'This is Us' reminds us to cherish all the moments
Last updated 6/1/2022 at 5:12pm | View PDF
Maybe it's the final episodes of "This is Us" that has me thinking about the different landscapes, if you will, life offers us.
Or it might be the fact that the things I thought would go "back to normal" after COVID changed in such a way during the pandemic that we can never go back. More on that later.
I've been watching "This is Us" since the beginning. I knew I would be hooked from the second I saw a trailer showing Randall knocking on a door of the man he believes to be his birth father (whom we now know as William).
I've been touched by the show countless times over its six-year run. I think the "Memphis" episode - in which Randall and William take a road trip to Tennessee - is one of the best hours of television I've ever seen.
Despite all the attention Dr. K's lemonade speech has been getting on social media over the last week, I prefer a different quote, the one he shared with Rebecca and Jack when they visit him after the triplets' first birthday.
"I think the trick is not trying to keep the joys and the tragedies apart. But you kinda gotta let 'em cozy up to one another, you know, let 'em co-exist," he tells them. "And I think if you can do that, if you can manage to forge ahead with all that joy and heartache mixed up together inside of you, never knowing which one is going to get the upper hand, then, well, life does have a way of shakin' out to be more beautiful than tragic."
I agree with everything he says there, although at times I wonder if the beautiful really will win out.
One of those times was this past Mother's Day, the second one since my mom passed away in November 2020. Last year I tried to come to grips with her loss - and my relatively new connection with my birth mother - in a May column.
"This will be the first Mother's Day that the mother I have always known is no longer a part of my life and the mother I have never met is," I wrote.
I finally met my birth mother, Pat, last June, after meeting my half-sister in September 2020 and my birth father in March 2021. I am so fortunate that all three of them want to love me and my family and have us in their lives.
The joy I have in finding them, though, co-exists with the sadness that both of my adoptive parents are gone. My dad died 20 years ago today. He was only 67.
Sometimes I wish I could take advantage of seeing the events of my life outside of chronological order, the way we see the characters' lives on "This is Us."
I'm reminded of Soren Kierkegaard's quote - "Life can only be understood by looking backward, but it must be lived looking forward."
When I was writing "Happy Mother's Day" in chalk on the parking lot outside my mom's window in 2020 (her assisted living facility wasn't allowing visitors), I never thought she would live only six more months. I had no idea we would never spend another Mother's Day together.
I was just collecting one of the "little moments" Jack tells the teenage Randall and Kevin about during the shaving scene in the final episode.
"We don't recognize them when we're in them, because we're too busy looking forward," he said of these moments. "But then we spend the rest of our lives looking back, trying to remember."
We can never go back to what was, I suppose, pandemic or not. All we can do is cherish the moment. And accept that this too shall pass.
- Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean. Readers can email her at [email protected].