A long overdue post, but I can’t run away from this one forever.
I’m a big fan of reading about true-to-life horror stories. I research stories on America’s worst murder cases, read about cult massacres, and enjoy gruesome news bits in small doses. There was one story about the post-traumatic-stress-disorder that the friend of my mom’s went through that stands out to me when I think of Grace. It goes like this:
Woman X had married an older man, Mr. X. They lived together for a few years, along with his dog in their big house, and like most women, marriage was not enough for Mrs. X. She wanted children. Mr. X, feeling past his prime, and having already had children, didn’t feel the need to have anymore. “My dog is my child, now” he told Mrs. X, firmly. A year later, Mrs. X was pregnant, to Mr. X’s surprise. Obviously, she had been tampering with her birth control, but the pregnancy did not last long. A few months into her term, a miscarriage occurred. A few months later, the dog died- which devastated Mr. X more than the miscarriage. What Mr. X didn’t know, was that Mrs. X had purposely stopped feeding the dog- her “post-traumatic-stress-disorder” caused her to starve it to death because she was jealous of the attention it was receiving.
This story strongly reminds me of the turbulence of emotions that Madeleine experienced after the death (and resurrection) of her daughter. I simply cannot imagine the connection a mother feels to the life in her womb, but if it leads her to hurt animals, and (more commonly) herself, it freaks me out enough to reconsider having children!
I’ve always been both inspired and confused by the power of “a mother’s love.” Present in countless literary pieces, such as Albom’s For One More Day, Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns, and more popularly, Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the love a mother has for her child has been described to transcend life itself. But it’s a bit different in Grace. Madeleine didn’t die to protect her child, instead, she urged her child to life even when she was already dead. The love she had for Grace wasn’t the selfless kind, in fact, it was quite the opposite. It was rooted out of self-pity and desperation, to prove her own mother-in-law wrong, and to prove to herself that she was capable. Although seemingly innocent and somewhat pathetic, her love was corrupt.
Laced with disturbing images of bloody cattle, cut-up breasts, and open-wounds, Grace is actually just the sad story of a woman who loved her daughter to the point of obsession. It’s ironic, because the monster is both the innocent child who doesn’t know what harm she’s doing, and the lonely mother who desperately wants to give and receive love.