I have a friend who has spent the past month telling me that her new favorite movie is P.S. I Love You. She told me that Stephanie and I had to watch it. When I asked her for a brief overview of the film, she told me that she cried throughout the movie; although she added that it was okay that she got emotional because it was “a feel good” cry. The words “a feel good” cry are not words I want to hear when someone is trying to get me to see a film.
A few weeks ago, HBO had a free preview weekend. As I perused the guide to see what movies were going to be shown, I came across P.S. I Love You and decided to record it. I figured it was free and by watching the film, I could tell my friend I saw it and I would never have to hear about how great a movie it is again. I would have drawn my own conclusions about the movie and that would be the end of the discussion. For those who have not seen the film, here is the synopsis of P.S. I Love You at imdb.com:
Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life – a passionate, funny, and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. The only one who can help her is the person who is no longer there. Nobody knows Holly better than Gerry. So it’s a good thing he planned ahead. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of letters that will guide her, not only through her grief, but in rediscovering herself. The first message arrives on Holly’s 30th birthday in the form of a cake, and to her utter shock, a tape recording from Gerry, who proceeds to tell her to get out and “celebrate herself”. In the weeks and months that follow, more letters from Gerry are delivered in surprising ways, each sending her on a new adventure and each signing off in the same way; P.S. I Love You. Holly’s mother and best friends begin to worry that Gerry’s letters are keeping Holly tied to the past, but in fact, each letter is pushing her further into a new future. With Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly embarks on a journey of rediscovery in a story about marriage, friendship and how a love so strong can turn the finality of death into a new beginning for life.
Two weeks ago, Stephanie and I watched P.S. I Love You. When it was over, Stephanie turned, looked at me and said, “I don’t like that movie. I don’t ever want to see it again.” Now in Stephanie’s defense, the plot of the film is one of Stephanie’s worst nightmares; the fear that something bad would happen to me and that she would be left to sort out the pieces after my untimely demise.
Unlike Stephanie, though, I liked the movie because it was a powerful love story that illustrated how love has the strength to continue offering support and guidance, even after we have left the world (Plus, the film used humor to express the point). I also liked the film for the introspective reality of what the story offered to me personally in the wake of Gerry’s passing; hope!
I kissed my wife for the first time on my twenty-third birthday. Stephanie is five years younger than I am and four years after that first kiss, we were married. We have built a wonderful life together. We have beautiful children that have taught us so much about ourselves as people and after sixteen years and ten months, Stephanie is still the first person I want to see in the morning when I wake up and the last person I want to see when I go to bed at night.
I have to admit that the symbolism of the wedding ring was lost on me until I met Stephanie but ever since that initial kiss, I have felt like we have always known each other. It was as though God wrote Stephanie’s name on my heart prior to my birth and it was my mission to navigate myself through this crazy world until I found her. And once I did; it was like magic because when I kissed her for the first time, she took my breath away.
Stephanie is the most beautiful woman I have ever known. She is my best friend, she is my confidante, she embraces every single one of my wild dreams and she is my lover. Her smile lights up every room she enters, her laughter is music to my ears, and whenever she is in pain, my heart aches; wishing I could take her sadness away. My life is complete because of her and everything we have shared together.
And for all of those reasons and many, many more, I felt a sense of hope after watching P.S. I Love You because the truth is that life is fleeting. I don’t know how long God will grace me with the gift of life but in the event of either of us passing prematurely, I believe that the love Stephanie and I have for each other will live on in our hearts and our lives forever.
There is a part in the movie after Gerry has passed when Holly tells her friends that she was so hard on Gerry and her friends remind her that she was married, she was supposed to be hard on him. And in some respects that is true but there is so much more to those simple, every day encounters. I try and look past the mundane trivialities of our daily existence and embrace the beauty that these routine moments present for both of us because in those moments, I know we are making the most of every single day. We dance at second base on a quiet moonlit stroll, we sit under the pine trees and watch the rain, we take a detour to nowhere just to see where we end up, we frolic in the fantasy worlds of our children and sometimes, we just sit, holding hands and enjoy the silence.
I have spent years planning for the future, but what if that future never comes? I never wanted to face the stark reality that life is fragile and without a moments notice, it could all end. In P.S. I Love You, Gerry knew he was going to pass away and had the time to write ten letters to his wife to make sure she knew how he felt about her. In his final letter, he wrote, “…And for that, I am eternally grateful… literally. If you can promise me anything, promise me that whenever you’re sad, or unsure, or you lose complete faith, that you’ll try to see yourself through my eyes. Thank you for the honor of being my wife. I’m a man with no regrets. How lucky am I. You made my life, Holly. But I’m just one chapter in yours. There’ll be more. I promise. So here it comes, the big one. Don’t be afraid to fall in love again…”
I take solace in seeing myself through Stephanie’s eyes because her view of me has the ability to erase the world around me and remind me of what is truly important; our love for each other. I don’t know how many chapters of Stephanie’s life I will encompass. I may only be one or two chapters and then again, I may be the whole story. The length of involvement in the story isn’t what is important though; what is important is that when our role in the fabric of someone else’s life comes to an end, will there be any regrets?
If I died tomorrow, I have no regrets. Stephanie is the love of my life and I have given my heart and soul to her. My heart still skips a beat when I see her, I smile when I think about her, she gives me goose bumps when she touches my skin and she continually takes my breath away. She truly has “made my life” and because of that, I only have one thing left to say to Stephanie; Happy Valentine’s Day!
P.S. I Love You!