Some of you know that a few months ago I started to watch all of Grey’s Anatomy for the first time on Netflix. Yes, I was late to the party, but damn if I didn’t fall in love with the show. Not a big surprise, I was also a huge devotee of ER during it’s time and even Chicago Hope back in the day.
Well, my daughter Ash has also been watching but, due to important things like school, is still back in season six. Or she was, until yesterday. It’s exam time for her this week so after yesterday’s exam, she came home and just wanted to veg out for the afternoon and watch some Grey’s. Of course I was fine with that and I asked her where she was. Almost at the end of season six. Well. I remember those last two episodes of season six and I didn’t want her to watch them alone so I went with her down to the basement to our rec room and snuggled in.
Now, the first time I watched this, I had already been a several weeks in to the series and so, while it was a devastating and sad story arc, I was accustomed to how Shonda operates and yes, I cried, but I moved on to season seven.
I finished catching up to real time well over a month ago and have not been watching since. Maybe that’s why it hit me so hard this time.
When Charlie dies in the hallway with patient Mary and Bailey holding him, the camera does a very long close up on him in those last few minutes of his life. I’ve seen deaths in movies and television a million times but whoever did the makeup for this particular scene must have watched someone die at some point because it was so real.
I don’t think it struck me the first time around, but yesterday afternoon it did. The pale, almost grey skin, those dead eyes. It wasn’t Charlie’s face I saw on the screen. It was Shawn’s.
There was a stretch of time back in September on that fateful day where his heart was stopped and I literally watched him die. His pupils were fixed, and so dilated they looked black from where I stood. His mouth slightly open, his skin went almost grey. And his face was pointed straight at me. It’s one of the things from that day I had and still have the hardest time dealing with. Most of the time, I don’t see it, although it took weeks to stop having that image in my head, nowadays it doesn’t hover at me the way it did for weeks afterwards. Still I have the odd night where I see it in the dark or in my dreams but I can generally deal with that.
Yesterday I was so overcome with emotions that I couldn’t talk. I came upstairs and went to hug Shawn who is home on holidays this week and I couldn’t even bear to do that so I went up again to our room, lay down on our bed and cried myself into a very deep sleep for two hours. When I finally went back down I was still having trouble talking without crying. The image hovered there and by nine o’clock I could not bear being around everyone and came up to watch a movie on my computer.
Shawn was confused, worried, a little upset that I was shutting down. I finally talked to him and told him exactly what had happened just before we tried to get some sleep last night.
I think it’s easy to forget how completely traumatic that whole episode was when we’re locked in the middle of our daily life routines. We eat, we sleep, we go to work, we hang out with the kids but it’s always there to give us little reminders every so often. Shawn still has days when he becomes short of breath way too easily, or when his body just tells him no, he can’t do something he wants to do. Likewise, I have days of panic where I’m sure the whole thing is going to happen again. Thankfully, we have more days without those symptoms than with, but when it happens, we all get a little gut-check.
I guess its one of the reasons I wanted to do my cousin’s program so badly and why I got so frustrated when my own health issues said no, you have to wait on this. I want to stay healthy and be around for my family.
Be kind to one another and as I have said before, tell the ones you love that you love them. Don’t lose the moment. You will never regret the times you said it. You will always regret the times you didn’t.