Thursday, July 28, 2016

Dumbo, Elephants and me

I remember being a small child and watching "Dumbo" with my mother.  I also remember crying (quietly so mama wouldn't hear), when Dumbo went to visit with his mother one last time while she was in the railroad car.  I could never, ever re-watch the movie.

While working on my master's degree a professor of a class I was in showed clips of movies to emphasize points being made in his class.  I don't recall the class, some sort of psychology/social work/sociology type.  I really do not remember lessons taught.  I do remember clips of two movies teaching two seperate ideals or something or other.

I remember clips of the "The Matrix" but no memory on what the clips meant.  I believe that it stuck with me of the many we saw because I hated that movie.

A few weeks later, on a new subject, I began to slip down in my chair.  For I realized, somehow, the clip which was coming would be of a tremendously sad scene. The scene of Dumbo and his mother.  I barely made it through that class, that night, because of the emotional thoughts deeply stirred.

By that point in my life I had lost my mother.  She had died about 8 years or so before in 1990.  The scene this time around was not just representative of a child feeling sadness about a baby elephant losing it's mother.  Now the scene contained not only that but also a new sorrow.  Not only of a baby elephant but also of an 18 year old girl becoming a young woman with no mother.

When my brother Gary died in 1979 I was nearly 8 and Gary 27.  My mama and daddy settled, I guess that's what it was, into grief.  My mama and I had talks of Gary, and death and God and Heaven.  She prepared me for my future death you'd say by giving me a peace of what would come.

The one lesson mama never, ever taught me? Was how to live without her.  How to live without a mother......

Elephants are iconic to me.  They fascinate me through their deep bonds of family. Of being a matriarchal society-mothers raising and forming deep bonds with their babies. Of their ability to mourn, in the future, of family gone if they cross paths with the bones of past elephants of their group.

Perhaps part of my admiration of the elephant was born of "Dumbo" followed with my loss of mama. I became a sort of "Dumbo" in my shared experience of "Dumbo".