When I was young, I saw the film adaptation of the  play ‘Night, Mother by play write Marsha Norman. My own mother was very adamant about getting me to change the channel on the brown cable box. She didn’t want me watching stuff about suicide and death even though by this point I already buried my dad years ago and decided in my mind his death was of his own making. There fore, I felt I was more than well versed in suicide and death.

I also remember thinking it odd my mother knew what the play was about. I never took my mother for a very into the arts type of woman and it surprised me. Of course, in my house the TV was in the living room and she was probably watching the TV behind me in the dining room.

As a child of the early tweens (I think I was 12), I was very disturbed by the play. I was so angry at the daughter for telling her mother she was killing herself that night and the mother couldn’t stop her. How incredibly selfish I thought of the daughter to tell her mother her plans and not even give her mother a chance to help her daughter! Also, how horrible for the mother to know her daughter’s intentions and having no way to stop it. I thought then that was the worst thing a person could do to another person.

I still think that today.

I don’t know what goes on in a person’s head when they think they are justified in telling us how they intend to harm themselves and then leaving us no way to help them. The daughter in the play told her mother what to do even after she pulled her father’s gun to her head and shot herself. She asked her mother for old towels and garbage bags so she could put them all down and make it easier for her mother to clear the mess after her body was gone.

I ask, how does any of that make it easier?

Sure, these are all nice, practical things. But what about the emotional scares that will never heal? How does knowing your daughter is in the next room ending her life and you can’t stop it make things easier?

The whole time I was reading the play (and watching it as well) I thought somehow the mother would get to stop her daughter. It is such a hurtful and tense play I can’t imagine seeing it performed live. At least with a movie you can change the channel or a book can be closed. But a live performance?

My hat goes off to Marsha Norman for writing such an emotional charged play.

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