Last night I watched the movie The Judge with Roberts Duval and Downy Jr. The synopsis said it was about an attorney who has returned home for his mother’s funeral and ends up having to defend his father (The Judge) in a murder trial.
I sidled up to what I thought would be a great court room movie. I wasn’t wrong, but there was much more I loved about it than that.
There is obvious tension between Downy Jr.’s and Duval’s characters. The small town judge and big city attorney seem to have some differing opinions on how to approach the law, first of all. Further into the movie, you discover that there was some delinquency in Downy’s past which Duval has never really forgiven or forgotten.
There is one scene in particular where Duval says some hurtful things that results in Downy Jr. speeding away in his car after claiming ‘I won’t be back.’
Scenes like this are in a lot of movies. The tortured father/son relationship is unfortunately common, and probably not just in Hollywood.
One year ago today, I flew into Eugene from Indianapolis because my dad had been rushed to the hospital and things weren’t looking good. By the time I had landed, the battle was essentially lost. He was still with us, but there was no saving him.
I’ve thought about my last moments with my father a lot this year, and especially this month. After seeing that film, and in particular that scene, I have some thoughts that are giving me some peace.
First of all, had I come back to Elkton and worked on the vineyard with Dad, while the fantasy seems ideal, I’m sure it would have had it’s challenges. Working with Dad could be tough, especially as I grew up. My stubbornness might have even surpassed his own, so the two of us could have spent a lot of time butting heads. I highly doubt it would have ever really harmed the relationship, or ended in a scene like that with the Roberts (above), but the opportunity to say regrettable things would have been much more of a possibility.
I think this is mainly justification for the loss. Of course I would much prefer learning directly from him and having him around for many more years. Unfortunately, he had to get going. It’s still hard a year later, but I’m trying to find some peace in his passing.