Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Spotlight In Love

Ok, so I really have no idea why, but the series finale of Medium really had a surprising impact on me.  For those of you that don't watch the show, it's about a Medium who can see and talk to dead people and she helps solve murder cases for the District Attorney's office.  While the show centers pretty clearly on the main character and her supernatural abilities, it's also about Allison's family; her husband and three daughters.  So if you watch the show and haven't seen the series finale, read no further.  The way they ended the show was that her husband Joe dies in a plane crash and Allison so clearly can't deal with it that she invents an entire dream where he amazingly survived the crash and is living in Mexico with amnesia and can't remember who he is or where he's from.  Then Joe's spirit comes to her and sadly informs her that it was just a dream and in fact he didn't survive the crash.  The show fast forwards to her as an old lady passing away in a nursing home and seeing Joe again and they are young and in love and will now be together for eternity.

I really don't know why, but I was so saddened by her loss and because it's TV they really got to skip over the bulk of the grief, but it made me think of my own marriage.  Blame the estrogen if you want, blame sentimentality or blame love itself if you want, but in the moments after the show I wondered how I would pick up the pieces of my life if something were to happen to my husband.  There would be no fast forward to move me in time past the crater forged through the center of my life.  There would be a sharing of the secret pain of the fatherless club, my children would be forced to join.  How could I deal with any of that?  Though I'm only 30, I have spent 12 years of my life loving one person.  I look at him and he is at one moment the boy I fell in love with, spotting him across campus in his ball cap and baggy jeans and feeling my heart race, and also the husband and father I have watched him become. 

When I had my surgery last year, I tried my best to muster forth my "if should something should happen to me" speech while my husband and I pulled up the hospital drive.  I had a knot in my throat the size of a golf ball as I let myself for a minute imagine for my family a life without me, but my husband predictably waved the scenario away as a matter of fact.  It was not necessary.  I knew it probably wasn't as well, but I also know the pain of hearing unexpected news, recounting final conversations, knowing there will never be reply or answers ever again.  What is harder, in my opinion, is being the one left behind to pick up the pieces, to carry on when all you want to do is pull the remainder of your life over your head, hide and perhaps fast forward to a better point in time.  Pretty much what the show conveyed.

So here's what I'll take from this show.  Despite the fact that we are the main characters in our own lives, we can't forget that we cannot live in the spotlight if we are to share our lives with someone.  I hope my children will one day understand this.  Children live in the spotlight for a long long time, through adolescence and into their young adult lives.  But one day, love will find them as it did for me.  Ready or not, it will move in and change their lives as they knew them.  I think people say they fall in love because it's passive.  Nobody ever says they jumped into love, because frankly love is so powerful and scary that nobody would willingly jump into that void.  Ironically enough, I think it's amazing that so many of us of take the leap into parenthood.  We know it will be scary, we know it will be hard, but I think we also know that the love is more certain.  Loving our children is innate, like a switch that gets turned on involuntarily.  For me, it's like the pregnancy test was the switch, loving my child was that easy.  Pee on a stick and instant love for another human being.  Don't we wish all love was that easy?

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