"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." – Helen Keller
I dare you. I dare you to see this move and not think once, maybe even twice, about mothers who lose their children to adoption.
Reign Over Me is a movie starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, two of my favorite actors. The movie had been recommended to me by a friend in Ireland, an adoptee and therapist. I immediately put it on my NetFlix queue and it arrived today.
Sick with a sinus infection, alone for the evening, I thought it would be a perfect way to relax and nurse my aching head.
I knew the plot line. That is, I knew the movie was about grief and dealing with the loss of a loved one. In the movie, Charlie, played by Adam Sandler is suffering from PTSD following the loss of his entire family (wife and three children) during the 911 attacks. Charlie is withdrawn, disassociates, often times violent and always deeply sad. He has flashbacks and breakdowns and gets lost.
And yeah, I could totally relate.
If you want to know what it feels like, what it really feels like to lose your child to adoption, to see pictures of a child you cannot hold and cannot touch, to wake at night to the sound of a child crying only there is no child to be found, watch this movie.
Pay special attention to Charlie during the court scene. The attorney for the other side flashes pictures of Charlie’s family. One by one. The Wife. The daughter, another daughter. As the scene develops, Charlie breaks down completely. He is groaning, rocking, crying, covering his ears, his eyes, groaning, crying, rocking, groaning, rocking crying. The lawyer drops the last picture right in front of Charlie sending him into what appears to be a complete psychotic breakdown.
I know that feeling. I know what is like to look at pictures of your child, to see that child on the street, in faces, to hear the child. I know what it is like to retreat to some deep dark place inside yourself and just rock and rock and rock. I know what is like to feel so much pain that you cannot function. I know what it is like to be perfectly fine one moment and in the next you are not. One silly triggering thought, word, picture, smell can send you spiraling into the abyss.
Watch this movie. Absorb it. I dare you to get into Charlie’s shoes and while you are there, while you are inside, rocking along with him, keep in mind that we do this to mothers and children every day. We force them to live like Charlie and we give them no support and we tell them it is a good thing and they will get over it. And when they don’t, when they don’t get over it, we use their own pain against them. They are told it is their fault, they brought it on themselves, it is their punishment for unprotected sex. Never do we tell them that the adoption system is to blame and that the social workers have it all wrong.
Charlie did not have a choice. His family was killed due to the 911 terrorists.
We, you, all of us do have a choice to stop destroying families.
Charlie is a character in a movie. I am real. So is Nic and Claud and Jenna and all the other mamas that came before us and those that will come after us.
Lets not have any more rocking Charlie’s.
Save one mother and child you save generations of that family – past present and future.