I’m the kind of person who loves well-done, realistic TV. I put myself in the stories, relating the characters to my life. I take what I can use and leave the rest. So I’m sure you can imagine how I might have felt while watching the Gilmore Girls revival having lost my own dad just this January.
Edward Herrmann, the actor who played Richard Gilmore, the patriarch of the Gilmore clan, passed away in late 2014. Richard’s passing is a prominent storyline in the revival; Amy Sherman-Palladino allowed each Gilmore woman to cope with the loss in their own messy way, sharing their individual search for closure.
Emily’s journey through her grief hit particularly close to home.
While losing a parent is difficult in its own right, the earth-shattering shift in your universe is enough to knock the wind out of you, coping with the familial aftermath, for me, has been the hardest part.
People focus on the one who has passed, but they forget about those left mourning the loss. I’m not just mourning my father’s death on my own. I’m mourning for my siblings and my mother, empathizing their pain.
Our year, especially for my mother, has looked painfully similar to that of the Gilmore women. We’re preparing to sell the house I grew up in, the one my mom has called home for the past 30 years. My mom is learning how to handle life on her own after having had a partner for the last 46 years.
The scene with Emily on the couch, chaos and boxes surrounding her in the house that no longer feels like her home, stabbed like a knife. She sits next to Lorelei in jeans and a t-shirt, attire Mrs. Richard Gilmore would have never been caught dead in, and confesses:
I don’t know how to do this.
That scene wasn’t much unlike one that unfolded in a kitchen that was once so familiar to me over the weekend. While discussing the Christmas decorations, my dad’s stocking came up.
With tears in her eyes, my mom asked me. What do I do with it?
Our mantle over the years has always been a source of comedy, a family that started with just two in love evolved into an army.
The truth is, none of us knows how to do this. Loss and grief are nicely hidden amidst uncharted waters where you lose your grip on every sense of familiarity.
The only way through it is to continue to do whatever feels right. While I agree with Lorelei when she tells Emily nothing is going to bring you joy right now, I’m certain the joy will return. All we can do is keep leaning on the traditions that were once joy filled and wait.
I told my mom to put the stocking up if it brings peace to her heart. I think either way though, with or without it, the pain will remain.
But as I binged my way through a year in the Gilmore life, a year that looked much like my own, I found peace and comfort in their loss and its familiarity.