I thought my mom was dying, and my first thought after all of the brief and painful, “Was I a good enough daughter?” and “Did I do everything I could” thoughts was: My mother probably won't get to see Avengers 4.
I say Avengers 4 because at the time, we didn’t even know that Avengers: Endgame would ultimately be the name of the movie. We only knew that Thanos had snapped away half of the life in the universe and with the tumor found inside my mother’s person, it suddenly seemed like she would be a part of The Decimation too.
You couldn’t possibly know this about my mother, but she probably sees more movies than I do a year. It’s an embarrassing thing to admit as a movie news director. One of the best/worst days for my mom was the day she started to get the 60+ discount at our local AMC theater so she could go to the theater even more.
She was also a huge Stubs member from the beginning, even before AMC was touting Stubs A-list as the new “thing.” And lest this come off like an AMC ad, she often visits the local Showplace theaters too.
She may not get all of the Easter eggs peppered throughout the average Marvel film, but she loves Iron Man – her favorite Avenger—and all the Avengers, really. She especially loves movies with action and humor and Marvel checks all the relevant boxes for the perfect big screen romp.
She’s as tied into the pulse of movies as I am, and she has been following this MCU journey for 10 years. No matter how it plays out, Endgame will be both an end and a beginning within the MCU. As we waited for her official cancer diagnosis, the only thing I could hone in on and think about was that she was likely going to miss the biggest movie event since Avatar or maybe Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Before this turns into too much of a tearjerker, what we first thought was stomach cancer -- a cancer with a poor prognosis – ended up being Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It’s still not great, she’s lost her hair and some feeling in her hands and is sick and tired of hospitals, and probably sick and tired of being sick and tired of hospitals. But remission is the hope and the goal for now.
We didn’t know that at the time. In fact, before the final results were in we were told it looked like it could be a different type of cancer with a poor prognosis. We were all bracing for the worse.
And all I could think about was that my beautiful mother, my mother who’d sacrificed her whole life to send my siblings and I to better schools, my mother who made sure we were fed and clothed and still could play sports despite being halfway or all the way broke while I was growing up, was going to miss seeing the biggest movie event of the coming year.
Look: I get it may seem silly to get upset about my mother missing a movie when there were clearly bigger issues at hand. Regardless, sometimes the enjoyment we ultimately get out of life is related to what we're looking forward to, and for a really long time, ten years of our lives, the MCU has been building toward this. My mother being around for every step toward toward the finale and missing the finale itself just seemed unfair and inconceivable.
She was just rolling along on autopilot minding her own business and suddenly something as simple as going to the theater and seeing a Marvel movie seemed like a daunting deal.
I was going to have to go alone, and I felt like a little kid who reached up to grab her mother’s hand to cross a street, only to find it just out of grasp. It's not a comfortable feeling.
We spend our lives trying to keep up -- with pop culture, with movies culture, with celebrity culture and political culture and sports culture and music culture -- with all of the subsets that define us. Most of these topics don’t really matter in the scheme of things. But talking about movies in particular is how my mother and I communicate, how we get along. It’s how we show love and affection for each other, and seeing the movie on opening weekend will be the best endgame I could have imagined.