Bereavement, Entertainment, Grief
Comments 13

Inside Out- A Bereaved Mother’s Review

INSIDE-OUT-18Yesterday, we had one of those Sundays when we were too tired to get into the car and drive somewhere so we decided to go and watch the Inside Out movie instead.

I had heard loads about it and read various reviews, especially by bereaved mothers who had found it brilliant and I was curious to watch it and form an opinion myself.

The plot is deceptively simple: a little girl, a life changing move to the big city, the emotional turmoil that follows, all seen from inside out, through the prism of her emotions: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger.

But the movie is far from being simplistic in the message it tries to convey: emotions make us who we are and that by trying to repress one or another, we end up ruining our whole system of reference and risk to become emotionally dead, like the little girl does, for a short while.

As bereaved parents, we watched the movie through the lens of our loss, of course.

We heard things that made sense to us, in our grief, things that the non-hurting individual watching the movie might as well have passed as good punch lines or just wee jokes. To us, those things have been reality for the past year and a half.

We saw in the desperate attempt to push away Sadness from any position of power or authority in the internal system, for fear of “contamination”, the very same lame attempts to “prettify” life people approached us with when Georgie died.

Sadness is not a welcomed emotion in our society, the movie seemed to say, and its place has been declared to be a circle, a chalk sign on the pavement, from which Sadness cannot reach, nor contaminate us.

Only, the thing is, Sadness did seem to have a pretty big role in Life, as reality would have it. Joy, as much as we would love to have it in our lives as a constant, is simply not the only emotion we will ever experience in life. Life is much more complex than that…

For a while, Joy and Sadness get lost in the mayhem, when the major events of moving home and state take place and the following loss of identity occurs.

For a while, other emotions are left in control, like Fear and Anger and Disgust.

Oh, I recognise them all so, so well…

I have lived them all, at the highest intensity, since I lost my boy.

You have all been my witnesses and judges: I have been angry, I have been fearful of the future, I have been disgusted with people’s reactions and the way society denied me the right to feel all these negative emotions and speak about them openly and honestly.

I know too well that even now, after so many months of pouring my guts out and trying to educate people on what grief really feels like, I am still being judged as:

  • the nevrotic
  • the church wrecker
  • the messer
  • the bold one, and not in the good sense of the word
  • the unsympathetic
  • the big mouth
  • the lunatic.

My husband still gets told, even to this date, that I should be kept in check, that I have no consideration for the “holy”, that he would be better off without me…

It takes a kids’ movie to convey a BIG truth: that emotions need to be felt, that people who are hurting need to be allowed to feel those devastating emotions, that Joy and Sadness take the back seat when an emotional tsunami hits and that the only way, the ONLY way for the sanity to return, for that healthy balance of Joy and Sadness to be reinstated is to face those emotions and let them, for a while, for as long as it takes, reign.

It is not pleasant to see, it is not “holy” as people have declared holy to be but guess what? It is the only way to return to normality in the long run and it is, dare I say, the healthy way to face devastation. Reaction, no matter how dramatic it is, no matter how angry or fearful or annoying aesthetically or socially, is the only way to show that life is still streaming through the system.

I have been told I am stubborn in my grief. That I am unforgiving. That I like to wear it as a shield.

I have chosen none of the above myself.

I have followed the river of sorrow, I have ridden it as it came, angry and flooding my values and senses and my core being. I have done grieving in the only way it can be done.

Now, after all what used to be has been burned to the ground, now that there is nothing left of my former life, now that my emotions are spent, now I can start rebuilding.

The movie gave me hope, as in the end, all emotions had learned to coexist harmoniously and in the background, new memories had taken shape and the internal world was orderly again. A new order. A new world.

I know that I am on the brink of a new life myself.

I have felt the change come over me and although anger, disgust and fear still play and will continue to play a big part in my daily dealings with life, I do feel that in the background, Joy and Sadness have made a pact, to co-exist and draw strength from each other.

Have you watched the movie? What were the deep messages you got from it yourself?


  1. Oh Oona I’m so sorry for the comments you get. I would like to say I’m surprised but I’m not. Some people just don’t understand… well, rest assured they will one day. I saw the same as you in the film and it was a great comfort in that sense. Much love x

    • Thank you, it does hurt at times to realise that no matter how raw or honest I will be with people, some will simply never get it. But then, there are people like you who do and for me, this is the greatest comfort and motivation to keep being me.xx

  2. I never failed to be amazed at your strength, honesty and truthfulness. So often we try to hide or real emotions because it’s not seen as being Christian yet Jesus felt a range of emotions which shows that it is not only acceptable to feel but we are not while unless we feel the whole range of emotions. Take care and thank you again for your words of wisdom.

    • Of course Jesus did feel all these emotions too but somehow, down the line, we managed to forget that. We made being a Christian all about fake Joy and heaven to the extent that any other emotion makes people uncomfortable in church. It is a Faith that looks to me more like denial than anything else. In doing all this the church has actually shut itself out of real life and has become incapable of dealing with any real emotion and has, at this moment in time, no valid response to genuine pain.xx

  3. I absolutely loved the film but as soon as it was over I wanted to watch it all over again as I felt that I couldn’t grasp everything just by seeing it once – you have explained it very well.

  4. Oana, it breaks my heart to read some of the things that have been said to you and Alex. Your comments about our emotions are part of our personality are so true. My “emotional self” certainly causes a stir at times! You continue to be who YOU are!!
    The conclusion of this blog is so positive and you are right emotions do live together and the balance of those and how they are expressed makes us who we are. You Oana are on a journey no one else is on and you have the right to be YOU!
    Your blogs are so inspiring and honest … Take care and big hugs sent with this xx

    • Anne, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment here!
      Yes, people can be so cruel when their perception of the world is shaken in the slightest! Poor Alex has had to sit and nod through all sorts, as they don’t have the courage to come and say these things to my face, I wonder why, lol!
      All we can do, as bereaved parents, is continue down this path we were put on and do our best to recreate a resemblance of normality which encompasses pain and loss and joy, all mingled together in a big mess of emotion.xx

  5. diaryofuem says

    As a non bereaved mother who is close friends with a bereaved mother (19 years since her son’s passing) it’s really interesting to read this. I’m really shocked by the comments you’ve had, I always thought being a Christian required compassion.

    I think it’s great that this film has been made, as someone who suffered depression I was really excited to hear that they had made a kids film talking about emotions, it’s a step forward in the world I feel.

    Only you can know and understand how you feel, and only you will know when the time is right to move on to the next “phase” of grief, of life, of living.

  6. Gwen Harrison says

    Through your beautifully written words I am learning at 58 yrs old how my mum felt when my brothers twin died at 6weeks old 53 years ago. I feel so comforted by your words that help me to understand the tradegy that she carried with her everyday. Thank you Oana for your honesty and sharing it with someone like me x

  7. Oana, I have not seen the film but will aim to do so thanks to your review. I am shocked and saddened by the comments and hurtful things you and Alex have had said to you. To be going through the hardest thing in life anyone can have thrown at them and for people to judge you so harshly and unfairly is just plain wrong. I am not religious but thought god’s teachings were supposed to be about compassion, love, understanding, emphasizing with others and treating others as one would like others to treat oneself. NONE of what you have said above sounds at all like these people are being at all Christian. I can only imagine they have never felt the pure love a child brings into a mother/father’s life!

    Sadly I feel that we live in a society where we are discouraged from displaying or talking about our emotions as it is seen as being weak. Children need to know and understand that they have emotions, that it is ok to display them and talk honestly and openly about them, for the sake of their future and sanity!

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