Monday, November 29, 2010

Superb documentary about fallen British soldiers

I simply could not stop watching the documentary "The Fallen" which I found on the website Documentary

I knew nothing at all about it, except its powerful effect on me.

In this three-hour 2008 film, which you can watch here, every single British soldier, man or woman, killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, was honored.

We all wonder, How would I react if I were the family member of a beloved son or husband who was killed in a war.

I may be wrong, but nearly every person interviewed believes their family member died protecting freedom. What a comfort for them, unlike the Cindy Sheehans of America who lost children and are profoundly against these wars, as are most Americans.

Emails and cellphone calls are exchanged between soldiers and family members far away from the battlefields. One very loving father emailed his daughter how happy he was that at last she'd made a friend - it had been hard for her - and that he couldn't wait to get home and give a huge hug to his wife and daughter.

It was never to be. The man killed himself. We don't know why. This haunts me. Why? Did he despise himself for killing innocent people? Had he seen too much and felt too much and couldn't take it anymore? His daughter, sadly, could not forgive him. His wife blamed the military for not counseling him.

A few women were in denial that it was actually their son that was killed.

Made in 2008, most people still hope, in a corner of their minds, that their son will come walking through that door.

I remember feeling that way when my own father died. I was 34 and he was 59. In the winter, he used to pick me up so I wouldn't have to drive in the snow, but his phone call never came. I am not still waiting, however. After his death I did not laff for five years, such was my grief.

Today I love seeing fathers and daughters together. My own son, Dan, of course, with his Grace Catherine. And the neighbors with their children.

A question I often ask myself is, Is it possible to enjoy life when we live in such a troubled world?


  1. A sensitive and provocative post, Ruthie.

    I believe that it is not only possible, but that it is imperative to enjoy life as much as possible in order to create sense and purpose of the ongoing troubles and suffering we see and feel in this world.
    I also believe that it is this very suffering that opens up our consciousness and expands our compassion. We can transform our grief and pain and heal from it and when we travel through the journey mindfully, we can find the resiliance we need to meet the challenges of life. It's not easy but our choice is to drown in the suffering we see and let it take us, or to grow from it and transform it in some way that is unique to each of us.

    May I ask permission to reprint your post and this response on my own blog? What do you think? Please email me if that appeals to you in any way.

  2. yours is a truly fantastic comment, iris! go forward, lady. it's something we all want to dialogue about.