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Make Way for Tomorrow

January 2, 2012

It is not a title of my writing but of a movie–a 1937 film by Leo McCarey, a neglected masterpiece.  But it also feels fitting to borrow it as a new year meditation. As I greet 2012, I’d like to send my painting of an Iowa snowfield as a gift to Don and share it with you readers.

Iowa snowfield (by DSK-G)

On the night of Christmas, I turned on the television to see what treat I could find on TCM to help me fall asleep.  I found a little treasure, Make Way for Tomorrow. I had seen it once before, also on TCM. This time, however, it caressed my heart with such poignancy that instead of gathering tears in my eyes, I sat still in peaceful calm.

Barkley and Lucy Cooper, an elderly couple, are the main characters in the movie. They are losing their home to foreclosure and are split apart by their grown “children” because none of them has enough room (as they say) “to house both.”

Lucy was played by Beulah Bondi and Barkley by Victor Moore. They were supposed to be in their 70s in the movie but in actual life, they were both younger than that. Both were magnificent in depicting their 50-year life together, separated at the end of the long journey by their own grown children. They did not shed tears as I might have done. They faced the end of their lives with dignity, humor and love. The farewell scene at the train station did not attempt to make the movie a tearjerker but a loving gift for whomever watches it to meditate on life.

The movie made a quiet but forceful impact on me, a widow with no children of her own but tons of nephews and nieces, grandnieces and grandnephews. I went to sleep with a prayer that I stay healthy to be independent until my time to bid farewell to this earthly life. If a few of my blood ties rush to my deathbed, I will consider it a gift. If unexpected humane love and care come at the end, I will consider that a blessing.

I recommend that you watch this film by Leo McCarey (who, coincidentally, died at age 70 from emphysema, just like Don) and explore what impact it leaves on you, whether you are old or “children.”

Some may consider this is a movie for old couples, but it is for both the young and the old. I hope it will have even stronger impact on younger adults with aging parents.

I wish you good health that will keep you independent until the day of your departure.


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  1. Megan Ratner permalink

    The Shoulder Friends posts are very touching and such a loving tribute to Don and your special connection. I hope you draw many new readers!

    By the way, Make Way for Tomorrow is available on Netflix and probably at a local public library (definitely at New York Public Library).

    • Hi, Megan,

      I am deeply moved by your comments. I do not know how much of a tribute my blog is to Don but I do know that our connection was/is/will be always special.
      Thanks for that useful information about where to get Make Way for Tomorrow.

      With thanks and best wishe, Dai Sil

  2. Hi Dai Sil,
    I look forward to seeing “Make Room for Tomorrow.” It sounds like accepting, or “loving what is,” as Byron Katie says, is what the couple did, although I haven’t seen the movie. These days that’s what I hope for, that I can love what is, that reality is a gift to me, whatever it has in store for me,
    and I have to admit, loving what is, is not always what I feel.
    maybe in 2012 I will move a little closer to loving reality.
    All your posts speak to me, it’s a language I understand.
    You give us space. You open yourself up to being vulnerable.
    You encourage us to be vulnerable, to show ourselves.
    You are a gift !

    • Hi, Maryann

      You are so kind. I am so glad that my blog speaks to you.

      I also agree with you that we need to learn to respond to what is, rather than to what we wish or what we should.
      But that’s easier said than done. Nonetheless, no harm done in trying.

      If I am a gift to you, you are a gift to me.

      with thanks and love, Dai Sil

  3. oh no ! I wrote the wrong title.
    Sorry, I look forward to seeing “Make Way for Tomorrow.”

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