~~June 3, 2014~~
I remember when I first saw this movie. It touched my heart and soul to the core. The one that really stirred my feelings was the first part.
By this time, I already had accepted my reality. I was “different”, I knew that I was gay. I was still trying to sort out what to do with my life and was considering what the future would bring.
A couple walks out of the theater in disgust at the film, and a group of kids laugh when they see Edith and Abby holding hands.
Later, at the home they have shared for 30 years, Abby falls from a ladder. At the hospital, the doctors tell Edith that Abby may have suffered a stroke.
Edith spends the night in the waiting room and in the morning she learns that Abby died during the night, and none of the hospital workers informed her after it had happened.
Edith telephones Abby’s nephew, Ted (Paul Giamatti), to tell him the news.
Before Ted and his family come for the funeral, Edith removes all traces that they were a couple. She makes it look like they had separate bedrooms and removes photographs of the two of them together.
At the house afterwards, Ted and Edith talk about the fact that the house was in Abby’s name. Although Edith contributed equally to the mortgage, she legally owns no part of it.
As Alice packs up Abby’s belongings, Ted tells Edith that he would consider letting Edith staying in the house and paying him rent.
Edith tells him that Abby would have wanted her to stay in the house, as that was what they always talked about.
Ted eventually tells her that it would be better if he sells the house and she finds a place of her own although he says that he’ll wait till she finds a new place before putting the house on the market.
The family leaves, with Ted telling Edith that he will be in touch in a couple of weeks to discuss what she is going to do.
The reason this section of the HBO movie touched my heart is because I saw myself in it. I wasn’t getting any younger.
It’s a law of life that we age and harbor the hope of being together for a long time.
It made me wonder what would happened if either one of us would pass away.
This part of the movie is set in 1961. I was only 11 years old at the time.
However, at that time, the sentiment for LGBT couples wasn’t anything to what it is today. It was something you kept in “the closet”. It was a secret to be ashamed of.
Surely there were no legal protections afforded to couples.
I saw how unfair, hurtful and difficult a time like this could be for a lesbian couple.
We are very much aware of the advances that are happening for LGBT couples. There’s marriage equality in 19 states, there are medical benefits for partners in some LGBT friendly companies. The accepting and tolerance for this “lifestyle” has significantly increased.
However, there is a huge section of our society very much against these advances and trying very hard to undo what has been done.
To this day, my partner and I, have visited a lawyer and have all our legal documents in order.
They need to be updated every so often to reflect changes that have taken place in our lives and families.
Will and final testament
Power of attorney
Visitation rights at any hospital
If These Walls Could Talk 2 1961 Part 1/5
If These Walls Could Talk 2 1961 Part 2/5
If These Walls Could Talk 2 1961 Part 3/5
If These Walls Could Talk 2 1961 Part 4/5
If These Walls Could Talk 2 1961 Part 5/5
In the end, we don’t know what happened to Edith.
Aside from the huge emotional loss of her partner of 30 years, it seems that she lost all financial stability, her house and the belongings that the couple had gathered through a full lifetime.
We sure hope that at this moment in time, such events are less common. And we surely don’t want to think about the unthinkable.
However, provisions must always be taken to prevent others, not designated, from making decisions about medical care, funeral arrangements, inheritance, financial stability or living arrangements.
These topics should be talked about, managed and legally documented to prevent unplanned situations at a time when we are most vulnerable.
I hope that this helps in future planning.
We ALL are ONE