(Jessie sits with a minister-psychiatrist, Jim Loring, in his bright office.)
JESSIE: It’s like every promise ever made to me…about my life and the future…has been broken. I waited so long to have this child, and now all I think about are the things that will never happen. His graduation. The first girl he would have brought home. Then I think about the breakfasts I’ll never make for him again, the bedtime stories I’ll never read, the kisses, the good-byes…. (She’s beating back the tears.) I’m dreading Christmas. I’m dreading these next few weeks. I imagine him alone, in the cold, with no one to bundle him up, to protect him. I see…someone else’s…living child…and I just want to…. (She can’t go on.)
LORING: Have you talked about this with Sam?
JESSIE: He doesn’t want to hear it. He shuts those feelings down. The girls need him and if he starts thinking like that… (A breath.) One of us has to stay…together…and I… (A shudder. It spills out.) I saw Jamie. (A beat.) Sam doesn’t believe me. You probably think I’m crazy too….
LORING: You’re grieving. Grief is a sword, Jess. Parents talk about a sword in their hearts when they lose a child. Real physical pain. An emptiness they want to fill. They turn to God, they drink. Some people blame each other. Some…turn to the child who’s gone.
JESSIE: But he came to me. He’s real.
LORING: There are no ghosts, Jessie. Not in the way we think there are. You’re trying to fill a place that’s been emptied, and you can’t…
JESSIE: This is not my imagination.
LORING: Even if it’s not, you’ve got to shut him out. You mustn’t use him to run away from your pain, or the love you feel for Megan and Anna. Besides, no matter how real he seems, it’s not him. It can’t be.
(This is hard to take. But he’s planted a doubt.)
Jessie loses her little boy in a terrible accident. Her bottomless grief takes her to places she never dreamed possible.
I was asked to do a re-write on a Ron Bass script which Ron was unable to do due to other commitments. The story spoke deeply to me – about a grieving mother who’s lost a favorite child and who is unable to get on with her marriage and the mothering of her other children, something which my own mother experienced and which I suffered under myself. Marlo Thomas starred and Lee Grant directed. Both were very supportive and professional, and I feel the finished film turned out quite nicely.