Last month, when I heard Elizabeth Taylor had died, it triggered some unexpected feelings. I guess it’s true what they say about grief triggers, you just never know. You never quite know when grief might sneak up on you. You just never know…
I love movies. There’s even 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 died, it 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’m at, or getting closer to, 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. It was comforting thinking about all those years I got to stay up late with her to watch the Academy Awards show on TV. I enjoyed reflecting on our conversations about whatever movie either one of us had just seen and remembering conversations about our top 10 lists of all-time favorite movies.
I enjoyed the remembering.
When you start remembering your loved one’s life, not their death, this is progress. When you start remember mostly the pleasant memories, this is progress.
After Elizabeth’s death, I heard someone being interviewed on TV 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 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 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 share.
We always will.
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 stellar performances in the two roles she played in these.
You might want to read: Losing My Mother – I Was Supposed to Be Ready.
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?
How do you handle grief triggers?
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