Rita Wilson: ‘I still have conversations with friends that have passed away’

Rita Wilson is a producer on the film A Man Called Otto, which stars her husband, Tom Hanks, in the titular role. I adored the book on which it’s based, A Man Called Ove (I haven’t seen the Swedish film). The trailer for the Hanks film gives me hope that they’ve done it justice. Rita wrote a song for the film, that plays during the credits called ‘Til You’re Home. The song is inspired by our loved ones we rush home to tell about our days. In the story, Otto talks to his deceased wife, mainly at her grave. It’s his only friendly relationship until a certain point. Rita said that, like Otto, she doesn’t think the conversation has to end after the person dies. She said speaks to her deceased parents and friends as well.

Rita Wilson believes in keeping the conversation going long after someone is gone.
In fact, the 66-year-old producer and singer’s new song “Till You’re Home,” for the movie A Man Called Otto, was inspired by the notion.

“Well, it sort of was inspired because when my dad died, Mike Nichols, who was our friend, said, ‘the conversation continues,'” she told PEOPLE at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere on Monday. “And that idea that even though somebody’s not in your life anymore, that I still have conversations with my parents, my friends that have passed away.”

Wilson’s song caps the credits to the movie, which she produced. Her husband Tom Hanks, 66, stars in the film as a widower who is contemplating ending his life, before a friendly neighbor steps in and changes his perspective about family and home.

“David [screenwriter McGee] and I sort of thought about this idea that when someone’s out for the day and you can’t wait to get until they come home so that you can tell them about your day, that sort of was the inspiration for that,” Wilson added about the idea behind the song. “But also that maybe home was a place that was a spiritual home.”

[From People]

I almost always talk to the person I’m visiting at a graveyard, even if I’d never met them. I’ll introduce myself or apologize if I accidentally step on a plot, too. That’s just common curtesy. But I’ve also talked to people or pets that aren’t with us anymore. I don’t know if they can hear me, but I find it comforting, like Rita said.

The part about being out for the day and wanting to go home to tell your partner about your day made me think of my grandma. After my grandfather died, she told my mom that one of the times she missed him most was when she’d be out and something small would happen. It wasn’t enough to call someone to tell them, just enough to mention to your partner when you got home and you’d both have a chuckle over it. I hadn’t understood her loneliness before that, but I think of it all the time now.

Photo credit: Cover Images

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24 Responses to “Rita Wilson: ‘I still have conversations with friends that have passed away’”

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  1. Julie says:

    Both my parents died early. My father before 60, exposure as a first responder. My mom, 11 years later at 68.

    While I was planning Mom’s service, I found myself reaching for the phone, to let her know I got the catering settled, etc.

    I have internal conversations with both.

    • Dee says:

      Lost my dad this year. I always want to give him a call! My dear aunt, when she lost her husband told me she still spoke to him.she thought she was crazy. I told her it was normal and I was glad to hear she did.

      • heather says:

        I lost my husband and my mother 7 months apart. The number of times something silly and trivial happens and I think to call/text one of them is tremendous.

        My husband died very suddenly at home of an undiagnosed heart condition and I had to leave our house. I kept thinking I heard the front door and would get excited to see him. It’s a profound loneliness that isn’t understood until it happens to you. Most can (and do) empathize but once you experience it it’s a club you just don’t want to be a part of.

  2. SomeChick says:

    I do this. 💜

  3. Mustlovedogs says:

    The original book ‘A man called Ove” and the Swedish film of the same name , are simply beautiful, moving, inspiring, and well worth a read/ watch. I hope this does them justice. Also I do it too. Speak to them. Ask them stuff. Tell them stuff. My sister, my parents, my close and sweetest friend. They are not here. But they are. Around us. Within us. x

    • SarahLee says:

      I agree. They are with us as long as we remember them, honor them, love them. I lost my mother when I was 21 years old – nearly 40 years ago. There are times to this day when my first instinct when something happens it to want to talk to my mother. So, I do. I like to think she knows or is with me, and I know that I feel better after one of those “talks.”

    • Grace says:

      Loved that book! And I talk to my dad too..all the time, and he’s been gone for three years. Totally normal!

  4. Tulipworthy says:

    Count me in as one who still talks to loved ones who have passed.

  5. C says:

    I do. I do believe in an afterlife of sorts although not one affiliated to any particular religion. I know that sounds weird, lol.

  6. Cerys says:

    Talking to someone who has passed away can be very comforting.

  7. FHMom says:

    I talk to my deceased father all the time. I’ve had some very vivid dreams about him, too, where he walks in the same stilted way he did a few months before his death. His mannerisms are on full display. I find it very comforting and sometimes go to bed hoping for a “visit.”

  8. Flower says:

    I do this. My bestie from school passed away when we were just 19 and it hurts till this day.

    I talk to her and think of her often and the life she would have had. Her family escaped Vietnam as boat people and she was an amazing semi-pro Hockey player amongst other things.

    I still see her mother and sister from time to time and it hurts.

  9. HeyKay says:

    Thanks to CBers for these comments.

  10. what's inside says:

    This!!! Love never dies and as long as they are in your heart, the conversation continues particularly in dreams.

  11. AnneL says:

    My father died eight years ago and I still feel like he’s here sometimes. I admit he feels a bit less present than he did just two years ago, but he’s still there. And I definitely talk to him, at least in my head. And he talks to me. Especially when I’m gardening.

    This looks like a good movie.

  12. laurie says:

    Love love love that book! Bought multiple copies for friends and family. Looking forward to the movie.

  13. Tigerlily says:

    When my dad passed at age 86, 12 years ago I was devastated. He’d had some health issues: angina, kidney problems & diabetes but he covered so well. And I & my sisters were in deep denial. The week after he passed I kept busy helping mom/sisters with funeral arrangements. At the funeral I was numb. I comforted one of my dads former employees and stayed with my mom a few days. Then back to work.

    I was so fortunate that for the next year or so my dad regularly visited me in my dreams. A friend who’s more familiar with this type of thing called the dreams ‘visitations’. They were a huge comfort to me. In one of them as we ‘visited’, my dad was surrounded by all the dogs he’d known that had passed (my sisters’ dogs, my granddaughters dog) & kept saying to me: ‘There’s so much love here.’ My sisters & granddaughters were happy to hear that their deceased pups were with him. His regular visits kept me going and they’ve tailed off but I know he’s there for me and I definitely talk to him.

  14. C-No says:

    I absolutely still talk to my friend who died in Iraq. He also visits me in my dreams… the most recent one, I forget the context, but he was like “you just have to be patient.” And I was like “Sure, easy for you to say — you’re dead!”

  15. angrypineapple says:

    Loved, loved the Swedish film! I watched it on a flight and just cried and cried. My poor traveling partner had to guide my emotional self off that plane!

  16. MangoAngelesque says:

    Do Scientologists believe in spirits and the afterlife? She may be literally trying to talk to thetans or whatever…

    • Ameerah M says:

      Rita isn’t a Scientologist.

      • MangoAngelesque says:

        No? I’ve read for years that she is, and a cursory Google glance says the same…

        If not, my mistake. But I know I’ve heard/read that she’s involved with CoS for quite a while 🤷‍♀️