It turns out two horror flicks--no doubt, TERRIBLE horror flicks--have a sibling theme. The Friday the 13th remake set to open, yes, Friday the 13th, features a man searching around Camp Crystal Lake (site of Jason's massacre) for his long-lost sister. I don't know any more details than that, but she must have been one of the randy counselors that so offended Jason's sensibilities. The other is called The Unborn, and features a young woman haunted by her unborn twin, who'd like to take over her life, thanks very much. Talk about sibling rivalry. (I'm guessing my friends at Twinless Twins aren't going to be too fond of this one.)
I've always said that there's an unspoken genre of sibling loss movies and books. But this is the first time I've noticed it in the horror genre. I wonder if there are others. Anyone?
I just started doing the Open to Hope Foundation's sibling loss blog. Click here to see a new post on the subject of disenfranchised grief, i.e. losses that, for one reason or another, tend to be overlooked and/or ignored. If you're on this blog, you won't be surprised to hear that sibling grief is often disenfranchised.
(The picture, incidentally, is Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People, one of the best sibling loss movies, ever. I don't think he's actually all that disenfranchised in this movie--he's managed to call his loss to people's attention, though I'm not going to spoil it by telling you how. But his mom, played by Mary Tyler Moore at her icy best, just doesn't get it....It's all about her.)
Not long ago, I got off a plane in Phoenix and confronted the words “Ted is Here,” painted on a pillar in bright orange. I almost cried. Ted, I realized, was the name of a budget airline. But it was also my older brother’s name.
My Ted died of an immune disorder 27 years ago, when I was 14 and he was 17. His story, along with that of another boy in Texas, were merged in the movie “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble.” (Which my family did not authorize.)
Like most people who’ve lost someone they love, I’ve always wanted him back, or at least present, in some way. As a kid, I wished for a spectral sighting. As a young adult, I sought out psychics and mediums, one of whom once instructed me to ask Ted to give me signs that he was still present. Once, I asked Ted to show me a clown. Two days later, at a coffee shop, I looked up and realized I was sitting under a clown mural. My elation was short-lived, however. Had Ted contrived it, or had I unconsciously found myself a clown?
I’m not making a case for the supernatural here. But seeing that “Ted is Here” sign gave me the old I-see-the-clown feeling again.
This blog, which I’m launching on May 27th, the anniversary of Ted’s death, is an invitation to those who knew him—and those who didn’t—to share their thoughts and memories about the Ted they knew, or the Ted they imagined. Hearing about him, knowing that others are carrying a bit of him around with them, is another way of keeping him present. Honestly, I’d like that much better than seeing a clown.
I’ll also be posting thoughts and commentaries on siblings, sibling loss, families and grief—subjects I have, not surprisingly, become interested in. And for those of you who’ve read my book, The Empty Room, which tells my story and those of others who’ve lost siblings, I welcome your thoughts and messages.