Death · Life

Gilmore Girls, my Mother, and Grief

We didn’t do much when I was a kid. My Mother, my only parent had much to do in the course of the day. By the time the evening rolled around, exhausted she would collapse on the couch to watch television with me. Most of my earliest memories of my Mother include us on the couch watching The Cosby Show. There are certain episodes that to this day evoke a memory so strong that I can almost feel her next to me, the same position, unchanging with the passage of time.So much of my Mother is tied up in TV shows. Her laugh when Steve Urkel asked, “Did I do that?” The way she cried when she watched The Thorn Birds and her inquisitive nature when she pondered the question, “Who could have shot J.R.?” As I watched these shows with her, I longed for a life that was different. I wanted the mothers on TV. The ones that fixed everything, gave hugs and made cookies with a smile forever plastered on their perfect faces.

On October 5, 2000, I sat down to watch Gilmore Girls for the first time. By this time, I was 21 and had long flown the nest. As I watched Lorelai and Rory, I longed for what they had. If I was to equate the relationship I had with my Mother, it most resembled that of Lorelai and Emily. We were close but not really. You could tell that there was a longing for it on both sides. We both needed each other, our hearts called out for the other but there was always that something in the way.

For years, I blamed myself or was blamed as the cause for the rift between us. I was called things like headstrong, disobedient, stuck-up, difficult, and maybe I was all of those things. Still, I longed for that relationship. I remember saying, “I wish I could talk to you”, and she would always respond with, “We talk all the time.” It’s true, we did talk all the time but we never really talked. We never shared the things that help you to understand a person like the back of your hand. I live with the notion every day that I never really knew my Mother and she never got to know me.

In the seven years that passed from the Gilmore Girls premier, I lived vicariously through them. When my Mother was diagnosed with cancer, it became my distraction. It was an hour I didn’t have to feel anything but happiness. The residents of Stars Hallow became my family and whenever they were on, I didn’t feel so alone. I could disappear into their world for just a little while.

Then the moment came that I knew was coming, my Mother was dying. At 27, I was ill-equipped to deal with it. I still am ill-equipped to deal with it. The year before, I had lost my Grandmother and by this time I felt like death was the shroud I would carry the rest of my life. It washed over me and held onto me. I made lists, made plans, and tried desperately to shove years of missed opportunities to connect into a small span of time.

I watched the final episode of Gilmore Girls alone. Filled with all of the mixed emotions that come along when something you love is coming to an end. Then there was that one scene that tore me apart and it was the only time I felt like both mother and daughter at the same time.

When Lorelai says, “It’s too soon. If I stop to think about you leaving, I’m going to fall apart. We still have time left, It’s too soon.” I fell apart. It was too soon. Too soon for me to lose my Mother but I would, five months later. I would never get the chance to change our relationship, a failure that I will carry the rest of my life, along with all of the anger that it brings. I have tried to let go of the anger and to be grateful for the time we did have. But it’s hard because my anger and my Mother are so closely intertwined that to release it would be giving away the last pieces of her that I have. And I can’t do that, it’s just too soon.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Gilmore Girls, my Mother, and Grief

  1. What a great piece. I was late to the Gilmore Girls; my daughter and I watched it together.
    Losing your mother at any age is life-altering, and hardly anyone is ready… Have you read Hope Edelman’s Motherless Daughters? As someone who lost my mother too early it was life changing for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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