Tonight I watched THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, the autobiographical story of Jean-Dominique Bauby, Editor-in-Chief of the French ELLE magazine who had a stroke at the age of 43 which paralyzed him. He was only able to communicate by blinking one eyelid and by doing so, dictated a book that was published a few days before his death in 1997.
I cried throughout the entire film, fearing for my own life, my own sense of freedom and expression. What would I say if I knew I were about to go into a coma? If I were about to be paralyzed? Trapped in my own expressionless, motionless body. How would I feel human, alive, real? Would my children know I loved them? Would I be able to make peace with how far I have come, with how I have lived my life and what I have produced? The thought occurred to me that I can no longer take from the world. It is time to give back. It is time for my own voice. It is time to say something. To make a mark. To help. To heal. To work. It is time for my children to know, without a doubt that they are loved. It is time to produce something other than whiny, dramatic journal entries about my miserable life.
It is no longer right of me to question my existence. It is no longer right of me to be unhappy or worse, ungrateful. To seek answers. There are no answers. That is the answer. Life is about giving. Caring. Loving. Sacrificing.
I thought of being alive but unable to communicate. Unable to travel. Unable to love physically. Three things which are so important to me as a woman. Who would I be then? What might my existence mean? I would have hours for thinking. Wondering. Hating myself for all that I did not achieve. I would be faced with the realization that I was done. I didn’t have a second chance. I could not change anything anymore. I could no longer be a productive member of society. I could no longer hug my children. I could no longer tell them I loved them. I could no longer tie their shoes or pack their lunches or lie in bed and read with them. I could no longer scratch their heads or tickle their toes. Oh. I am miserably sad thinking like this.
God! I do not want this to be my fate.
I don’t normally suggest watching something so depressing. Believe me, this film is DEPRESSING. But it’s an amazingly beautiful film and worth watching if you are strong enough to sink for a while.