Be Respectful Of The Absence: Lessons From Michelle Williams
We have to wait until Sunday night to find out whether Michelle Williams will take home the Golden Globe for Best Performance By An Actress In A Motion Picture (Drama) for her role as Cindy in Blue Valentine, but you can check out a mighty chunk of Michelle’s feature piece in February’s issue of Marie Claire online now.
During the interview, Michelle talks pretty candidly about how the loss of her former fiance and the father of her daughter, Heath Ledger, has affected her in the three years since his passing.
The award-winning actress talks of broken hearts, a prince-less Disney World, and the dangers of expecting you can get everything you want from one person.
But it’s her statement on accepting the loss of a loved one I feel is most profound.
Very obviously, for me and for her, there’s a hole in our life. Of course the natural inclination is to want to fill it and make it disappear, but what I’ve come to recently is that it’s impossible. Nothing will fit in that hole because what we want back we can’t get, which is this one person. I’m not going to rush anything and scamper around like a mad person and make myself crazy. I’m trying to be respectful of the absence. I’m not trying to fill it up. It is what it is.
Being “respectful of the absence,” opting to not try to “fill it up,” seems like a healthy and realistic coping mechanism, to me, and one that so many of us don’t grasp until we’ve already exhausted our energies trying to patch up the hole and numb the pain.
Rather than jumping into new relationships or making drastic and unhealthy lifestyle changes (i.e. drinking, using drugs, partying all hours of the night, throwing ourselves into our jobs 24/7, etc.) to try to fill or numb the void, we can accept the loss, respect the absence in our lives, learn how to cope with it without the aid of distractions, and understand that no matter how far we “move on,” that same presence – in Michell’s case, her relationship with her fiance and the father of her child – will never be there again.
It might sound a little depressing, but it’s not. Accepting that the loss is real and can’t be replaced doesn’t mean Michelle can’t ever be happy again. It doesn’t mean her life will be void of new and exciting and loving and fulfilling experiences and people. It simply means that as she moves through life and finds these experiences and people, she will enjoy them for what they are – new and in her life now – and with the knowledge that they can’t replace what she’s already experienced, and who she already knew.
What do you think? How have you dealt with the loss of a loved one? What advice would you offer Michelle, or others?
Image Source: Georges Biard
Sparks, A. (2011). Be Respectful Of The Absence: Lessons From Michelle Williams. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/celebrity/2011/01/be-respectful-of-the-absence-lessons-from-michelle-williams/