“These were the lovely bones, that had grown around my absence,
the connections, sometimes tenuous, sometimes made at great cost,
but often magnificent,
but often magnificent,
that happened, after I was gone.
And I began to see things in a way …
that let me hold the world, without me in it.”
These are my favorite lines from the movie “The Lovely Bones,” which I just watched tonight. Having read the book years ago, I was fully prepared to be devastated by this movie — so much so that I was afraid to go to the movie theater to watch it and chose to wait for the DVD so I could watch it at home. It’s been so long since I read the book that I couldn’t compare the two, although I’ve heard there are a lot of differences. But I was really pleasantly surprised to find the movie actually left me feeling a bit uplifted instead of devastated.
Of course, you all know that The Lovely Bones is about Susie Salmon, a 14-year old girl who has been murdered. It is about her spirit, which is hovering in the “in between,” not quite ready to leave this earth behind for heaven. She watches over the people she cares about, and over the man who murdered her. I thought the movie was visually beautiful in its depiction of the “in between.” I think it didn’t probe the family’s grief quite as deeply as it could have, but if it had that probably would have put a bit of a damper on the uplifting part.
The saddest part of the film, to me, was when Susie witnessed her younger sister getting her first kiss. Susie was happy for her sister, but sad because it was something she would never get to experience. So often since Michaela has been gone these things have crossed my mind, all the things that Michaela’s friends are doing, that her brothers and sisters are doing — growing up, loving, having families — that Michaela did not have the opportunity to do. (That’s an assumption, I know, but you know what I mean.)
But these words at the end just reverberated through me, because they are so true. These terrible things that happen are pebbles tossed into the stream of our lives every bit as much as the good and indifferent. I am fully aware of how drastically the course of my life changed because of Michaela’s kidnapping. I am also aware of the many, many, many blessings that have come my way as a result of it. There are so many people I have come to know and love because of Michaela — the connections which are sometimes tenuous, certainly at great cost, and yet they are often magnificent. When you get right down to it, even though there is no direct connection, I doubt I would ever have had my youngest child if Michaela had not been kidnapped. So these are the “lovely bones” in my life, I guess, the things that have grown up around Michaela’s absence that have slowly, but surely, inevitably, cushioned those places that hurt the most just enough to allow life to go on.
It was uplifting, in the movie, watching Susie Salmon find peace. I just hope that Michaela has found peace as well, wherever she may be.