I recently completed the game Death Stranding, which won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but I really loved. There is one thing quite interesting about it though. Without going into the whole plot, it’s about the worlds of life and death getting intermingled so these ghost like figures start being on the earth. In order to be able to sense these beings, people, including the main character Sam (as portrayed by Norman Reedus) wear BBs (Bridge Babies) on their suits. That’s because they say this is the age where they straddle between the world of the living and the dead. These bridge babies come from “still mothers” or mothers who are braindead, and, it specifically states in the game, they are taken out at about 28 weeks (which is true for Max as well). So, the BB-28 in the game reminded me a lot of Max! They even look alike (though I think that’s true for most babies). It didn’t make me sad or anything, I actually liked it.
The Leftovers on HBO ended up being one of my all-time favorite shows and the best meditation on grief I’ve seen in TV or movies.
The third and final season of it concentrated on the upcoming seven year anniversary of “The Sudden Departure”. The seven year anniversary has particular importance to various communities in the show, with a great importance put on that number. What will happen on the seventh year? Will everyone come back? Will another rapture happen?
Now it’s seven years for Max, too.
Does it get easier? Well, does what get easier? Life? No, no it doesn’t.
Things change. You change. The world changes. You make decisions. You move further down the path. New things, both sad and wonderful rise to the surface. But no matter the forks in the road, trace it back and it comes back to that fork. That change. That thing. No matter what happens ahead of that, it’s there and it will always be there.
After five years I thought I’d know everything there was to know about the gifts Max brought into my life, yet each year I’ve continued to grow in new ways that tie back to those beautiful 16 days we had together.
2012 was all about resilience, 2013 about empathy. 2014 came and went and with it, the return of peace. In 2015, I got incredibly honest about what I wanted from life.
And yet, since Max’s last birthday I’ve realized yet another and it’s my favorite one of all…love. A capacity to love that I thought was reserved only for Max. A boldness to love completely: in spite of impermanence, in the face of uncertainty, and perhaps most importantly, without fear. If there were just one gift I could keep with me forever, this depth of love for my family and friends, old and new, would be enough.
Some strange coincidences with Mad Max Fury Road.
A. It comes out right at Max’s 3 year Bday.
B. It’s awesome like Max.
C. When Max wore his mask in NICU, I compared him to Bain, played by Tom Hardy, who ended up playing Max.
And yes, watching Road Warrior on repeat in college is one reason I loved the name Max. The warrior Max.