Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the show I gravitate to during tough times in my life. When I was in 8th grade my grandmother passed away a couple of days before Halloween. Before her passing I had planned on dressing as Buffy for the holiday. It wasn’t till after her passing that I realized I had used that costume as a shield during that difficult time. If Buffy could be strong, so could I.
This past weekend a dear friend of 8 years passed away. She was a friend like no other. Supportive, no matter what crazy thing fell out of my mouth. I took the following day off work as I wasn’t able to hold myself together while getting ready for work. I doubted wholly that I could make it through an entire day at my desk. My boss was nice enough to let me work from home. As I tried not to dwell on her passing, I tried to keep myself busy by watching TV and answering emails. My mind drifted to ‘The Body’ episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (if you’ve never watched this episode, SPOILERS) Once again, the show was my solace.
Thinking to myself, I realized it was either a horrible idea that would end in major waterworks, or an excellent one that would result in feeling that special something you can only get from a great episode of television. That special something is feeling that you are not alone in the world.
I watched the proceeding episode, ‘I Was Made to Love You’ so that I could have one last moment before the oncoming storm. The episode is kinda forgettable compared to the following episode. But none the less, it was important to watch because it give me one last chance to see Joyce. Forty some odd minutes to live in my pretend world where everything was okay. However, by the end of the episode Buffy walks into her house and finds her Mother.
I was unfortunate in that I found out about my friend’s passing on Facebook. Much like Buffy I began to rationalize the situation. Maybe she got into an accident but she’ll be okay, maybe she went in for surgery but she’ll be okay, anything that basically ended in she’ll be okay. I honestly didn’t really want to call anyone to verify what had happened because then I could live in this limbo of unknown. I finally calmed myself to a point where I was able to dial her number. Her husband answered and I knew it was true.
I then went into meltdown, much like Dawn, trying not to believe the truth. It’s much easier to be in denial than to accept something so terrible. The morning following her passing I woke up and thought about how it was such a lovely day because the sun was shining in my room. It then hit me, it wasn’t a lovely day, it was a terrible one. It all came rushing back at once. I remembered a charm my friend had bought me a few months back. I hadn’t added it to a bracelet because I just hadn’t found the time so it was sitting in a box to be unpacked. I rushed around my room looking for it like a mad man. I felt like Willow changing her clothes every two seconds, reaching and searching. In the episode, Willow searches for her blue sweater Joyce loved, and I searched for the charm that was given to me by my friend. I now wear that charm on a chain around my neck.
Then comes the inevitable breakdown in the form on Anya. Once you finally start to accept that someone has passed you start to think of all the things they’ll never do again, all the things that you’ll never do again with them, or tell them. The missed opportunities.
Anya: But I don’t understand! I don’t understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she’s, there’s just a body, and I don’t understand why she just can’t get back in it and not be dead anymore! It’s stupid! It’s mortal and stupid! And, and Xander’s crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she’ll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.
Willow: We don’t know… how it works… why.
I started to think of things like how she’d never have another cup of tea (as I continued to pour myself one throughout the day), how I’d never got to show her my photos from my trip to Europe this summer, or tell her how work is going. A lot of nevers.
Previously I mentioned watching ‘The Body’ was either going to be the worst idea or the best. Luckily, it was the latter. It’s probably the best depiction of grief I’ve seen on TV. The episode takes you through the stages (some of which I didn’t experience myself). It made me feel like I wasn’t alone in what I was going through. It did truly help me. If you do unfortunately find yourself in a position like Buffy or myself, I’d advise to try and watch ‘The Body’.