Tuesday, March 30, 2010


My son is fascinated with zombies.

He loves zombie movies, zombie books, zombie video games, zombie songs and he has a zombie poster in his room. He knows the Zombie Survival Guide inside out. He knows the dialogue from Zombieland. And he is a killer shot in Left Four Dead.

He posts the lyrics to George Romero Will Be At Our Wedding (by Showbread) on his facebook page. To make Spanish class more personally relevant, we looked up the Spanish word for zombie once. (It's zombi in case you wondered.) If I want to see him smile, all I need to do is show up with a new zombie book from Barnes and Noble.

Zombies. Zombis. The undead. The living dead. The walking dead. A zombie by any other name will stench as strong.

I see a direct correlation with my son's zombie habit and our home, unfortunately. We have our own personal zombie problem. And I don't think we are the only ones who have this issue.

The last zombie movie I saw was Fido. In this movie, society has made peace with the zombies among us. The main plot involves a little boy and his small family. He is an only child and lives with both parents. He wants a zombie for a pet. (In this movie, zombies can be controlled by an electronic collar they must wear at all times. It deadens their desire for human flesh. Properly contained, they make great pets, servants and we find out later, even lovers.)

Dad has been traumatized by zombies early on in the Z Wars. Both of his parents became zombies and he had to kill them in order to survive. Ironically, the only thing you could call a passion in his own life is to avoid the fate of becoming undead. By that he means to avoid literally becoming a zombie after death. Living like a zombie, i.e. as an emotionless shell of a person, he finds preferable to processing his pain and moving on with the living.

He obsesses about having enough money to ensure that his head (and the heads of his loved ones) can be buried separately from their bodies at death. It is pretty much all he talks about. It is all he aspires to. Meanwhile his living family, who is very much wanting to experience life while they ARE still alive, get ignored.

The mom wants to dance and laugh and be loved. Dad is not interested. The son wants to play catch and have adventures and be loved. Dad is not interested. Dad is only interested in hiding inside his emotional cage, the locked entrance visually alluded to by the paper he holds upright over his face when his family is trying to talk to him.

Like every other passive aggressive person in the world, the Dad resists emotionally bonding with his family. He refuses to dance with his wife. He changes the subject when she tries to talk to him. He is too busy playing golf to spend the afternoon with his son. Every one else in his family is inviting him to share life, but he is not interested.

Linking passive aggressive personality disorder (I just learned this week that it is actually a personality disorder) to zombies is not my original idea. It was explored in Sean of the Dead to great comic effect. It is the main theme of Fido. But when I finally made the connection, it seemed like en epiphany to me. (Writing that sentence made me laugh at myself. Laughter is good.=)

Of course my son is obsessed with zombies! It makes perfect sense. He has lived with one for many years. A shell of a person, the living dead, shuffling through life not feeling or having any emotional interaction with the people in his life. He looks human. He moves and makes noise. But he is not alive in the same sense that the rest of us are alive.

I am guessing, since Fido and Pleasantville and so many other movies have been made pointing out the damage of cutting off our emotional selves from our daily experience of life, that a lot of people in our society must suffer from this malady. I personally am not one of them, I am delighted to report. I can not imagine how horrible it must be to live emotionally dead inside. I have great pity for those who have become crippled in this way.

(I do have my own issues, though. Also in yesterday's reading, I find that daughters of NPD mothers without fail choose emotionally unavailable partners. Yes, I was attracted to my man specifically because being rejected by and irrelevant to a person I loved felt so normal. Oh vey. Will my mother's shadow ever leave me?)

That's pretty much where my thoughts about PAPD and zombies ended. I felt sorry for the critters. It's a sad place to be. I wanted to coax them out of their shell of a life. Specifically I wanted to coax my husband out of his shell of a life. I devoted my whole life to this job. I took a vow to never waver from this purpose.

But there was a very important aspect about zombiedom that I was overlooking.

Zombies will hurt you.

Zombies want to destroy you.

Zombies want to make you undead like they are.

Yikes. I don't know how it is that I missed this. In my zeal to bring healing and experience life with my personal undead, this truth completely escaped my attention. Yesterday's trip to the abyss jerked me awake to this reality.

Yikes, indeed.

In the movie Fido, everyone gets what they need or want in the end. The Dad is killed in a zombie outbreak and gets the fancy funeral that he always wanted, with separate head burial. His son and wife finally get the husband and father they need. Ironically, this of course turns out to be Fido himself, the zombie with the collar who first became part of the family as a pet.

I hope everyone in my family winds up getting what they need and want. I hope my husband finds healing for his emotional traumas and can live life fully alive. That's what we all want. My son, my daughter, myself, we all want my husband to choose Love and Life. New mercy every morning. =)

If we can't have that, I hope we all get what we need. We need to be loved, to have enough, to have dreams and accomplishments and companions who will enjoy the journey with us. I want that for each of us, however and wherever we can find it.

I love my children and I am so sad for all the pain they have been through in life. I once hoped that the happy moments, the nurturing moments, the joyful moments would make up for the unhappiness of our zombie problem. I see now that those are separate things.

Happy moments are to be celebrated for what they are. They are not integers however, with a positive canceling out a negative. They are more like a collection. You keep the bad and the good both. And if something in your collection is rotten, the whole thing stinks.

So my dear children, if you ever read this, know I am praying that the Lord of Love will clean out all the rotten moments in your memory collection. I am praying that His grace will wash them clean and make something good out of them somehow. I am praying for healing for the hurts that have come your way. I love you so much and only wanted good for you both, though I failed in providing that many times. I hope you will forgive and find freedom and live life fully alive!

And if my husband ever reads this, I pray you will find healing. I pray your desire to come out of your undead shell and live life fully alive will be STRONGER than your desire to protect yourself from pain. I pray that you will open your prison doors and let all your grudges go free. The rotten little rascals make dangerous pets. They turn on you, you know. I hope that you want this NOW, with me, MORE THAN ANYTHING (including the safety you think isolation brings) and not later when it might turn out to be so late that it doesn't include me. I really wanted to live loved with you.

And for myself, may my desire to live loved, to live life fully alive, never waver and never weaken. May God heal my hurts, be my strong tower of refuge, provide me with all the opportunities and provisions I need and write one beautiful adventure out of my life. I give it all to you, God of Possibilities.