After returning home from FSU with Cullen on April 27, 2012, he stayed with us that weekend before leaving to study in China. Cullen went to Mass with us at HNJ, then expressed a desire to stay late for a Eucharistic Adoration service that Fr. Tony was having, with music by Sarah Kroger. Cullen remarked that she sang “like an angel.” Afterward we all returned home.
Cullen always wanted me to stay up late and watch a movie, and I typically declined because I was up very early the next day for work. Agreeing this time to do so, we proceeded to dig through DVDs, looking, of course, for Napoleon Dynamite. I remarked that it was too bad we had just returned a movie the rest of us had watched earlier in the week, because when we were watching it I remembered thinking that I knew he would enjoy it. Anyway, Noah thought that although it hadn’t been available as an instant download that perhaps it would be now that we had watched it – I was skeptical, but upon checking – there it was – “The Way.”
Emilio Estevez directs his father Martin Sheen in this story of a man’s “final journey” with his son, discovering what he had meant when he said, “You don’t choose a life Dad, you live one.” This is the story of walking “The Way of Saint James,” with a few glimpses of the pilgrim’s experience as they walk the 500 mile “Camino de Santiago.” The journey climaxes as the group enters the Cathedral of Santiago, each surrendering the burdens that they have attempted to carry alone.
After the movie ended, the two of us sat together in silence, until the music and credits ended. I started to engage, “Well … ” Cullen interrupted, “Of course I’ll walk it with you, but I gotta finish my master’s degree, so we’ll do it in two years. We agreed and hugged goodnight.
I’ve read many reviews of the movie, and heard lots of people comment on it. No one understands the depth of the message and foreboding for us. Watching that movie was the last thing I was to do with my son. He left me the next day, and I would only see his beautiful face once more; in a box rolling into the Chinese crematory.
I leave on my 500 mile, 30 day Camino de Santiago on April 16, 2013.