I’ve been watching Firefly Lane on Netflix. It’s emotional and complex and quite honestly pretty brilliant. My sister read the books and just recently warned me it could be triggering. If you’re watching it now or plan to, I’ll let you know you should close this window so you won’t spoil anything! Because, I had to. I had to know how it ends. Because I wasn’t sure if I could watch it.
If you’ve never watched the show, it jumps all around through time. We watch a friendship form and go through 30 years of change and heartache. But the story is not told in the linear fashion but rather through four or five different spots on the timeline. In part one of season 2 they keep showing a car accident. So I assumed that that’s what my sister was warning me about. And while the car accident was pretty terrible, I’m glad I was prepared to deal with how the season ended.
I absolutely love both of the actresses in the series which is why I started watching it in the first place. I have loved Sarah Chalk since I watched her in Scrubs. Katherine Heigl was my favorite from when I used to be able to watch Gray’s Anatomy. Before the accident.
My new post-grief life includes googling the ends of things. My husband absolutely hates it and says I spoil everything. I think I just prepare myself in case there is going to be something triggering and what I am watching or reading. And when my sister texts me and warns me that I might want to know what’s coming, I take heed.
So now I’m sitting here with a bunch of balled up tissues because I know that my favorite character is going to die. From breast cancer. They reveal at the end of part one that she is diagnosed with stage 3. So I needed to know what is coming, even though they’re not going to finish the series until June of 2023! And now I’m a puffy faced mess.
Amongst the remainder of my father’s stuff that my sister picked up when my stepmother died, was a journal. It was my Mom’s journal. My stepmother had mentioned it and had been uncomfortable about giving it to me. I honestly didn’t press the issue because our relationship was tenuous at best at times. And I kind of forgot about it. It sounds terrible to say that out loud, but I did. I have been living surrounded by my deceased parents stuff for years. It was hard to fathom there was something I hadn’t seen or touched that was my Mom’s.
So I started reading it. This journal is the Indiana Jones equivalent to the Ark of the Covenant for grievers! My Mom passed away 26 years ago and now all of a sudden I had access to her thoughts. The first few pages were blank, the first entry is from when she found the lump in her breast. Then there’s a whole bunch of more blank pages and then she starts to talk about everything as she’s going through it. I only got a few entries in before I needed to take some time off. Because it was a lot.
I don’t know what I was expecting to find. It kind of feels like an invasion of privacy, but at the same time she’s documenting her road through breast cancer in 1996. Which is crazy for me to think about because everything that is written there is a term that I understand from all of my years of walking for Komen. It’s also very crazy to think back to her journey being the beginning of stem cell use. I have so much gratitude for how far we have come, technologically speaking. But we’re certainly not done yet.
When I read those first few entries, it sounded very similar to my blog. Our writing styles are so alike. I smiled at that. It felt really good at first. It made me feel really close to her, which is something I haven’t felt in 26 years. But I only got a few entries in before I had to put it back down. Because now I’m sad. And I’m missing her all over again. This woman that is so like me is missing from my life. And has been for the better part of it. It is heartbreaking.
I watched this scene on Firefly Lane of this 40 something year old woman getting diagnosed with breast cancer and I lost it. Because in that moment, I understood her fear and anxiety. Because I read it in my Mom’s journal. And in 5 years I will be the age she was when she was diagnosed, so it really isn’t that far fetched for me.
I miss my Mom daily. Even this far out, I am so very sad for every single thing that we have missed out on. I will read more of the journal when I am ready. I so very much want to know every little detail while simultaneously wishing I wasn’t opening up this Pandora’s box right now. But such is grief.