I finished Diane Keaton's Then Again, published in 2011. First, I was struck by so many similarities. I started my blog in 2011 in response to not being able to go to my mother any more for the stories of our family. Diane's mother died in 2008, her dad in 1990, the same years my mother and dad died.
Does it take about two to three years to process what losing a mother means to an adult daughter? For me, it seems to have, especially after a long illness and care giving. Another episode Miss Keaton and I shared.
Diane is older than my oldest sibling, Diane, by two years. Yet, I feel we are all of the same generation. She would be one of the first and I, by most statistics, of the last. Our parents were about the same age, which may be another reason I feel of the baby boomer generation. Her parents both came from broken homes, with my dad, the last child of a widow and my mother, who's mother walked away from home in 1936, I felt affinity.
Another tid bit I thought interesting, Diane Keaton, watched Times Square on TV every New Year's Eve in Pasadena, California, dreaming of being in New York City. She left sunny California for dreary, dirty New York, for acting school. My brother-in-law watched the Rose Bowl Parade every New Year's Day, in dreary, dirty Farrell, Pennsylvania, knowing he was not going to stay with the cloudy days. My youngest daughter, too, has directing and California dreams.
The feel of the memoir draws me into Diane's life. A middle income California girl, who happens to meet Gale Storm's son later in life, who dates her childhood crush of Warren Beatty, (remember Bonnie and Clyde?), meets her childhood idols of Audrey Hepburn, Richard Burton and Gregory Peck at award ceremonies is ordinary. The celebrity life never seemed to take over her wonder.
Diane's mother, Dorothy writes journals, copious journals, a woman who came of age after her children flew the coop. She writes of Woody Allen, like any mother would write about her daughter's new boyfriend. I'm envious. Not of the celebrity status, but of Dorothy writing her stories. I wish Mom had written more. And my daughters will have my writing and maybe never want to read it.
Diane becomes a mother at age fifty by adopting a daughter in a basket. Latter, a son, the same way with visitors delivering a boy in a blue blanket basket. She loves the ordinariness of her extended family, like the swim meets early in the morning, when she wrote much of this book. There is no mention of birth mothers or the kids wondering about their families. I wonder how Lost Daughters would feel about this?
Reading a book about mothers and daughters from a baby boomer, a famous baby boomer, explored feelings of that special relationship two females can hold. Having Dorothy's words about her childhood and motherhood added to the journey. As always when I hear about these stories, I am so thankful for the difference Jesus made in our family. The born again Dad, the mother following along, joining in his vision that was real. We had the genuine experience, yet my siblings and I have to make our own choices. Our children have to follow their path. I witnessed little hypocrisy in my family. I am not disillusioned. I think of my mother with children, the smile of love and I know her love was true, as well.
Like Diane Keaton, at the end of her book, I, too, pen words for my mother. I turn some days, wishing I could pick up that phone or hop in the car to speak and see her. I believe where Mom is, Diane notices that she speaks to her mother in "Then" which becomes "Again." The truth Dorothy wrote before she starting losing her mind, It's so hard to understand the complexities of our human existence. Why were we created with emotions of love only to be left with such emptiness when those we have felt love for are taken out of our lives? I will never know the answer until I die...
1 Thessalonians chapter four states we do not grieve like those who have no hope.
I am glad I have the hope of eternal life. I'm glad the religion presented to me rang true to me, unlike the religion of Dorothy or Diane did to them. Still when Dorothy pondered this question above she did think of the Bible and found some comfort. I believe truth is found there. I have been taught, the Holy Spirit will lead all into Truth and Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life." I hope those truths these ladies heard as young girls in church will come through to them.