I’m in love with This Is Us. In love.
At the end of each episode, I’m usually muttering ‘…such a stupid show’ through tears as I bemoan having to wait another week for more.
Months ago, my sister told me about a video she’d seen online about a family losing their pet. It brought us to the topic of how much people share online, and why. The conversation has stuck with me and often gives me pause as I write. Watching This Is Us has reminded me why it’s so wonderful that people share their stories; how important it is.
After watching an episode late the other night, I curled up in bed looking through my bedroom door. I looked past the silhouette of the bookshelves to the place my two children often stand to chat as they expertly delay their bedtime. I slowly brought my focus back into my bedroom, to a shelf that holds the memory of my child that was never given the opportunity to pester me with questions instead of going to bed. The baby I’ve never been able to snap at in nighttime frustration – sending her to bed to nestle under the covers beside her twin sister.
I’ve never stood outside my girls’ bedroom, telling them to stop playing and get to sleep, while I quietly revel in their sisterly goofing around.
I wish This Is Us had been on ten years ago. Watching one of the story lines unfold so beautifully – the complexity and interplay of joy and sorrow – has reminded me how I struggled bringing only one of our daughters home from the hospital. I held the social worker’s words of advice close and searched online to find more information about what my little girl, sleeping in her swing, would feel and go through as she neared adolescence. I sought online help to figure out what I could do to fill the void my daughter would feel having lost an immense piece of herself before she could even comprehend such a loss.
I found many touching stories online but little that was specific to the loss of a twin. Through the years, I’ve written a bit about my experience but it was cathartic writing, not anything I wanted to share. I was too close to it, and didn’t want my words to be a call for sympathy.
But, I’ve arrived at a place where I feel like I am closer to knowing the answer to why I write and, more importantly, why I would want to share. This Is Us has reminded me how alone I still feel sometimes — forever bound in that stinging ether between joy and sorrow.
Grief is a taboo subject. It is rife with cliches and a deep desire from onlookers for the griever’s raw emotion to be subdued or, at the very least, packaged in a socially acceptable box wrapped with a colourful ribbon that screams, “I’ll be okay. Go about your business. I got this.”
Grief, though, is an asshole and isn’t going anywhere. Watching Rebecca and Jack’s story helped me remember the painful moments while feeling a little less alone.