For the first time since it was released 12 years ago, I watched Titanic in its entirety. Up to now I had resisted, believing that I would feel too much pain as I remembered my own struggle to survive the Andrea Doria calamity of 1956. But now, as I am preparing the treatment (with expert advice) for what I hope will be an epic movie on the Andrea Doria affair, I forced myself to watch the Academy award winning film, written and directed by James Cameron.
Besides, I told myself, James Cameron told me personally that if I ate an onion and cried out all my tears, I could sit and watch the movie tearless and undisturbed. I guess I should’ve heeded his advice. I sat bracing the couch arms, hoping for the best—without an onion.
The beginning was factual and unemotional, giving me confidence to continue. Soon, the story began the flashback of a survivor’s tale. I knew it was going to be a tragic love story, having seen bits and pieces before. I fell prepared. But what ensued emotionally, took me by surprise. The love story drew me in with such intensity that I began to relive the loss of my husband at a young age: he was 35 and I was 33.
At this point, I didn’t need an onion to cry; I sobbed uncontrollably, not only through the rest of the movie, but an hour or so beyond. During the night I was plagued with nightmares dealing with loss. The next morning, I still felt weepy. I’m not sure if I feel more healed now or not, but I can say with certainty that the love story is a masterpiece! To think that I was able to transcend my fear of being shipwrecked, just so I could concentrate on my fear of loss and abandonment is astounding.
Nevertheless, during the survival scenes, I was transported to the horrific collision between the Stockholm and the Andrea Doria. As a topic expert, I couldn’t help compare and contrast the two shipwrecks: Titanic and Andrea Doria.
My next blog will reveal the similarities and differences that I observed.