Super Bowl Sunday wasn’t just another Sunday for those familiar with death and dying. No, it wasn't. It was a Sunday that many television viewers anticipated. NBC’s 'This Is Us' nailed it.
Yes, it’s just a television show for many and it’s not real but it’s a show that resonates with many women who are unsought members of the sisterhood of widows.
I missed the show because I fell asleep and I think I subconsciously did it on purpose.
As I watched the DVR'd episode that so many of us widows anticipated, I was on pins and needles with anticipation.
"Stop looking at your newsfeed," I said to myself.
I felt the urge to inform my readers of my viewing status. “I have not watched This is Us, yet,” I finally posted on Facebook.
“Me too," a non-widow commented.
“Have your Kleenex in hand,” a widow warned.
“That was a hard episode to complete,” another widow chimed in.
I watched. I cried. I remembered. I couldn’t believe how almost every scene resonated with my journey without him:
-I remembered that one of the first mattresses my hubby and I shared had side handles (many mattresses today have gotten rid of this feature).
-I remembered watching the Super Bowl together on our TV/VCR combo unit, which was one of our first television sets.
-I remembered having to visit a friend just months after his passing at the same hospital and ICU floor my husband passed away at.
-I remembered receiving various signs from my husband after his death, from visiting Cardinals to real-life dreams.
-And finally, I remembered missing his first death. First death, you ask? My husband died twice. His first death was a Friday morning when his last sign of life was when he began to snore after a long night of pain in his head. Although the original location of the tumor was embedded behind his stomach, it had traveled to his spine and then made its final mark in his brain, pushing it against his skull. According to his sister, he squeezed her hand and began to snore. He quickly lost consciousness.
It was my turn to leave and care for my daughter and niece at home. My sister-in-law and I took turns being with him and it was her turn to stay. She was there to witness it, while I wasn’t. I was devastated that I missed it. The death rattle was something we weren’t familiar with. We had just thought that he had finally started to get some well-deserved sleep. It wasn’t until the next phase of death that I was able to be with him. This was when he was placed on the respirator because he was considered brain-dead. His second death took a few hours and I had made the decision to pull the plug, a decision we both made prior to his death. It was difficult to watch him die slowly but I was there this time. I knew he had already left me once so this time, I ensured I was there until the end. He was pronounced dead after a few hours.
Immediate cause of death: B-cell lymphoma.
Date of death: February 24, 2012
Time of death: 4:00 p.m.
The final scene stuck with me. No, I didn’t have any Kleenex to wipe the flow of tears but what I do have are fond memories of us.
It got real for me. “This Is Us,” was us and his memories will forever be stored episodes of wonderfully captured reflections instead of devastating missed opportunities.
Did the show get real for you? Chime in below.