Last month when I heard Elizabeth Taylor had passed away, it triggered some unexpected feelings. I guess it’s true what they say about grief, you never know what might trigger it. You never quite know when it might sneak up on you. You just never know…
I love movies. I even have a movie category on my blog. Maybe there’s a new career waiting for me some day as a movie critic?? Maybe not…
My mother loved movies. She continued going to movies for as long as possible even when she was really sick. Many “older” people don’t go to a lot of movies, especially the more “questionable” ones. There wasn’t any kind of movie my mother wouldn’t consider going to or watching on TV. Going to movies was another way she kept current. Going to movies and then discussing them helped keep her young.
So when I heard Elizabeth Taylor had passed away last month, it somehow felt like I was losing yet another little piece of my mother. Elizabeth Taylor and my mom were connected, in my mind anyway.
Hearing this news made me sad. But, then I realized perhaps I really am at the acceptance stage of grief because I was only sad for a few moments. Of course, I still felt saddened by the news of this loss of another Hollywood icon, but on a personal level, I was able to move on to fond reflective memories as well.
I loved remembering how much my mother loved movies and Elizabeth Taylor. I enjoyed thinking about all those years I got to stay up late with her to watch the Academy Awards show on television. I enjoyed reflecting on our conversations about whatever movie either one of us had just seen. I enjoyed remembering conversations about our top 10 lists of all-time favorite movies. I just enjoyed the remembering part.
When you start remembering your loved ones life, not their death, this is real progress. When you start remember mostly the pleasant memories, this is real progress.
After Elizabeth’s death, I remember hearing someone being interviewed on television say there would never be another movie star quite like Elizabeth Taylor. They were probably right. Elizabeth was not only a beautiful and talented actress; she was, or at least seemed to be, a genuinely good person. She changed the room when she walked into it the person being interviewed also stated, and not just because of her stunning good looks. There seemed to be something different about her, something more, something bigger than life.
Elizabeth also knew quite a bit about survival skills. Though she led a privileged life to be sure, it was not free from challenges. She survived the death of her beloved husband, too many marriages to keep track of, pneumonia, addiction, weight struggles, a bad back and osteoporosis to name a few. And these are just a few the public knew about. Like all of us, I’m sure she had a few private struggles as well.
Movie stars don’t seem quite so iconic today, probably because modern social media lets us pry into all aspects of their lives. I think in some ways they seem more ordinary, more flawed – more like us. Perhaps we don’t hold them in such high regard anymore. This is probably a good thing, but there’s something a little sad about this as well.
Regardless, whenever I go to a movie, I still wonder to myself what my mother would think of it. It’s a little connection we still seem to share. I like that.
Note: I don’t remember a lot of Elizabeth Taylor’s movies. Two gems I have seen are “Giant” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” In the eyes of this particular “movie critic,” Liz delivered pretty stellar performances in the two roles she played in these.
Do you have a favorite Elizabeth Taylor movie?
Who is your favorite movie actor or actress and do you think genuine “movies stars” still exit?
Have you experienced an unexpected grief trigger?