Day 21: One of your favorite shows

For nearly a year, I barely watched TV. After Kenny passed, it felt almost bizarre to watch TV alone; and truthfully, I couldn’t bare to go back and watch shows that we watched together, or reminded me of when he was alive.

Over time, though, I started to watch again…sometimes older shows, that I knew wouldn’t trigger grief or anxiety, but a little more than a year ago I finally began to get bored enough that I let myself try some new things. 

The first show I ever got into “after” was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Oh, how I loved it; the clothes! The comedy! It was just what I needed. You’d think that something so innocuous wouldn’t be a trigger; but I’ve learned that when it comes to grief, anything can be a trigger.

One day, after binge watching a bunch of episodes with my mother before bed, we jovially discussed how much it was obvious that the main characters were still in love. They both had other options, but they belonged together - they couldn’t just get it together and get back in synch. That must have really sat in my brain as I dozed off that night, because after I drifted off, I had a dream…

Actually, a nightmare. No monsters were in it, no one was chasing me, but I woke up sobbing anyhow. In my dream, I was doing the most mundane things…laundry, wandering around my apartment, checking my phone. In my dreamy internal dialogue, I discovered that Kenny and I had broken up. But not really, right? Just a rough patch. But “not together,” nonetheless. I had other options, I had dates, but I kept checking that phone…as though he’d come to his senses any damn second and call me, and beg to have me back. I was so sure of it. There wasn’t even a smidge of a doubt. 

And then, looking out my apartment window, the (dream) thought occurred and slapped me upside my head. Kenny’s not an option anymore.  It was a whisper, at first. “He’s not an option? No, he’s not an option…” But before I knew it, my entire demeanor changed, my face twisted and angry, my voice louder than I’ve ever heard, as though I was yelling at somebody, I kept screaming “HE’S NOT AN OPTION ANYMORE! HE’S NOT AN OPTION ANYMOOOOOOORE!” 

That dream was FIFTEEN MONTHS ago, and it still gives me the heebie jeebies.

You’d think I’d never watch TV again, if every show that had any form of storyline about love was going to give me night terrors. Yet, the show, itself, is delightful. The second season, I loved even more, even though the sentiment hadn’t changed; in fact, it only grew, that those characters still had stars in their eyes for one another. But, over time, I changed. I had to.  I couldn’t live in a bubble where Kenny was still an option; where apparently, some part of me was still waiting for him to come back. 

I’ve gone so far as to watch shows that had storylines about brain cancer (a BIG no-no for me, at first). Most recently, I fell in love with Dead to Me; about a widow who’s anger causes her to make decidedly wacky decisions. I won’t ruin it, since it’s a recently popular show, but I can tell you, if you’re up for it, it’s one helluva story!

Megan Courtney