In Honor of Diane

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Death. It is a time of sorrow. A time for forgiving. A time to forget about tomorrow and worry about living, in the present, with the presence of our loved ones-family and friends alike, because you do not know who you have to love and care for, until they are gone forever, leaving you with memories to remember by.  If I think of this, I think of my grandma, who was the closest member of my family, and with whom I shared 30 years of memories with, whether it was telling stories in front of her fireplace, eating her homemade chili con carne, having family Christmas celebrations with presents and oyster stew, chopping wood like passionate lumberjacks, or even taking part in church activities, for she was a devout Catholic. In my last conversation I had with her in 2007, we had the longest chat about how our lives have changed for the better. Yet at the same time, she complained about the importance of people wanting stuff in life- whether it was new buildings replacing the old ones that still had charm left in them, new cars with state-of-the-art gadgets, careers over families, or even things that are supposed to be good for the house but take up too much space. She left a note, albeit indirectly, but explicitly saying that it was up to people like me to cherish what we have and protect what we love the most, for they would also disappear in one way or another.  Less than four months after the phone call, she passed away but not before saying good-bye to her family over lunch and ice cream. To this day, I still remember her for what she did in my life while growing up, yet there are many times I wished she was alive to see how things have changed, some for the best, but much of it for the worse.

And this takes me to this Genre of the Week by the Files and this short film about death and how to honor and cherish the memories of someone, regardless of who. In Honor of Diane was produced by D. Wilmos Paul and has recently been released by the Twin Cities Film Co-Op based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the US. The plot of the story is the time before the funeral, but it appears in two different time forms, switching back and forth between the present, which appears all in color, and the past, which is painted in a somewhat grayish color. In the present, the main character, Jake, is dealing with a loss of a family member as well as losing her mother to dementia.   Jake realizes that there will not be much time left for the mother and vows to do something so that she can remember him and his wife, who appears supporting of them both, being there for both when they are needed the most, whether it was helping her get dressed for a funeral or helping Jake with the tie.  Then there is the past where the mother is a little girl, saying good-bye to their family cat, with her parents and a small boy at their side. The boy (who is the preacher’s son) appears to be indifferent and impatient, while the girl reads her farewell letter to the cat named Diana. In both scenes, there is a homemade cross, which Jake’s mother (in the present) carries with her and symbolizes the love she gives and memories that she wishes to be kept. In either case, no matter how one interprets it, the story remains the same- talking about the loss of a loved one and the need to keep the memories alive.

Have a look at the clip and think about the following:

1. Who was your main person in life, who cared about you and whom you looked up to? What were some things you miss about him/her? It can apply to one or more people, and it is regardless of family or friend.

2. If there was one person you care about in the present and would like to do something for him/her, who would that be and why? Again, the rules from the first question apply here as well.

3. Which is more important in life: family and friends or career and things?

And now the clip, thanks to the cast and crew for making this and allowing for use in this article:

(Author’s Note: Please feel free to comment on these questions, let alone how you interpret this story from your own perspective. Post your thoughts below)

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