The girls and I recently became hooked on a new TV show on NBC called This Is Us. Although my kids can watch a 12-episode series in a weekend’s time, I don’t often have the inclination to sit that still that long. But, there is something different about this show.
One story line is set in the '70s and '80s and is about a family with three kids. There is a parallel story line set today that follows the children as grownups.
I am particularly drawn to two characters in the series. My first attraction is to the father of the three kids, Jack Pearson. He has his flaws, but he is an incredible man. He brings life and fun into the family. He is wonderfully sensitive, crying multiple times in the very first show. He just wants things to be OK for his kids and for his wife to be genuinely happy. It is refreshing to watch how he invests in others.
There is also a 70-year-old man, Dr. Nathan Katowski the wife’s obstetrician, who is also a regular on the show. He is a widower and sort of mentors Jack.
I want to see pieces of each of these men in me.
At one point, the young father and his wife lose a baby in delivery. This is the advice that the seasoned Dr. Katowski gives to Jack:
I’d like to think that one day you’ll be an old man like me, talking a younger man’s ear off explaining to him how you took the sourest lemon life has to offer and turned it into something resembling lemonade.
I think when you go through tough times, folks are more prone to sharing their setbacks with you. Perhaps they feel that you can understand.
I’ve recently had acquaintances lose loved ones – children, parents, spouses. I know of those who have lost their jobs. I’ve spent time with a widower who has six children under the age of 12. I am amazed at how many rediscover good out of really nasty situation.
If for no other reason, as a young widower, I was propelled to drive forward for my kids’ sake. I couldn’t bear for them to live in a house with a father who was paralyzed by grief. In the end, I was the one who benefited. I found happy.
I hurt so bad seven years ago (this week marks the anniversary). I was messed up. And yet, today, I can’t imagine there are that many out there with more blessings than me.
Healing does not mean forgetting. For me it is figuring out how to put grief in its appropriate place.
Writing makes you ponder things that perhaps you wouldn’t otherwise. I think about my legacy often – what I want to be remembered for when I’m gone from this earth. I think it’s important to me for my kids to look back and say, “Man did dad make some good lemonade.” Like the pink kind with real slices of lemon floating on the top, in a really nice pitcher with grandma ice cubes.
How fortunate I am to be sipping again.
--Bruce H., friend
(this was Bruce's "The Real Full House" blog post from 2-22-17, posted here with permission)