Last night, I went to see Les Miserables with three dear friends and one new one. I had been anticipating this movie and was excited to watch all the big name actors do their stuff and sing. I have never seen any of the other movies or had any exposure to this story, so little did I know it was so full of suffering. The story follows several characters through the times of the French Revolution, highlighting their struggles and, for most of them, chronicling their deaths. I was amazed that I, in my hormonal and always-on-the-verge-of-tears state, didn't cry when I watched Fantine, hallucinate her daughter, Cosette's image and die crying out to her and worrying about her well-being. I didn't shed a single tear when a small boy not much older than Malachi was shot and killed by the French soldiers for taking up the Revolution's cause. I just shuddered when Javert through himself from a bridge because he felt so badly about his past.
I thought I might make it through the entire heart breaking story without crying, until the last scene. One of the main characters, Jean ValJean, the man who sat with Fantine when she died and promised to care for her Cosette as his own, saw that she was to be well taken care of by her soon-to-be husband and snuck away to a convent to die alone. The newlyweds, on their wedding day, found out where he was, rushed to his side and pleaded with him to hold on because there was still so much for him to live for. As they begged him not to go, Fantine appears to Jean and comforts him as he dies and makes his transition to his afterlife. Although his daughter was weeping at his feet, Jean was not scared or sad because Fantine was with him. I cried and cried, but not for Jean ValJean or even Cosette.
I wept for my Natalie.
I know that Samuel and I were with her when she died. I held tightly to her body and Samuel grasped her finger the moment she latched onto his in her struggles to breathe. We cried when we realized she was slipping away and I whispered in her ear, "It's ok, Jesus is waiting for you." Watching the movie I wondered, did she have her own Fantine? Was an angel there adding to my thoughts in her ear, "Yes, He's just over there!"? Or perhaps Jesus himself was there stroking her cheek saying, "I'm right here dear child. Come to me." I like to think so. We know that she felt no pain as she went to Jesus, but I often worry if she was scared. But then I remember how peaceful her face was during those few moments. I did not feel her body tense up in her struggles to breathe. She didn't even furrow her eye brows like she had when she'd cry. She just snuggled in, held Daddy's finger, locked eyes with us and left. Jesus had to have been with her, I just know it. I'm thankful He isn't too big to comfort a dying infant and her family and that He ushered her straight into Heaven and into His warm embrace. I can't wait to meet her again and snuggle with her as she tells me the "Jesus" side of the story.