Thursday, April 30, 2015

Grey Days

I don’t have time to watch much television, but I do enjoy movies of all kinds, and there is some pretty great television out there these days too. I just have to pick and choose - there is so much, and I’m too busy living life these days to spend too much of it staring into the idiot box…but still, I do look forward to those down times, those few hours a week I take for myself, to zone out and tune into to the fictional lives I’ve allowed myself to become attached to. 

I watched more when Mike was alive. We were both huge geeks and never missed anything Star Wars or Lord of the Rings or Indiana Jones or Marvel comics…as an avid archer, he devoured the Hunting Game books and was looking forward to the two final movies in that series, but he died before they came out. I have yet to see them, or much else that has come out in our batch of favorites since he died. It’s just no fun without him, and when I see ads for them it makes my heart hurt. 

His favorite books were the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon…we read the entire series together (the second time for me) and turned a lot of other friends and family on to it. We speculated heavily on the casting for the TV series we knew was coming; alas, he didn’t make that one either (or her last book, for that matter). This series I have been watching though, with my dear friend Cheryl, who read the series at his excited recommendation. She happens to also be a widow, so she relates to everything going on with me quite a bit, and since she knew him she also gets how much Mike would have been geeking out at the whole thing. So I’m immensely grateful for that, but it’s still bittersweet.

Mike and I also loved watching a lot of classic films - it was he who introduced me to The Thin Man and the Marx brothers, among so many others, which became some of my all-time favorites. He did amazing impressions and was constantly entertaining me with his Cary Grant, Kathryn Hepburn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, you name it…his Paul Lynde had me in stitches almost from the day we met.

That all said, I still had my personal guilty pleasures…shows that were mine and mine alone, which he had no interest in and in fact refused to share. I get it. I do love me a good soap opera - always have. I still remember that tiny old black and white TV I had in my dorm room in the 80s, so glued to General Hospital in the days of Luke and Laura that I even scheduled my classes around it. So when Grey’s Anatomy started up over a decade ago now, I was hooked…and never left. I have seen every single episode, I must admit.

The night Mike died  we watched part of To Catch a Thief which happened to be on TV, one of his favorites. Then he had gone to bed early, as he usually did, and I stayed up to catch up on my Grey’s, as I often did. I remember watching two episodes, then putting the dog into his room with him before I turned in (we slept separately, due to his terrible snoring). I remember the dog jumping on his bed, and noticed briefly that he didn’t stir…but didn’t think much about it. I figured he was just sleeping hard; we’d had a long day, and I wasn’t really surprised. The next morning, when I found him still in that same position, after waking up to a dark and quiet house and no hot coffee…that moment was a shock that will live with me forever. He was already stiff and blue, so even though the coroner put his death for the 17th, I will always suspect he had that heart attack pretty soon after going to bed that night on the 16th…when I was blissfully unaware, watching my Grey’s Anatomy. So needless to say, this last episode made my heart hurt for a lot of reasons.

If you watch the show but are not caught up: Spoiler alert.

McDreamy is dead.

The writers killed off the character that I had grown to love…a character who had come to terms with his marriage and family; the character of his wife, Meredith, was a personal hero of mine…strong, smart…I watched their fictional relationship develop, ebb and flow for so long. So when this character died last week, I sat there, stunned, tears streaming down my face…

I know it’s silly. I know there is so much real horror and heartbreak out there in the world…but, these characters had just become dear to me, somehow. I always looked forward to spending an hour a week in this alternate universe…and now, he was gone.

For a few days after I vowed I’d never watch the show again. I felt devastated and abandoned by these writers. But now, I think, I will watch, to see how they write the newly widowed surgeon dealing with the loss. I wonder, if it will be relatable. I wonder, whether they will portray the grief in a way I can fathom. I wonder how this series will deal with the widowhood of its main character.

However unimportant it all may seem in the great scheme of things, I’ve been haunted by everything I’ve written here this week. The night Mike died; all the hours we spent together enjoying watching TV; all the things I can’t watch without him; if I hadn’t been watching Grey’s that night could I have found him earlier? Known there was something wrong? Could he have been saved?? Was it my fault somehow? Am I a bad person for still watching that show, and feeling sad that a fictional character is dead? Why does it bother me that much? And why can’t I stop thinking about it?

I have no final answers, this week. It’s just…it’s just another week on this planet, another one without Mike, but with all the bits and pieces that make up the experience I’m still living, all the good and the bad.







13 comments:

  1. It is coincidental that you wrote about Grey's Anatomy today. I have never watched the show and therefore don't know the characters. Of course, I have heard about McDreamy and did hear about what happened last week. I decided a few days ago that I would PVR tonight's episode because I wanted to watch how they portrayed his widow and what she has to go through. Who knows, maybe I will even get hooked. After reading our post today, I am even more curious to watch it.

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    1. Who knows; maybe it will be something worth watching. I guess we'll see. Thanks Ruthie!

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  2. Stephanie, you and I have exchanged notes. As you will recall, my husband, Rich, died in his sleep at 3:11 a.m. in June 2011. Like you, I went through the shock and devastation that haunts me still. I've been assured by paramedics and doctors that there was nothing I could have done to save my husband. Regardless, like you, I still wonder what I could have done differently. I believe that will follow us forever. No last goodbye; no last "I Love You," and no closure is so hard to live with. I can't remember the last words we said to each other. All I know is that my heart is broken and it will never be the same without him in my life. As I approach the anniversary of his death for the fourth time, the pain has returned full force. May we each find peace some day. Karen

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    1. Hi Karen, I am so sorry for your loss; and I sure know what it is to have no last good byes and no closure. It sucks. I wish you peace as well, and blessings on this difficult journey.

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  3. I feel like I wrote what you wrote this day. I use to be an avid Grey's watcher and I had watched it the night before my husband died…always stayed up later than he to watch it, and also that night I decided not to wake him when I would come to bed so I slept in the next room. That next morning Dec. 16th he left for work and never returned. He wasn't found until the next day, Dec. 17th but we know he died shortly after he left for work on the 16th….a one car accident that no one saw and he landed in a field behind brush off the road the length of a football field. For some unknown reason the owner of the property noticed tracks so went to solve the mystery of where they came from. We still don't know why or what happened…the police suspect black ice. I had given up watching Greys along with many other things that are hard to watch or do. For another unknown reason I turned it on last week….wish I wouldn't have, as its been haunting me ever since. I keep putting myself in Merediths place and wonder if it was better that I didn't have to make the decision that she had to, but then fighting with the reality that I never got to see him and to say goodbye. His wish was to be cremated someday and there was a mix up as everyone else thought they had called me to come and see him but no one did. And so now I have myself talked into that it was meant to be like that, that he wouldn't have wanted me and the kids to see him like that. Will I watch tonight? Like already said…I would like to know how they portray the widow….as its a hard hard hard journey….almost 3 1/2 years later the grief still puts me on a horrible roller coaster and its hard to get off many days. Sorry for your loss Stephanie~

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    1. The grief rollercoaster. Yes. It's a terrible ride. I'm so sorry for your loss...what a horrific tragedy. My heart is with you. Thank you for commenting.

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  4. i know how you feel stephanie my fiance died similarly to yours.

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    1. DD F, I am so sorry. It's a terrible shock for us left behind. Blessings to you.

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  5. Stephanie, please don't blame yourself. I know that is hard. My husband died in a freak atv accident. He was supposed to meet me for lunch and i had spoke with him about an hour prior. In our conversation i was telling him when to meet me and i have often wondered if he was rushing to get back home (he was on some property near our house looking for deer signs as he was an avid hunter) so he could meet me when the accident occurred? But ultimately i have had to decide that this type if thinking won't bring him back and is not healthy for me.

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    1. So many of us I know must live with these thoughts, and you're right, it won't bring them back. Thank you for sharing this. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. It all seems so senseless.

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    2. I think of that so often also…as my husband died in a freak car accident…(I wrote above april 30 @4:48) He was doing me a favor without me knowing…and I live everyday wishing it would have been me instead of him…or that I would have been with him and we both would have gone together….but scarier is the thought that if he would have said he was doing this I would have followed him so he could get back to work faster and I would have seen it happen…but then I would have known what happened. he was a mile from home... All the what if…could haves …..should haves…can eat a person up. and I do try daily to get out of that thinking because as said above, nothing will bring him back. Sorry for everyones loss

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  6. I also total meltdown last week watching greys. I was caught way off guard, and i've been anxious to see tonights two hour episode.
    I think it was not actually what a widow with little children and a prof doctor would do for almost a year. However, im sure they will write in some major grief times for mer and sil. Still show worth watching, but lots of sad emotions in the entire show and love happiness as well. Life

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    1. So clearly I'm not the only one blindsided by this...I look forward to the next episode now too, it's on my DVR waiting for me. Thank you for commenting and sharing.

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