I’m reflecting on the passing in recent weeks of a wonderful actress and phenomenal woman Helen McCrory. Star of stage and screen, she was a radiant spark of light and will be much missed. I’ve been reading some of the tributes to her and it’s clear that she carved an indelible mark in people’s hearts. When someone leaves the body at a young age, it makes us reflect on the transience and purpose of our lives and what really matters when all is said and done. Could it be that our purpose is to live our own highest truth and to go deeper into that truth, living in such a way that you leave a legacy of love in your wake?
Helen McCrory has certainly done that!
Wonderfully authentic and humane, her highly nuanced depictions of a broad range of characters revealed an extraordinary luminosity and intelligence. From the fabulous Polly Gray in Peaky Blinders, Claire Dowar in the Bond movie Skyfall, Cherie Blair in the movie ‘The Queen’, Narcisa Malfoy in the final three Harry Potter movies to name a few. She also triumphed at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, London, in a powerhouse performance depicting the multi-faceted Grand Dame Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare’s Epic play Macbeth.
I never met Helen personally, yet I have a wonderful impression of her spirit through the media exposure from her illustrious acting career. She always seemed to me to be great fun, with a quirky sense of humor and a sexy feistiness that the most interesting women have. Deeply open and vulnerable in her art and fearless in exploring the flawed imperfect embodiment of the most interesting characters. She never compromised these authentic characterisations in performance, for mere commercial convenience.
I’ve been moved to see some of the tributes to her in the media over the past weeks. The most touching of all is in the words of her husband Damian, a fellow actor and well -known star of the highly successful Television Series Homeland. The way he describes Helen, the woman with whom he shared his life and the parenting of their two children, shows the measure of the extraordinary woman that she was and the enduring legacy in her personal and professional life.
I wonder if we are not also stage -players acting in this grand theatre called Life?
When we are born, we are assigned our character along with the fellow actors who will share the stage with us. We have to play out the roles assigned to us from our very first breath to the last. Our Divine stage director gives us our entrance and exit cues and when it’s time for us to leave the stage of Life, the curtains come down as the lights abruptly fade on our physical life experience. There is no possibility of returning for encores, however celebrated we might have become.
Our Heavenly Director calls out ‘Cut” from behind the scenes and it’s all over!
None of us know exactly when our last act will play out, so, it seems to me that the game of life is to live in love and truth with a profound sense of openness, authenticity and completion, that has us be ready for our final departure call from this mortal coil at any time. We must be ready to say our goodbyes, to gracefully leave the stage feeling completely at peace with our worldly performance and the realization of our higher purpose.
That is a life well lived!
As I look at what’s being said about this wonderful woman, Helen McCrory, I admire the quality of empowered femininity that she brought to her work and her life. This was the phenomenal strong, sassy femininity of a self-assured woman who speaks for what’s right. A Woman who dares to be heard, dares to be different, and who dares to be herself. This is the ultimate success in Life, to live true to who we really are, beyond the mere characters assigned to us!
Before she left the body, she spoke with her husband and children, about the importance of continuing to love, and not to allow their hearts to become shut down in the face of pain and loss. She told her children not to be sad because she had lived the life she wanted, and she was happy. Wow! How many people can say that! What a gift she has given them to face life without her, filled with the essence of such unconditional love and the uncommon wisdom of non-attachment.
Such a level of raw courage is extraordinary! It is a courageous recognition of the importance of this brief time that we have from our date of birth to our date of death, a precious gift in parting. Life is merely what happens between those two dates!
We need to make it count!
I’m sure her star is shining brightly in another firmament and her presence through the body of her work and the hearts of her loved ones and fans everywhere, will remain a gift that continues giving.