My life is on TV

Pam was recently talking about her life, and how it seems she is watching her life on TV – I can relate to this feeling so deeply.  I think we all do to some degree, but with grieving parents it is somewhat different.


We sit here watching TV, we watch our lives, we see ourselves working, cooking, maybe playing golf or hockey.  We look at the screen and see what’s going on.  If we don’t like what we are doing, we change the channel, move on, take a nap.  We watch how we interact with others, and how we grow and how our families change and evolve.  As Pam says, her life is the main story on her own TV right now, as it is for all of us.

But then something happens.  Something bad. The red crawl opens up – some emergency sounding tune plays.  We get that red scroll along the bottom of the screen we are watching.  An accident, tragedy at sea, an earthquake, hundreds dead, maybe thousands.  And it catches our eye and we focus on it.  We read the scroll, we concentrate on it and hope it would go faster so we can see more.  We change channels in hopes of finding out more information, our focus has gone from TV to the emergency, from our lives on TV to the lives of others on the scroll. We are immersed with the news, it is, our only focus…..And in an hour or two, or a day or two, the scroll is gone.  The news is over, we return to the main screen above, we return to our lives on TV.

And we wait for another scroll, we wait for something else to happen, we live our lives between the red scrolls, but knowing one is never too far away – unfortunately.

But then there are those of us who’s red scroll never goes away.  The scroll of our children’s lives, the scroll of our tears and sorrow.  The red scroll that is there that reminds us our children are gone.  That scroll never ever goes away.  Doug’s scroll is five years long  – and has not gone away – it is immensely long and Pam never stops thinking about him.  Andrew’s scroll is a mere eight months long, but always there.

Whenever we watch the TV of our lives, the red scroll is there.  Sometimes it is where it should be, just a small portion of the TV screen.  We are able to still have our lives above, and function and go out and enjoy our lives.  We can manage when the scroll is where it belongs, we never forget, but we can live.  Other times the scroll takes over the screen.  It becomes the main story, it becomes CNN or MSNBC or FOX – it is all consuming, it is the entire TV.  Anything and everything else in our lives is minimized while the red scroll becomes and encompasses the entire screen, while the memories or our children so overwhelm us that we have to deal with it over everything else.  We cry, we mourn, we even visit their resting places, but we recover.  Each and every time we do recover.

It does eventually return to the small red scroll at the bottom, but it never, no it never disappears. It is there for us to see and for us to remember what we have lost our entire lives.  Sometimes the scroll lets us remember the good times, sometimes it tells us our children are okay now, that their pain is no longer.  Sometimes it reminds us of family vacation, the good our children did in their lives, or let’s us watch them play sports again.  And to tell you the truth, I don’t want it to disappear. I never want to be without that scroll, without the constant memory of Andrew, and I am sure Pam is happy the scroll is there as well.

When we awake in the morning, the scroll is there.  When we retire for the night – we turn off the TV, we turn out the lights, we close our eyes, and the last thing we see before we sleep is the scroll of our children’s lives.


I never stop thinking about him
It is like the news crawl that runs at the bottom of the screen
While my life, the main story,
Plays on the TV above it.


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