In case you’ve been living under a rock the past few years, the NBC hit, “This is Us” is one of the hottest shows on TV. The brilliant writers of this show have managed to tug at the heartstrings of every viewer who watches this show every Tuesday night (with a mandatory box of tissues by the couch). From dealing with substance abuse to how families deal with grief, it has managed to tap into our hearts and tug at the emotions that lie deep within our souls.
Sunday night’s episode revealed what many of us have been wondering for the past two seasons: How did Jack die? As I watched with anticipation, the scene where Rebecca was told that Jack passed took me right back to the worst day of my life on April 29, 2016. My mind went right back to the moment I was told my husband passed: disbelief, denial, shock, and grasping at every possibility that the person who told me the news was wrong. It was like looking in a mirror on that horrible day. The shaking, the weakness at the knees, the collapsing on the floor was everything I felt and more. It’s so hard to hear that a loved one has passed, let alone that one person who completed every single move you made in life.
Last night’s episode was no different (in fact, it was even more emotional for me). Jack’s character reminds me so much of my husband. You see, we could have written our own hit television show. Jack’s character and the love he had for Rebecca reminded me so much of the love we had for each other. Even though our relationship and situation were very different, it was so much the same in a lot of ways. My late husband came from a broken home and beat the odds to become a hard-working, successful man who always provided for his family. He knew what it was like to grow up with adversity, so he made sure his children were loved unconditionally. He embraced every moment in life and enjoyed the simpler things like smiles on our children’s faces, creating unforgettable memories on family vacations, and making sure that we all knew that if we just looked at the good in life everything would be okay. The hardest part of losing someone so close is that your world feels like NOTHING will be okay. We have the notion that because the worst happened to us that the worst could happen again.
As I look back on the past 22 months without him, I realize that everything WILL be okay. Life does go on, the kids become older and wiser and the pain lessens with every day that passes. Ironically, it’s the pain that keeps us going. Grieving IS painful. But it’s also such an enormous comfort because grieving brings up memories which are the glue that hold our broken hearts together. I follow Chrissy Metz (who plays the character of Kate on “This is Us”) on Instagram and one of her quotes that she used the other day spoke volumes to my heart:
“When we don’t know which way is up, together is the only place to be.”
I thought about this for a bit and I reflected on last night’s episode when Rebecca doubted herself that she could be the one who’s strength keeps her family together. The days when I thought I couldn’t go another second with the pain I was feeling were the days that I reached deep into my soul and powered through. Nobody tells you (as a grieving mother) that you have an obligation to make sure that your children continue their lives knowing that life DOES go on and that everything WILL be okay. They don’t tell you that your children see your pain (every ounce of it) and that they worry about who is going to hold you up when they need holding. My children have been my lifeline on the days when I feel lifeless. I don’t take one single second for granted anymore and I find myself embracing every moment I have with them now. I do my best to give them advice that I learned from my late husband, and I live my life based on the lessons he taught me about grace, integrity, patience and kindness. It’s amazing how much unwanted pain brings so much wanted and needed love.
If you haven’t watched the show I highly recommend it to feed your soul. Even if you haven’t lost a loved one, the show touches on so many emotional facets of life: Drug addiction, foster parenting, adoption, sibling rivalry, relationships, and so many more glimpses of life that don’t come with directions, just life lessons that teach us how to put it all together.
I’d like to thank the actors for putting their heart and soul into each character, and I’d like to thank the brilliant writers and producers that have made this show a weekly tradition in my household. With all the hatred and uncertainty in this world, this show truly defines the meaning of hope, grace, faith and most of all, love. This show works because everybody goes through pain in their life. Everybody has family issues, whether they are big or small. Everybody has that one moment of nostalgia that brings them back to a time they yearn to be back in again. Everybody wants to be a part of an amazing love story like Jack and Rebecca’s love for one another. Everybody has felt unwanted, judged, unloved and invisible to the world, at least once in their lives. What better way to embrace that than a show that touches on our perfectly imperfect lives? “This is Us” actually means “This is Everyone.” Feed your soul….I guarantee it will be worth the hour every week.