I thought I knew what to expect. I know the story of Rapunzel. Only there were a couple moments that were really emotional for me that I wasn't really expecting. You see, Rapunzel was kidnapped as a baby. And every year on Rapunzel's birthday, the king and queen let off thousands of floating lanterns for their lost daughter. In memory and in hope that one day they'd see her again. There's a moment between the king and the queen, as they are getting ready to let go the first lantern. The queen, looking heartbroken and tired, looks up at her husband, and he can't look at her. He's got tears in his eyes and you can just see the pain in his face. And I started crying.
I know that pain. Of course, it's a little different since Cora died, and Rapunzel was kidnapped, so I don't really have the hope of her returning to me in this life. But in that moment, right then, it brought it all back. The missing my daughter. The grief that all you can do to parent your child is this small symbolic act.
Erin wiped my tears and told me it was okay, and I did my best to regain my composure. The movie went on to the climax, and I got back into it.
And then, at the end, Rapunzel returned to her parents. This was actually a harder moment for me, and I cried harder.
Afterward, as we were leaving the theater, I guess I was really quiet because Matt asked me what I was thinking. I think he knew. He knows how I react to things like that. Anyway, I shrugged and tears came to my eyes again, and the only thing I could answer was "They got their daughter back."
I believe in an afterlife. I believe I will one day have a reunion just like that, with all the joy and the relief, when I just get to hold her close and never have to let go. But it won't ever happen in this life. While I am alive, I will not get that.
And I can not describe just how much that hurts.