“I shall stay until the wind changes.” Mary Poppins
What does Poppin’s crisp pronouncement mean to you?
Brittany and I watched Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins over and over again when she was little.
We always loved the way Mary handled Mr. Banks. He would bluster about, shouting orders and directions and Mary would pay him no heed. At one point in the movie, he asks Mary Poppins to be good enough to explain “all this”. Mary returns the question with a statement of her own. She says she’d like to make it perfectly clear and that is that she never explains anything.
In many ways Mary Poppins became a role model for me and my daughter. Mary represented something unusual to us. A Disney female character who was at heart a feminist. She was graceful and well-mannered but strong-willed and independent. I’m sure you’ve all noted that she didn’t worry about taking Bert with her when she opened her umbrella and moved on to her next gig.
Mary knew when it was time to leave. In fact, her sense of timing was impeccable. When the parrot head on her umbrella tried to argue that he knew how she felt about the children she clamped his beak closed. She announced that she will not let sentiment muddle her thinking.
On November 1, 2014 in Portland, Oregon and on July 24, 2016 in Ojai, California two young women adopted Mary Poppins’ clear-eyed, practical approach to leaving those they loved. They did not let others muddle their thinking. They, like Mary, sensed a change in the wind and so they planned their own departures.
I like to think of Brittany Maynard and Betsy Davis sailing off to new adventures. their umbrellas carrying them where they are needed next.
Much like the prim Mary Poppins, “death” doesn’t explain anything. Certainly, not on the earthly side of the equation. In the article below, written by Betsy’s friend Kestrin Pantera, Kestrin says, “Death has no answers, it just holds up a mirror and asks who you are and who you want to be.”
The winds are changing. Something is brewing. Americans are asking for more say in how their last days play out. I, for one, don’t think the subject is going away.
If you are interested in reading about Betsy Davis’s beautiful life and brave departure I recommend the following two articles:
My little Mary Poppins, Brittany Maynard.
Photo by Donna Ziegler