Reflections & Ramblings: Volume Thirty-Eight
WandaVision, Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and Everything, Everywhere All At Once — I’ve seen all these shows and movies in the last year and a half or so. They all deal with multiverses and their various possibilities.
I assume there’s been think pieces on the emergence of multiverses taking such a prominent part of our entertainment and storytelling during a global pandemic, where we have been wrestling with what “normal” looks like. We imagine alternate worlds and timelines without masks and without a pandemic and without all the deaths, soon to be one million in the United States.
I know my thoughts are shaped by these shows and movies and concepts, but I do think about all sorts of different possibilities in my life constantly. Just the other day I was thinking about one of the more traumatic things that’s happened in my life, the day Micah walked out of school in January 2021 and was found on a barely frozen lake near our home. I think about this all the time, every day. I think about how I live in the timeline, the universe, where he didn’t fall through the ice. I mentally run through the statistical likelihood of him falling through a half-frozen lake on a 45 degree day. In most of the timelines, he falls through. Somehow in this universe he didn’t.
Since my brother’s death and Micah’s near-death incident, I think about the inevitability of death throughout each and every day. How none of us escape it, it’s just a matter of how and when. I still feel a terror deep down in my soul from the day Micah was on that lake, but I also have this intertwined gratitude along with it, attached to it. And because of that, it feels like I have a daily duty to be grateful that Micah is alive today. It’s a feeling where the versions of me in some alternate reality, in alternate universes, they plead with me to recognize the anomaly of that day. The other versions of me still live in a deep grief because in their reality of that day, Micah slipped through the ice to his death. These other versions of me plead with me to be grateful for his life. And it feels like a responsibility to me.
I live with this every day. I carry it in my heart with me wherever I go. It makes my gratitude for his life feel heavy, though. And I haven’t found the words to describe it until recently.
Extremely minor spoiler from Doctor Strange 2 ahead, so if you are sensitive to that sort of thing feel free to skip this part.
In the second Doctor Strange movie Stephen briefly mentions that his sister died when he was young. Specifically, he mentions that she fell through the ice and he was unable to save her.
That was a strange moment for me in the theater because I was just thinking about Micah on the ice incident last night as I was going to bed, reminding myself to be grateful for his life. I think as I turned off the the light and put my head on my pillow I silently said the prayer, “Thank you for letting this reality be my timeline. Thank you that Micah did not die that day..”
End Spoiler alert.
Even though I am intrigued by the concept of multiverses and varying timelines, or that this universe is just a simulation, I think those are probably just ways for us to try and make sense of this world. Because all our days are built on chance and happenstance, and everything is happening within a construct that we understand to be time.
I went to see Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness with Lydia tonight. I love watching movies on opening day. We watched it in 3D, too. Interestingly enough, on this exact day ten years ago Sarah and I saw the first Avengers movie in 3D when we lived in Chicago. Technically, Micah was there, too. (She was pregnant with him at the time).
As we were driving out the of the theater’s parking lot I was thinking about what my brother’s reaction to the movie would have been. He and I both loved the original Dr. Strange, and we both loved discussing the concept of the multiverse and time travel and all that. I know he would have really enjoyed this movie, too.
It was fun for me to watch it with Lydia, though. She also saw the newest Spider-Man with me on opening day when it came out. That was a fun for me, too.
In movies, the death of loved ones always feel inevitable for some reason. Even with multiverses and time travel, they are events that seem to happen no matter what timeline you are a part of. Fixed events that can’t change. No matter how many times you try and go back to change it, the person always dies.
Sometimes as I tease out the idea of multiverses and differing timelines I wonder about my brother’s death. That fixed event concept haunts me. As much as Micah’s near tragedy feels like an unlikely variant reality that I’m allowed to live in, my brother’s accident felt like an inevitable event to me. I hate that I see it that way. It feels cruel to even write that out, but it’s what I feel, right or wrong. And I carry that in my heart as well. And that is very, very heavy for me.
These are the things that are on my mind today, for better or worse.