The To Write Love on Her Arms movie , a Sony pictures film, has been out a little over a year now. Today’s post is the second in a two-part series answering the most frequently asked questions about Renee, her parents, David, and the movie. You can rent or purchase it from Netflix, itunes, Amazon, twloha.com, or Walmart online. The movie deals with sensitive subjects: addiction, mental illness, self-injury, suicide, and sexual trauma.
For individuals who struggle with self-injury, counselors recommend they watch it with a supportive community and make time to talk and process about it afterward or it can trigger them.
Part 1 of this series was posted on Wednesday, July 6th.
Were there any other hobbies besides music that helped Renee cope with her inner pain?
Yes. Sports. She was always an athlete from the time she first started playing soccer at age 5. She, her brother and sister all loved soccer. Renee played on her school team all the way through high school. This sport was a great outlet for her troubled emotions. In middle school she played on every team they offered (soccer, volleyball, basketball and track) and won the coveted all-sports award in eighth grade, a feat not many could attain (although I like to brag that her sister, April, accomplished the same thing that year as a sixth grader!). Her dad and I never missed a game unless we were sick.
It’s really great; our bond is strong, loving, and emotionally healthy. Each of us has healed a lot and reconciled our differences. Once Renee began her journey of recovery, things immediately improved. We all had a lot to learn, though. My husband and I knew nothing about addiction or recovery. Fortunately, our relationship with her (her dad’s and mine) was never as strained as the movie makes it appear.
Did you really refuse her to come home before going into treatment?
No. It was actually a mutual agreement for her to move out when she told us she wasn’t “done”. Renee had gone to one rehab already. Our insurance covered most of the cost and we helped with other expenses. We set a strong and clear boundary by telling her if she needed rehab again one day the cost would be her expense. She’d have to want it badly enough to figure out a way to pay for it on her own. That’s the reason twloha t-shirts were designed and sold.
No and yes. In reality, they’d met six months earlier, the night before she went into her first rehab. Renee had gone to our church young adult service for some encouragement. That evening they “happened” to interview David – a former addict whose life had been miraculously transformed. No coincidence here. They were introduced to each other afterward by a mutual friend and that was the beginning of a friendship that would carry her through some of her darkest days. David was a true friend who loved Renee and supported her relentlessly.
What was our relationship like with David?
There were a few more scenes in the movie that didn’t survive the editing process that would’ve shown more. We loved David with a passion because of how he helped Renee. She might not have survived without his intervention. He became like a son to us over the eight years we knew him. Many days he would call to ask how we were doing, inviting us to meet for coffee to catch up with each other. And David was always honest when he was struggling with his own demons, but was always full of concern and love toward us. He said it was because he knew how much he’d put his own parents through, so he wanted to be there for us.
What an amazing young man. We loved him dearly, imperfections and all. It’s difficult and bittersweet for him never to have seen the movie’s release. He wanted to produce something that would make a difference in the world of recovery. To give hope.
I think he did.
*Do you need more encouragement today? If so, please sign up for a free subscription to receive emails from me – one, three or six days a week. Look on the homepage of our website.
And if you’d like to read the story the movie was based on click here.
This is one of my favorite Scripture verses when I need encouragement the most:
“Now may the God of hope fill you with joy and peace, as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).”