Netflix became my major resource for finding a variety of television shows for my mother during the eighteen months we spent together. Huntington’s disease didn’t affect my mother’s sense of humor, and it didn’t take away her deductive and inductive reasoning when it came to analyzing the news or following a crime show. That meant we could view an assortment of television shows and movies as a way of filling our days. Eventually, we remembered our love for The X-Files, and together we watched every episode. The science fiction/horror/detective/comedy mixture appealed to both of us, and we allocated two hours a day to watching the show until we viewed the final film.
Over the last couple of months, I’ve slipped back into the daily routine of keeping my afternoons open for reading or television. The beginning of the summer found me outside, swinging in my tree, as I read whatever novel caught my fancy. Then I discovered Fringe. One of my Facebook friends mentioned the show casually in a status, advising me that I’d love the program. I lodged the title into the back of my brain, but didn’t go out of my way to find or watch an episode until a couple of weeks ago.
Every morning, I hastily rush through my chores (the house requires less and less daily maintenance as I hack away at deep cleaning projects). Then I dash to the gym for aerobics and weights. After I get cleaned up, I hop into the car to run errands. Usually by three o’clock each afternoon, I settle on the couch with my favorite blanket, both dogs, some fruit and iced tea. With controller in hand, I switch on the television to my newest passion that mixes science fiction with horror as The Fringe Division investigates whatever fantasy J.J. Abrams and his crew of writers can imagine.
Every day, I think of how much my mother would have delighted in the “mad” scientist and his quirky personality. She would have sat with me to watch these characters evolve as they maneuver through bizarre situations, offering her astute conclusions on what’s to come next.
I find it reassuring that I can spend my days viewing a television show that reminds me of my mother without feeling overwhelmed by loss. I still don’t turn on Mom’s favorites (Law and Order, or Everybody Loves Raymond), but I can discover something new that she would have loved, and I catch myself wondering about the quips she would have made during an episode. I miss her comments and insights; but when I surprise myself by thinking, “Mom would’ve loved the plot on this episode,” I don’t feel sadness.
The littlest things let me know that grief slowly shifts into the background. Turning into a Fringe fanatic actually means I’m fine!
Copyright 2013 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman