Monday, January 28, 2013

Thoughts on Downton (When Favorite Shows Hit too Close to Home)


Sometimes, no matter how much you love a show, you need to take an episode off.  It will just hit too close to home, and leave you up all night, not thinking as much of the character or storyline, but of how that story line reminds you too much of your own life and what is to come.  Last night, that was me and Downton Abbey.

As the show started and Lady Sybil complained of headaches and swollen feet I looked and Nick and said "sounds like preeclampsia to me..."  I saw it coming, and truly should have turned off the TV right then.  Except, it didn't occur to me that it would be unwatchable.  Nothing has even been unwatchable for me before. And this is childbirth, not cancer. 

When the baby was born, I thought maybe it would be okay.  But when she was having her mom make promises to take care of her husband and baby, I knew.  And I really should have turned it off then. Really. I should have. But I thought they would wake up and find her gone the next morning.  I thought of mom, dad and Missy watching this together.  I wished then that someone had warned them.  Told us not to watch.  But I kept watching, because I was already invested, and because I didn't know how bad it would get.

The scene.  The scene with the death.  It will haunt me.  I stayed up all night playing it over in my head.  I woke up thinking about it.  And I know a lot of America did too.  But while everyone else was thinking of Sybil, and how tragic it all was, I was thinking of my own baby sister.  The youngest of three girls.  I thought of my own parents.  I thought of seizures and memory problems.  I thought of... I thought of our life to come.  And how fucking awful it is going to be.  While everyone else in American was crying last night for Downton, I was crying for MY baby sister.  

There have been other deaths on TV that I watched, back in the days of BEFORE, deaths like Dr. Green on ER or Charlie on LOST.  I remember watching those scenes and crying and thinking "What gripping television".  I am jealous of the people who got to think that last night.  Because it was nothing but personal for me.  And although I hate spoilers.  For all time I have plugged my ears and sworn "I WANT TO KNOW NOTHING!", I am taking that back.  You spoiler readers out there, you who watch shows early online, if you see something like that again, please warn me.  Please send me a message that says "Avoid that show you love.  Bad things happen. It will be too hard for your heart to see it right now".  Especially if it involves the death of siblings, or mothers grieving daughters.  Right now, it is just too much.

I promise, I wont be mad.  And I will heed your warning.  Maybe I wouldn't have before last night, but now I know there are some things I just can't see right now.


  1. Yes, the death scene was very awful. It would have been one thing for them to just find her dead, but to see it play out like that was terrible. I don't have as much as a personal connection to it as you, but I was very distraught. I've watched the entire season, and I'll tell you, you might not want to watch the rest. If you want to e-mail me, I'll tell you specifically why, and you can decide.

  2. It was indeed a very sad scene. It was sad for me from a mother's perspective. I'm so sorry it hit so close to home for you.

  3. I would have warned you but it was already too late. Because of our time difference I knew you had already seen it and I was horrified. Too close to home indeed. I'm so sorry all of you had to see that. We love you and are thinking of you constantly.

  4. Oh I'm so sorry. Way too close to home. It was a very sad episode and I can only imagine your grief. There are no words. I'm sorry. Xoxo