Grief is relentless, and although it is possible to find healing, it takes time and a plan to get there. Until then, the only way to survive it is to get a tiny break from it from time to time.
Your heart can only take so much so intentionally planning moments of relief is essential to any healing journey.
Distraction from your pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you pick a healthy way to do it.
One of the safest ways to experience temporary reprieve from your pain is a few hours spent vegging out to a light-hearted movie or TV show.
After Aubrey and Ellie died I watched the same movie over and over as a means of stepping away from my pain for a bit and getting lost in something that DIDN’T remind me of how hard life is and how sad I felt.
It was the only way I could carve out time guaranteed to be safe from emotional triggers.
It’s important, especially in the early days of deep grief, to choose movies that alleviate pain, not trigger it, so stay away from dramas or true stories. Choose movies with story lines that have nothing to do with the heaviness of life.
Here are five movies I watched on repeat during my deepest grief to temporarily divert myself from my pain in a healthy and beneficial way.
- Music and Lyrics – Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant have great chemistry in this silly depiction of a washed up singer given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for an aspiring teen sensation. Though he’s never written a decent lyric in his life, he sparks with an offbeat younger woman with a flair for words. The characters are funny, the music is catchy, and it depicts the 1980s so well. Add the uplifting ending and it was a pure, and much needed, distraction from my grief.
- The Devil Wears Prada – Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep star in this fashionable story about a smart but sensible new graduate who lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine. The movie is full of all the things in life that DON’T trigger grief like beautiful clothes, shoes, and a trip to Paris for fashion week. And it’s funny!
- Clue – Made in 1985, this star-studded film feels a bit like watching a play. It’s brilliantly written and acted and made me laugh out loud during the worst time of my life. It’s inspired by the board game of the same name and depicts six guests anonymously invited to a strange mansion for dinner, but after their host is killed, they must cooperate with the staff to identify the murderer as the bodies pile up. It also has 3 different endings to keep you guessing and NOT thinking about your pain.
- 50 FIrst Dates – Like all Adam Sandler movies, there are a few inappropriate things in this movie, but it still made me laugh my head off and nothing helps you get some distraction from your grief more than complete silliness. The story follows Henry Roth, a man afraid of commitment, until he meets Lucy, who he thinks is the girl of his dreams until discovering she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the next day. The movie is also set in Hawaii which is just lovely and an added post-loss distraction factor.
- Friends – This one is a series, not a movie, but it provided me endless relief after Aubrey and Ellie died. It was hard to dwell on my pain watching Joey do commando lunges in all of Chandlers’ clothes or hearing Phoebe sing “Smelly Cat.” I still use it to temporarily escape the stresses of life one twenty minute episode at a time.
What movies or shows did you watch to get a little relief from your grief?
Send an email to Rachel@thegriefgal.com. I’d love to know.