Ch.182 Dangerous Territory: Watching My Name is Otto

Ch.182 Dangerous Territory: Watching My Name is Otto

January 2023

             I mentioned to my daughter Jenny that I was interested in seeing Tom Hanks’ new movie My Name is Otto.  She warned me that there was a scene at the cemetery and asked if I was prepared for that. I told her I believed I was ready (I had read the book –a Man Called Uve- which was light-hearted with a touch of sadness). I anticipated watching a “Night at the Museum” style movie starring Ben Stiller. I forgot that Tom Hanks is not Ben Stiller. I did decide to attend the movie with others, so I went with my friends Judy, Ed, and AnneMarie.

          I don’t want to give the plot of the movie away for those of you who haven’t seen it. But, if you are in a grieving process, be aware there are several scenes that focus upon grief and grieving, both well- and poorly handled. These scenes are handled artfully, not overblown, but that only makes them feel more familiar and realistic. And, as Ed noted, really the entire film is about the grieving process.

          Frankly, the movie was painful to watch. I teared up on several occasions, both when scenes reminded me of good times I had with Pat and when they triggered feelings of emptiness in my life since Pat died. It helped that I was tucked in beside my good friends. I knew they would be concerned for me and ready to support me both during and after the movie.

Based on my experience I would say that “A Man Named Otto” is a “Don’t do this alone” experience for anyone in early grief. I am glad I decided to see it, though. I certainly don’t want to avoid situations that make me feel sad. There are too many of them. I think I’d end up totally isolated and seriously depressed if I did. My personal hope is to fold my grief into my new life. I am a widower; I will always be a widower; But I am also a whole human being ready to experience the world.