J.K. Simmons accepts the Best Supporting Actor statue at the Academy Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles. In his speech, he told the audience to call mom and dad.
“Call your mom. Call your dad.”
That simple call to action from J.K. Simmons went viral during Sunday’s Oscar telecast.
“Call your mom, everybody,” said Simmons on the air. “I’m told there’s like a billion people or so (watching). Call your mom. Call your dad, if you are lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet. Don’t text. Don’t e-mail. Call ’em on the phone. Tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you.”
Tapping his hand over his heart, he concluded, “Thank you, Mom and Dad.”
Incredibly, some people actually chose to negatively and sarcastically respond to his heartfelt speech. Even in the beauty of JK Simmons’ empathic and genuine life lesson learned, some chose to dismantle it into some 20 seconds of reflected fame and 140 characters of cynical disdain.
Today, we can be blocked, disconnected, deleted and dismissed. It is easy to be callous and careless, when you have one or two parents still alive. For all the emancipation and estrangement, a parent welcomes (except for unusual circumstances) an adult child’s attempt at communication and reconciliation.
You are blessed to be someone’s child.
Losing a parent hurts, even when you are older in years, because your heart never forgets. The person who used to tell you that he or she is proud of you is gone. The source of your personal history, and witness to it, is no longer there to be your cheerleader or sounding board.
Having experienced three losses so close together, I understand that feeling of grief and mourning. We continue to talk to our loved ones, but we cannot hear their replies.
Simmons told the Detroit Free Press that his Oscar comments were spontaneous and reflect what he’s learned since losing his father, who died in 2012, and his mother, who passed away in 2014.
“That sort of just fell out of my mouth, and it’s because I am a parent, because I loved my parents deeply and they were such wonderful parents and role models and we lost both of them in the last couple of years,” he said by phone. “I think it’s one of those things you can’t know until you know, like having a baby. You can’t know what it’s like until it happens. I had a wonderful relationship with my parents, but you can’t know what it feels like to be an orphan. Even if you’re an orphan when you’re 59 years old, you’re still an orphan. And it’s hard, so I want people to appreciate what they have.”
Make the most of the gifts that you have been given and recognize that it is, indeed, a gift.
Let those whom you love know just how much they matter ~ and come to appreciate the value and wisdom they carry.
Thank you JK Simmons for your life-affirming message, and your empathy, to turn your singular moment into one others could share and learn from.
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