I went to the theater last night to see Joseph and His Technicolor Dream Coat.
My youngest was the stage director for this production (her first paid theater job). Andrew played Benjamin in this show about 5 years ago. This was the first show I’ve seen that he was in since his death other than the opening night of “Texas!” in May. (I expected to cry through “Texas!” for obvious reasons and because this season was dedicated to the “Texas Angels”.)
But WOW! I did not expect last night to be so rough.
I went alone as Ron is out of town this weekend. But it had been a great day and I was feeling fantastic. I have been to this theater so many times that I am comfortable going there alone. I thought I would go and just enjoy a fun night seeing the show Margaret had helped with. I had a great seat – seventh row on the aisle. I planned to move to the back of the theater for Act Two due to the song about Benjamin. But I but would enjoy sitting closer for Act One. I saw lots of friends before the show and was having a great time…until the music started and the curtain went up.
The tears began flowing the moment the overture started and I heard the tunes of two particular songs, both of which they had sung at the memorial. I knew that Andrew had played Benjamin. I was prepared for the Benjamin song in the Act Two to be hard, but I forgot about another song in Act One, “One More Angel in Heaven”.
I was not prepared for both tunes to be part of the overture. Silly me!
When the overture played, images of him dancing and laughing ran through my mind. I smiled. And the tears flowed. I let them flow. I thought I was going to be okay with just a fear quiet tears. But into Act One, the characters came out in western wear singing “One More Angel in Heaven” and I lost it. I found myself quietly sobbing. I knew my sobbing was about to get louder, so I got up and left the auditorium. I NEVER leave in the middle of a show! I think it rude to do that. But it would have been more rude to sit there sobbing and sniffling and blowing my nose.
A few folks saw me in the lobby and asked if I was okay. They did not know me, but when I explained that I was Andrew’s mom, they both said they had family in the cast and had heard about what a great guy he was. They each hugged me and said nice things.
After I pulled myself together, and after that song was finished, I went back in and sat by the rear exit. I left during the Benjamin song in Act Two as well. Once again I sobbed in the lobby, pulled myself together, and then reentered the theater.
For the rest of the show, I sat in the back and let the tears quietly run down my face while I smiled, laughed, and enjoyed a great show.
It was a great show! I laughed and smiled and enjoyed myself, even with the tears ruining my makeup.
I am glad I went. Really, I am. The actors were great, vocals were great, and the new sound system was great. And of course, the stage managing was awesome!
After each show, the cast comes out and greets people in the lobby. I hung around and said hi to friends, congratulated the cast, and told Margaret how proud I was of her. Many cast members who had been in the show with Andrew mentioned him to me and talked of how difficult certain scenes were the first few run-throughs. Some mentioned how surprised they were that I had made it through the show. I am glad I went.
A few things I learned or was reminded of last night:
- I am not done grieving and may never be.
- Grief will hit me in the gut sometimes.
- Grief may hit me hard even on fantastic days after a fantastic week when I am feeling fantastic.
- I should had thought it through more and sat in the back from the beginning.
- I must keep more than four tissues with me at all times.
- I am not done wearing water-proof mascara and need to buy more. (I am almost out and thought I was done with it.)
- Andrew is still remembered by many people. Cast members who had done the show with him mentioned him after the show. They came up, hugged me, and told me how special it was to be doing this one again.
- I am grateful for dear friends like the man who played Joseph (and saw my sobbing in the lobby) who are willing to give me a hug while I cry (even while in costume) without asking me what’s wrong or trying to make it better by talking. He just hugged me and said, “I am so sorry”.
- I am not yet ready to see shows that Andrew was in. Not yet. At least not alone.
- I am not the only one who cried through those two songs. Or through other songs. My son was, and still is, loved.
- I should not try to do hard stuff for the first time when Ron is out of town. Or at least, I should wait to do those things when I can call him before I go to sleep and have him encourage me that I will survive.
- ALWAYS look in a mirror before going into Market Street late at night.
- I should never go grocery shopping at 11:00 pm after sobbing through a two hour show. I LOOKED HORRIBLE! Red, puffy eyes with mascara smeared all over. The cashiers probably though I was just another crazy old woman, drunk, buying bananas and yogurt before bed. (i was not drunk, I just looked it.)
- God’s grace is sufficient even to get me through a great show without my son. Even through sobbing. Even through laughter. Even through late night shopping trips. Even through coming home to an empty house. God’s grace is now and always will be sufficient for me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Cor 12:9-10 (NIV)