I recently watched the movie “My Sister’s Keeper”. It is based on a novel with the same title, however the movie differs from the novel slightly. It is about a girl, Anna, whose DNA was genetically designed so she could be a perfect donor to her older sister, Kate, who has leukemia. In the movie, Anna, age 11, decides to sue her parents seeking to win control of her own body on the grounds of medical emancipation as she no longer wanted to give her body parts to help her sister due to the potential impact it would have for her own life. Despite this serious theme, I found the movie enjoyable and somewhat uplifting. It was also thought provoking; would parents really go as far as having another, genetically designed baby so they’d have a perfect donor to their dying child? Where is the line between wanting to do everything within their power to help, and going too far?
The movie conveyed and touched upon various subjects which I could relate to. Family relationships, how one expresses love towards each other, how Anna had to stand up for herself – or so it seemed, and so on. If I had to pick just one scene which spoke to me the loudest, it would be this; the scene where a Judge who is going to handle the court case started talking to Anna alone in judge’s chamber to try and determine if Anna was mature enough to understand what she is asking for. It turns out that the judge’s daughter was killed by a drunk driver about 6 months ago. Anna saw a picture of her daughter at the side table, and casually asked the judge how she felt when her daughter died. The judge pondered the question for a while. When she finally opened her mouth to speak, only tears started to roll down her cheek. When Anna realized the impact her question had upon the judge, Anna said “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything”, to which the judge responded, “Don’t be. There is no shame in dying”.
Sometimes people are afraid to talk about death or dead people. They are afraid that talking about it would bring up “bad feelings”. When we lost Miroku and eventually started sharing this with some of my friends, I remember one of them saying “I was afraid to say something wrong ”. But to me, there wasn’t really anything wrong anyone could have said to me if it came from a place of love and caring. I appreciated it when someone expressed their sympathy for me and what we’ve been going through. The quote “There is no shame in dying” means to me that there is no shame in talking about it, crying or feeling sad by remembering the person you loved. Sadness is just a reflection of how deep your love was, and still is, to the one who passed away. About a month ago, I went to a meeting called “Families Helping Families”, where mothers who have lost their children gather together and support one another. One mother said that when she buys a cup of coffee at Starbucks and is asked her name, she would tell the name of her daughter who passed away, just so she could hear someone say her name when the coffee is ready. I realized that as time goes by, people move on and start forgetting them. This is one reason why some mothers keep coming back to the meetings, as they want to talk about their children, and share how much they meant to them. Talking about the loved one who is no longer with us is a sign of love and caring. I believe it is healthy to remember the loved one rather than try to forget or avoid bringing up the subject. Discussing the topic demonstrates your capacity to love and your ability to express your love. Even though this leaves you vulnerable, uncomfortable and tired at times, I would still choose expressing love rather than hiding from it.