Jane Fonda was among the guests at Kerry Washington's weekend baby shower. It was a moment, one of many lately, that brought tears to her eyes.
Fonda, 76, writes in a long and thoughtful website note, titled CRYING, that she has been contemplating her age, her mortality, her emotions.
She began to wonder why photos, events and stories of all kinds have been getting to her?
"How come pretty things, kind deeds, sad stories, acts of courage, good news, someone's flax of insight, all get me crying or, at least, tearing up? The Fondas have always been cryers. My father once said, 'Fondas cry at a good steak.' My son and daughter are the same," she writes.
"But I find my emotions are way more accessible than they were when I was younger and I've come to feel it has to do with age. I have become so wonderfully, terribly aware of time, of how little of it I have left; how much of it is behind me, and everything becomes so precious.
"With age, I am able to appreciate the beauty in small things more than when I was younger perhaps because I pay attention more. I feel myself becoming part of everything, as if I bleed into other people's joy and pain. Maybe, without my being conscious of it, there's the reality that in a few decades (if I'm lucky) I will be in the earth, fertilizing some of the very things I look at now and tear up over."
She notes here that she has specific wishes when it comes to her death. "I'm not going to be cremated, uses up too much energy and gives off too many toxins, nor do I want to be in a coffin. Just dump me in a hole and let me morph into whatever as quickly as possible."
She goes on to say "I ache for unwanted children in the world, for polar bears, and elephants, whales and Monarch butterflies, and dolphins, gorillas and chimpanzees. ... I've listed sad things but what startles me even more is how I get emotional about nice things, like Kerry Washington's belly and her mother's words of wisdom and Elizabeth Lesser telling me about the new book she's writing. Maybe because I'm older my heart is wider open, like a net that wants to catch all the things that matter. .... "
But, she adds, her eyes are wide open, too, "so wide open I have to only wear waterproof mascara from now on."