When Love and Death Collide…

Bronnie Ware, the Australian nurse while working as a palliative nurse witnessed the epiphanies of her patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives, as life drifts before them. She ultimately penned down her learning as the top five regrets of the dying in her blog: Inspiration and Chai — Regrets of the Dying. Not giving much importance to the loved ones or to relationships; not expressing one’s feeling for someone during their whole life time prevails a lot among the top regrets of people in their death bed, While this is about not doing the right thing when people had time, there is another melancholic dimension associated with life when love jounces us in the death bed. Its about the strong desire to live emanating out of a newly blossomed love for someone and at the same time, experiencing a very high repulsive force against the cognizance of a depart from the loved ones due to an approaching end of life. This feeling can be really creepy and haunting even just to visualize it. Many must have seen this in reality, but I mostly felt this on the context of three poignant movies, which gave me a heartache and prodding me to think over the matter deeper.

Advisory: The following movies are sad, high on human emotions and can be tear-jerking. Please suit your mood before watching.

My Sister’s Keeper (2009): This is the story about a leukemia striken girl Kate (Sofia Vassilieva), her sister Anna (Abigail Breslin) who was artificially given birth to be a donor child for Kate, a determined mother Sara (Cameron Diaz) who wants to go any length to save her daughter and the other members of the Fitzgerald family consisting of a caring father, a delinquent yet loving brother and an aunt. A movie falling into the drama genre which draws the clambers and sacrifices of the family members throughout Kate’s battle with cancer. During the period of her illness, Kate meets a fellow patient Taylor in a chemotherapy session. Both of them instantly likes each other and falls in love. The scenes in the movie depicting both of them getting along together, comforting each other during the chemo sessions are really touchy, which probably made all viewers to wish, what if love could defeat their death. Another moving scene of the movie shows, Kate wearing an elegant wig to hide her bald head to attend a ball in the hospital and before leaving asks her dad Do I look pretty daddy?. The father gives an affirmative gesture without uttering a word and that made the situation real poignant. Again, how the news of Taylor’s death kills her emotionally, in a manner much worse than her cancer, is devastating.

I know I’m going to die now. I suppose I’ve always known that. I just never knew when. And I’m okay with it. Really. I don’t mind my disease killing me. But it’s killing my family, too.

My Sister’s Keeper appears in many listings as a sad, depressing movie, yet its thought provoking, with a clear message citing values of family, relationships and love. The characters of Kate and Taylor did an amazing justice to the state of human emotion when strangled in a husk of true love and death.

Never Let Me Go (2010): This movie tells a story about three friends, Ruth (Keira Knightley), Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) growing up in a typical strict residential school in England. The theme of the movie is little open-ended, but as perceived, the students of this school are systematically brain-washed to live a life of focus, rather than choice. They are made to believe since childhood that once they complete their formal education, the only motive of their lives is to serve the world outside the school and finally sacrificing their own lives through organ donations before they reach the age of thirty. A life fully devoted and dedicated for the betterment of others in the society. Since, the movie falls into a dystopian sci-fi genre, I sometimes wonder if these children were specially created in lab as organ donors. Nevertheless, its a touchy tale of love, loss and purpose of life. As it happens in a triangular love story, here too Kathy loves Tommy, Tommy and Ruth are couples and Kathy and Tommy shares a very special bond exceeding their friendship. With growing up, as they realizes the horrible truth of their fate, they tries their best to confront the feeling of love inside them with the ensuing pre-determined early death. As the story advances, they makes their own futile attempt to defer their orchestrated death just to live some more time; to love and be loved.

“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.” ― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go

The movie needs a serious and conscious viewing with the right mindset to feel the crux. The last scene of the movie, where Kathy goes down memory lane thinking about Tommy, she stands by a barbed wire fence in where two torn pieces of clothes are stuck, blowing in the wind. That really gives a very bleak feeling. By that time, Ruth and Tommy were both dead and Kathy is waiting for her donation.

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): This movie needs no introduction. The story of Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort), who meets in a cancer support group and falls in love. A touching story of two young people who are in the process of dying and have a strong yearning to live a little more. A situation when someone can see whats in store for the future with the realization that whatever you do, nothing can change the fate, but still trying to make the most of what is present.

“There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

Although many critics put this movie in the teenage melodrama category because of the strong love angle, but The Fault in Our Stars delivers the exact feeling generated when love and death collides. The screenplay is so good that anyone watching the movie can connect with the characters and feel the emotion; even if you are not a fan of (tragic) love stories.

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