I've recently found that a movie you loved in middle school or high school takes on new life in your later years. Top Gun is one of my favorite movies of all time, and recently I saw part of it and understood something that I didn't understand when I was 10. This morning, as I was sitting on the couch, trying to wake up for my hair appointment (cut, not styling), I was channel surfing and ran across Regarding Henry. I have loved this movie since I first saw it about 17 years ago, and it has not lost its potency. I realized two things about this movie that I either didn't know or didn't remember.
1. They were splitting up. The marriage was going nowhere and both had been unfaithful. Yet when Henry got shot, Sarah stayed. She stayed by him. And I could see it in her face that she had wanted to leave and now couldn't. I'm not even sure if Annette Bening was attempting to show that, but I saw it. She couldn't leave. And it was pretty freaking beautiful. It would have been somewhat easier to leave, except for the kid, but she stayed. But it was weird noticing for the first time, the look on her face, first of desperation, then determination.
2. Bill Nunn called Henry "Hank." I never realized it. Ever. I should have, obviously, being that Henry is my dad's name, and he's been called Hank since he was a junior in high school (it was Butch before that, for some damn reason).
My dad died last Monday. I keep staring at that sentence, trying to figure out how I got here. I haven't cried, I haven't moped, I haven't so much as stared at the wall. Last week I drove 1500 miles, and I kept my mind off of it by listening to books on tape. I methodically drove all over the southeast collecting my dad's things and setting his affairs in order, and now it's Tuesday and I'm back in my mundane life and he's just gone. They keep saying he's in a better place, but honestly I don't know that. I know he believed in God, and I asked him if he had been praying, which he said he was. I guess, since I didn't have the guts to flat out ask him, I'm just going to have to hope and pray that he repented and sought God.
Death has never really bothered me. I am shocked and saddened when I lose family and friends, but I don't think I have ever grieved someone. I think that I live my life so completely self-centered that losing someone only frees up more time for myself. Am I exaggerating? Maybe. I don't think so. Who knows?
I do know that, regarding my father, I could have been a better son, and he could have been a better dad. And he fucked up his life. But in the end, he made peace with me and his other kids. And I'm going to believe he made peace with God.
Henry Callier Steed, III
Jan 20, 1945 - Feb 18, 2008