Damn, I hate it when my favorite characters get killed off. TV shows, movies, books. It doesn’t matter.
I once wrote a story and knocked off a character I was quite fond of. And like so many of the deaths I’ve witnessed on TV, in movies and books, I didn’t see it coming.
The one who wrote the damn story. I hated myself just as much as I hate the writers, producers, et al who do the same thing.
The most recent blow came in the form of Will Gardner’s death in the last episode of “The Good Wife.” I couldn’t watch it when it aired live last Sunday, so I watched it Wednesday night online. In perusing the social media between Sunday and Wednesday, I saw a brief note about him leaving the show. I didn’t think in a million years they’d kill him off. Dumb, I know.
Now, if you’ve read my Just Who Is This Kelly Woman? page, you know I’m a crier. But I was too stunned to cry when I watched the episode. It came so far out of left field I thought it was a joke.
However, by the looks of the next episode airing on March 30th, I’ll be getting my ugly cry on.
Like I did during the season three finale of “Downton Abbey” when Matthew died.
And when I finished Before I Die, by Jenny Downham. With that title, you’d think I’d been fairly warned.
Not so much.
At least Will and Alicia Florrick got to end on an amicable note, and that made his death a little easier to bear. [Quick aside for those of you who might not watch the show: Initially Will and Alicia were colleagues, who then slept together, and then hated each other when Alicia left to start her own law firm. It’s been real tense in Chicago, let me tell you.]
In this episode, Alicia did Will a solid, then they joked and smiled through a few lines of dialogue. You could sense that they were heading in a positive direction.
Now Alicia has to process Will’s death. I hope she feels some consolation knowing that before he died, they didn’t loathe each other anymore. So there’s that.
Thinking about this fictional character’s small bit of solace made me regret all the times I didn’t get to say goodbye the way I wanted to, or sometimes not at all.
This is Grandma Lois, my husband’s paternal grandmother, and the last person I didn’t get to say goodbye to.
One weekend in the fall of 2011, my husband and daughter went to visit his family, including Grandma Lois.
I stayed home.
It was a normal visit: Grandma Lois hung out on the peripheral edge of it all, with family members stopping on their way through to another part of house to say hi.
My husband and daughter returned home that Sunday, and a few days later we got a call that Grandma Lois had passed away in the night.
I felt guilty that I didn’t go with them that weekend and never got to say goodbye. But she wasn’t the first family member I’d lost nor the only one I’d never had the chance to say goodbye to. One day they were there and the next they weren’t.
Our daughter, however, was devastated.
She said she had talked to Grandma Lois like she always did—a little bit and not about anything special. But, she told us, had she known she would be gone a few days later, she would have spent more time with her, talked to her about important stuff, asked her questions about herself.
Hugged her tighter.
And kissed her right on her red, painted lips.
Our hearts broke for our sensitive girl. Careful not waste a teaching opportunity, we told her that’s often how it happens. Nobody knows when their time is up. That’s why it’s important to let those special people know how much you love them, and as often as you can (like I talked about in a recent blog post).
It’s just shy of two years since we lost Grandma Lois. Every day when one of us leaves the house, our daughter makes a point of telling us she loves us, and hugging and kissing us multiple times.
Like the writers/co-creators/producers of “The Good Wife” said of Will’s unexpected death, “Your last time with the loved one will always remain your last time.”
Make it count.
Who do you regret not saying goodbye to, either at all or not in the way you wanted? What would you say to them now, if you could? If it was your last day in this life, who would you most want to hear from?