It’s been a year today since my Grandma Fife passed away. When I held her hand for the very last time. It’s been years since we were kids, playing at the farm, watching the Price is Right, feeding the barn cats, and being happy just goofing around with the hay bails and a broom. And it’s been almost as many years since I’ve watched a Winnie The Pooh movie.
Tonight we caught the new Christopher Robin movie. If you’ve seen the trailer, it promised to be a sentimental call back to all things Pooh and Co. with a flash into the future of what and who is Christopher Robin as an adult. To me, it delivered exactly this. The right amount of homage to classic lines. It has heart for a hundred acres, and seeing the cartoon characters mosey around in the real world captivated me the entire running time. And the story, although simple and very Pooh-like, resonated with me in a silly old bear kind of way. Many of us are that Adult Christopher Robin. Tied up with things that not only don’t make us happy and keep us from things we love, but make us trapped without another option. We invest so much of ourselves into something that often doesn’t invest in us in return. But this isn’t going to be a movie review post (you should see it- it will charm the Eeyore tail right off of you!). Nor is this going to be a post about how we need to find the joy in our jobs, and follow our dreams (although– you should!). Thinking existentially, Pooh and Friends really are the original Inside Out cast: Piglet is Worry, Tigger is Joy, Eeyore is Sadness, Kanga is Empathy, Roo is Curiosity, Rabbit is Responsibility, Owl is Intelligence, and Pooh is the original Mindfulness. Yet this isn’t what this post is about either.
This post is about how we carry on after someone leaves us. The movie reminded me just how much I miss my Grandma. Over this past year, I’ve found a lot of the joy again with thoughts of my Grandma, and her (silly old bear) way of being in the world. I’ve normalized her passing, and her not being here anymore with memories of her long dark blue coat, her shuffling walk, and her tight white hair cut. But I haven’t given myself much space to sit in the dark and the void of not having her here. To just sit with it. I didn’t realize how much space she’s left in my world until I saw Pooh up on the screen tonight, sitting on a log with a red balloon pondering where his Christopher Robin has been. I spent most of the movie with a tear or two down my cheeks and a sentimental smile across my face. I miss her voice, her patches of wisdom, her sly grin, and her “oh Michael”s. I really do miss the comfort of knowing she’s there.
Pooh’s random words tonight spoke to me like her random stories. Clever thoughts that at first, don’t make sense, and could easily be dismissed. Yet when I stop to listen, I would hear the message. Pooh’s favorite day is today, because yesterday, when it was tomorrow, was too much day. My Grandma sharing her favorite memories time and time again: what better way to remind us to lean in and say yes, to stop judging, and to just be here now. Pooh seeing the truth through all of the noise, and saying so much with a little grin and tummy grumble. Grandma was always so good at that, with her little laugh, and watchful eyes. And like Pooh, I’m pretty sure some of my Grandma’s best friends were animals. Until tonight, I never associated Winnie the Pooh with my childhood, but seeing Pooh, and hearing him speak… It was like having my Grandma back in my life.
A year ago I held on desperately to the actual memories of holidays, feeding the barn cats, and walking to the river. Tonight, the deeper memories kicked back in. The forgettable moments swept in between the bigger ones. The joy we felt as children playing at the Farm, and the the simpleness of being left to explore the nothing. The hay bails becoming backdrops for whatever story we were making up. How when we felt stuck, we just created a new solution and a fresh game. The lessons of creativity, play, and acceptance that Grandma encouraged alongside her afternoon picnics and cheese sandwiches. Summertime with Grandma was my crossing into the Hundred Acre Woods, just like Christopher Robin going to find his Pooh Bear. Over the years I’ve forgotten those feelings.
Walking home from the theatre, we cross under a never ending highway, cut up past a little park, and chat about the film, the humidity and the weather. Loud music blares from a passing car, food is served quickly at a busy pub. There’s chaos, and something going on everywhere. I’m surrounded by Heffalumps and Woozles. We hustle through to go somewhere fast, but we may just need to stop and sit on the log.
Although Pooh said this to me tonight, I’m pretty sure my Grandma would have said the same thing:
Doing nothing often leads to the very best something.
A bonus workout video for anyone who’s read this far!