This, for me, is an interesting chapter in which the idea of how people who are suffering from bereavement are treated. It is connected to the earlier mentioned theme of ‘Moving On’. Is it necessary to always move on? Life is not only about moving on, surely? At some point or other you must find something or someone worth stopping for – worth waiting for, even though you know they shall never come again. Things don’t always have to get better or be replaced or compared.
The chapter itself, I find is very easy reading. It has a nice flow, and the conversation between Michael and Dr. Fanon is relaxed without any hidden political comments or social remarks. Again, I sneak in some of my own preferences, such as his library; this is a personal favorite. I would love such a place. A room filled with first editions of unknown authors! A room full of hope. I enjoyed writing his thought process, too, how certain words triggered new thoughts. The chapter has a feeling of friendship, which makes Dr. Fanon’s preoccupation with the world beyond the grid more peculiar.
Talking of friendship, at some point in the book I also mention how the inmates share doing the washing up. It’s no big deal, but this is a special memory for me. I can remember seeing my mom and dad standing in the kitchen sharing the work, and they seemed so happy together. Teenage love is all wild and passionate, but the love I saw them share was as ‘alive’ as teenage love but with grace and respect.
It was a beautiful moment – one they didn’t know I was sharing.
Lots of things are lost when two people separate. In my book Michael loses his wife and son. This future has been taken from him. He will never sit on the couch with her near him ever again, or hear her voice ringing out from the kitchen ‘Do you want some tea?’ Trivial things maybe, but these are the small things that make life worthwhile.
Why do doctors think it is important to find someone else when that person had something perfect, something special and wonderful? If my son were to die – they wouldn’t suggest I have another child… yet everyone suggests finding a new partner. So does that mean the love that is shared between two people is less? Cheaper somehow? Not so important? My brother has spent his whole life with one woman. They do not have any children. Is their love less valuable then?
Of course not.
This does not mean, I do not understand the value of letting go, and adjusting to a life without that person, but I don’t think replacing them is the answer.
‘When she left me, she kissed me goodbye. It was the softest, gentlest, and the most beautiful kiss I’ve ever had.’
Now why would this person want to kiss someone else – ever again? I just don’t get it.
It is this attitude that has created the character of Michael. For some it may seem unrealistic. Old fashioned. Self-inflicting. (There are lots of derogative terms to describe the fact Michael chooses to wait – hoping one day they will be reunited.) But this is his choice, and my choice as the author. Michael will not change. He has not died from a broken heart – he must wait to die.