Thursday, March 19, 2015

Specter

Can we talk?

So here’s the thing. I think Jack looks like Justin Bieber. Maybe he doesn't to you, but to me there is a breath-catching, eye-widening response every time I see The Biebs, which is fairly often.
The slender build, the way he walks (lopes) and his coloring and features are spot on. My breath catches when I see Justin on TV, jutting out his chin, because when he’s moving, the similarities are even more pronounced.

What are the chances the boy we lost would resemble someone famous, so that when we turn on a tv or, to be honest, open a trashy magazine, he could be right there staring at us?

After my mom died, I began to think of her when I saw Princess Diana on TV. The short blonde hair, the strength coupled with sensitivity, and the motherly compassion just made me want to hug her and be hugged by her.
It’s a bit of a blessing, to be able to have a way to imagine what Jack would have looked like as he aged. But it’s also a curse, because as a mama, I just want to say, “Justin, stop with the weird pants that make it look like you have inserted your spindly legs into an upside down sweatshirt. Not one person on earth needs a crotch that hangs that low. And the Malfoy hair? No, just no. Stick with the beautiful brown, please.

What about a nice checked button down? Could we try the preppy thing for a little while? And speaking of a little while, I know you have been struggling for months. People think you’re a punk. And you are at that tough place where if you try to prove you AREN’T A PUNK, it just comes out like, 'Methinks thou dost protest too much.'
I believe your mom, that you are a good person. I do. When we met you in LA, you showed us nothing but class and kindness. You didn’t have to reach out to us in our pain, but you did, and I will always be grateful. Thank you. Growing up in the spotlight can’t be easy. And all that money isn’t doing you any favors either, surrounding you with hangers-on and “Yes” people all the time. I was relieved my kids weren’t prodigies at anything because, well, that would mean a lot more driving around for me, but also because there is just too much pressure when you shine and potentially flame out so young.
Could you just step back for a while, check out, or check-in somewhere or do whatever it would take to get back on solid ground? You have potentially sixty years or so ahead of you. This rough patch could become just a blip on the way to your finding your true self and living a life full of love and meaning."

But then I think selfishly, if Justin loses the bravado, the weird clothes, the bluster, and the hair dye, he might look even more like the one I’m missing. And that might hurt just a little too much.

p.s. After I wrote this I read an article on the same topic from the folks at What's Your Grief? Have you experienced anything like this?

p.p.s. Thank you for your kind words yesterday on Jack's 16th b-day. Please visit the Huffington Post to read my interview w/Melanie Bishop for the occasion.

 

13 comments:

Sue Rall said...

Funny about your PPS as I was reading the same article on associative grief too and was thinking you should read it ^_^. I completely get the Julie Andrews association. Jo loved Justin but she loved Nick Jonas more and watching him on The Voice this week has been painful.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I love you Anna. And I too am happy to be raising delightfully average (in the eyes of the rest of the world) children.The

Janice Trinh said...

i can't imagine how painful it must be to sort of see someone you've lost go through hardships the way The Biebs does. i've never liked him and i think he's not a very good role model at all. but after reading this post, i kind of just feel bad for him and wish him well - that after everything that's happened to him, he'll still have a good life in the end. because, after all, everyone deserves a good life, yes?

Martha Diener said...

Can you post those pictures of justin beiber n your daughter again.

Jill said...

Your interview was breathtaking for me. Your words really are resonant.

Lesley UK said...

I bet Jack's having a giggle and saying 'Mum you would never let me wear those awful things' It must be so bitter sweet to watch Justin. There's an actor on UK TV who looks and even sounds like my Dad, who died in 1974. I always watch him, even though it hurts. By the way, the actor is Mr. Carson in Downton Abbey. Blessings

Kris Hammes said...

Anna--I have been following your blog for a few months, since I read your book. I saw it on Amazon while searching for something completely unrelated. It stuck out to me when I came across it. We lost our daughter in August of 2013. Rose was 17. She went out for a walk and never came back. I was going to say didn't come home but I guess she did--go home. She fell in a creek in the middle of terrible monsoon conditions. I couldn't believe the similarities. I had to read it. And cry. I just really wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I'm not much of a writer. I haven't been able to express myself that way (and I'm envious of people who can-I think it would bring some relief and perspective). But your words are so close to my own heart. It has helped me to know that I'm not alone, I'm not losing it and I'm not going crazy. We move forward, more fragile than before but somehow stronger and more centered. THANK YOU!

Nomads By Nature said...

I think you and Eleanor are spot on.

Susie - Recovering Church Lady said...

Interesting, I can see the similarities too now that you mention it. I have been seeing Justin B on the Ellen Show recently and I do believe that he is trying to start over and be clean, sober and his REAL self. Makes me happy because I hate to see any young one with so much talent and so many years ahead, hate to see them mess up and burn out too early. I am sure that JB has your prayers.

Dani said...

Bruce Willis looks like my dad, who I lost eight years ago, and they even share the same first name. Mixed feelings of comfort and grief when I see Bruce Willis in the media.

Anonymous said...

Anna - I hear you, BUT: Jack is SO MUCH better looking.... Just sayin'.

Kara Shepherd said...

My father-in-law was killed in a car accident 8 years ago. I still sometimes think I see him driving around town. I'll catch myself waving and then remember that he's not here anymore. So strange. Speaking of strange, poor Justin Bieber. I wonder if you can ever just be you in the world he lives in.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you this morning, Anna, and want to say that the HP interview was beautiful. Sending you and your family hugs.

love,
jbhat