I recently sat down with my son and daughter to watch Frozen. I realise we’re rather late as it was a Christmas movie, but at the time we weren’t keen to see it (going to the cinema was just not fun anymore). So I put it on as an afternoon distraction for us on a rainy day, not expecting too much.
I often relate songs or TV shows to Abi that bring back a specific memory of her, so I wasn’t expecting this new film to have much of an impact on me, only that it’s another thing that Abi has missed out on. The children loved it of course, but as soon as it started I felt my grief surface and had a bit of an ‘oh dear’ moment as I wondered if this was going to upset me too much to watch or if I could bite my lip and get through it.
If you don’t already know, the film is about two sisters… the older one is called Anna and is blonde (like Abi I thought) and the other called Elsa has brown hair (like my other daughter). The sisters were very close, but one day Anna was told she couldn’t play with her younger sister anymore as she had the magical ability to freeze things and make snow, which could harm Elsa. So, she locked herself away in her room for their adolescent years and refused to play with Elsa, the younger sister not knowing why she was being shut out.
Now, the story is of course not the same as mine, and I’m not usually sentimental when it comes to films where they lay it on thick, but the symbolism of the sisters bring prematurely separated tugged at my heartstrings (damn you Disney!). My daughter doesn’t seem to feel this loss yet, but I certainly do!
As well as grieving for losing Abi my firstborn child, I’m grieving for my daughter for losing the big sister who should be there for her – to play with, confide in, grow up with… I’m very close to my two sisters so I feel this loss on her behalf constantly, especially on family outings and gatherings where she now no longer has her sisterly friend to hang out with.
There is a scene in the film where the passing of the years is shown through a song in which Elsa repeatedly asks Anna to come out of her room to build a snowman with her. At first she sings with playful anticipation, but this gradually turns to melancholic acceptance that Anna will never open the door to her. The closing moments of the song always reduce me to tears as I think of the ‘door of death’ that is between my two girls now… knowing that Abi can never come back through the door. But yet, as cliched as it sounds, I do feel somehow that she will always be with her sister and believe that one day, when it’s her time, my daughter will be with her big sister again.
Now I need to find a way to get over this one, as my children want to watch it again and again… but perhaps it’s because they feel it too?