"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." ~ (Frederick Buechner in Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith)
I wonder about the reactions of the parents in Downton Abbey. Certainly they were shockingly calm and controlled which is nothing like my personal experience. Perhaps the attachment to their children was not as deep. It was difficult for me to relate to the parents in this episode. Watching Sybil die, however, was heartwrenching, especially knowing that her death could have been prevented.
I recall lurching between calm and controlled and utter hysteria. There is also a lot that I do not recall at all. A friend tells me that I said something terrible to her, but I have no memory of it whatever.I did think that Maggie Smith was magnificent, and I well remember that sense of staggering forward toward things that had to be done.I was also quite struck by her remark the next morning that Sybil had died as so many women had. True enough, but it so often takes years, not hours, to come to accept that what has happened in one's family happens to many, and that there would be no reason for one's own to be exempt.I have had so many elderly people say to me that they just don't understand how it happened to them that their 85yo spouse with cancer should have died. The Countess Dowager has quite a remarkable grasp of life in all of its beauty and irony and horror.
Someone remarked of Maggie Smith's performance that she had just won an award by entering a room. (After her arrival at Downton, and the sad exchange with Carson, she walks into the foyer, in tears and barely able to put one foot in front of the other.) I think she found and showed us the physical expression of that staggering forward because one simply has to.
This conversation takes me back to a time when I was a 22 year old minister's wife and we lived in a very small community. We were at the annual strawberry social and I joined a group of women who were in deep conversation about a catastrophe besetting a young family. I was most concerned and inquired if this family was in our community when I was informed that it was a TV show. I don't think my knowledge of TV has improved very much in the 45 years since then but I'm enjoying hearing all about Downton Abbey and will live vicariously through the folks on Robin's blog.
That had to be a difficult scene for you to watch, my friend...
Some of it seemed so familiar. Most tv/movie depictions of death have no root in reality, but this one did. I appreciate that the world stopped for all of them and that the help remembered to find a wet nurse for the baby. I forgot to eat after my son died.