with some privacy. I have worked there for 20 years and helping carry out the black body bags never gets any easier and weighs heavily on my heart. It is not just a dog it is a member of the family. For pet parents, it is often an extremely difficult decision to end the life of a pet that is aggressive, ill, badly injured, or elderly. It is a final act of compassion and love to prevent suffering and pain. So, I can easily see the parallels with a human life.
What if it were me in that chair? What if I were his mother! His lover? Could I make that choice?
I'm not sure? So many questions.
Looking forward to seeing the book brought to life on the big screen this Friday. Also looking forward to supporting the work of Imagine Dragons. I hope our favorite band scores more movies. Movie night is one of my favorite forms of escape.