I have discussed in the past my crazy reality TV addiction. And nothing says reality TV to me more than the Real World. It can be cheesy, and it isn’t always all that much like reality, but it got the genre started, and for that I say THANK YOU!
This season started out with the usual teasers…and the one that stuck with me the most was Danny’s bad news phone call from home. I wondered what it was that the call was about. Well, tonight, I found out. On tonight’s episode, Danny’s father called to tell him that his mother, from whom he had been estranged, had passed away suddenly from a possible heart attack. Now, THAT is reality TV.
And with that news, Danny started right into Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief. First, we saw some denial, followed quickly by anger at himself because he wasn’t home when it happened. As I watched Danny go through this on national television, I was reminded of loss I have felt in my life and how difficult it is to say goodbye.
I have been very lucky in that, for a long time, I didn’t lose many people close to me. The death I felt the most, until I became an adult, was that of my grandfather when I was in eighth grade. However, my other three grandparents are still living, as are all my aunts and uncles, my cousins, my sister, and both of my parents. I had a good run.
Once I hit adulthood, I did lose several people to whom I was close, and they were all sudden deaths. The first happened when a fire claimed the life of one of my fellow camp staff at the end of the summer of 1999. She and I had had a falling out, but we had spent some time together that summer and let bygones be bygones. I was so grateful to have had the chance to get past our differences. Her funeral included a “Scout’s Own” that was a beautiful tribute to her life…but it was still one of those most difficult experiences I had been through.
I spent the turn of the millenium in Ocean City, MD, with my then-boyfriend Bob and his brother and his brother’s best friend. We spent our time drinking ourselves silly and playing many, many games of quarters. We also hung out on the boardwalk and visiting the arcades. It was a great trip…and I was even more glad to have had it when Bob’s brother’s best friend was killed several months later in a car accident. He was only 19, and he was killed instantly. It was a shocking event…and it was another difficult experience to go through.
A couple of years later, in the summer of 2002, another shocking event came my way. Bob and I had broken up in January of 2000 (and I met Bill about six months later). However, we had continued working together at the same agency during the summers and had remained close. He had been ill, and the doctors thought he had pneumonia. Well, it turned out they were wrong. After going to the emergency room on a Tuesday, Bob died on a Friday from leukemia. It was so advanced that they didn’t even get to start chemo before he was gone. I would say that that was the hardest thing I have gone through so far. It was shocking to realize that this person who I had been so close to was gone and never to return. We used to IM each other pretty often, and I remember thinking that death would be a lot easier if those we had lost could set up an e-mail account from Heaven and keep chatting with us. He comes to me in my dreams once in a while…but I know I won’t see him in this world again.
I think it was because of this last event that I decided to go back to school and become a nurse. Quite honestly, cancer (and also death) had pissed me off, and I was going to join the fight against it. I envisioned myself as an oncology nursing, standing arm in arm with my patients as they fought for their lives. Now, after my mental health rotation, I am seeing that my plans might change…but I still take this path as a tribute to Bob and all the life that he didn’t get to lead. And no matter what specialty I choose, I will be fighting death…and if I can’t fight it, I will help those facing it do so with dignity and peace.
And now we will watch Danny as he goes through this on the more-real-than-ever Real World. I know that it was taped months ago…but I hope that he finds his peace with his loss. The final stage of grief is acceptance…I wish that for Danny, as well as the joy of the memories of times shared with his mom.