The TV show This Is Us got me again. I can’t believe how many many parallels there are between its storyline and my thesis project. It’s been an inspiration.
****Spoiler Alert for any fans who may have missed the episode after the Superbowl***
The audience was led to believe a certain young foster child was being brought to the home of one of the main characters (Randall). Instead, in the last scene, it is revealed that this little boy we’ve seen throughout the episode is actually under the care of Randall’s now grown-up daughter. For the first time, we see her 20 years or so in the future and working as a social worker placing the boy with another family. *Mind blown* Maybe I’m slow and others saw it coming but TV’s more fun that way so I’ll take it (I don’t think anyone saw it coming..shhhh).
Anyway, about a week or two prior to this episode airing, I made the decision to venture into the future with my own thesis storyline. I’ve been writing some more this past week. I started with the end, as mentioned in my last blog. I even wrote an epilogue, which I feel should go first in my story (I like that).
My eyes were closed but I could hear every word. “No,” the voices whispered through choked-back tears. But there was something more than words in that room. I could hear their hearts. Their souls spoke to mine. I knew, in an instant, all that ever was and all that ever will be. Everything became clear.
How do you explain the absence of time and space? How do you use flawed words to describe perfection? There are no mistakes. There is only an indescribable calm. All things and people are one. Those who came before, those inhabiting the earth, and those yet to arrive are one in the same.
I saw my body lying still and empty and watched as they grieved my bones and flesh and blood. But they did not know I was still there.
They did not know: I am them.
Ch 1: In Between Words
His voice was exactly as I remembered. In that moment I was 25. My father’s daughter. A comforting warmth swept over me. I breathed it in and waited to hear my name again.
“Laura,” he repeated.
“Dad,” I replied, my tired voice barely recognizable. I wanted to live in that moment forever.
It had been over thirty years since I heard my father’s voice, yet I could recognize every nuanced pitch, tone, accent, and subtle inflection uttered in those two syllables.
It felt like home.
“Mom!!!!….she’s awake……she said something….Oh my God, Dad…..come quick!!!!!”
Justice? I thought as my mind struggled to make sense.
“Mom!!! I’m here. Wake up, please,” I could better make out my son’s voice.
“It’s time,” his voice was a soothing lullaby. “Let’s go, Laura.”
“Ok, Dad,” I managed with my last breath.
“Wake up! Laura!”
“Mom! Did you hear that?”
“Laura!!! Yes, yes.”
“What’d she say?”
“Did she say ‘dad?’”
I’ve been bouncing around from thread to thread throughout this process. It’s helpful to be able to wave lighter exchanges with my father with some of the heavier ones. I wrote to him about the notes his coworkers gave us and about how one of his coworkers said my dad “saved her life.” I hadn’t thought about that in a long time and I remembered how upset I was at the time. I tried to bring that through in the letters. Not super fun, though. (here is a part of our exchange– in reverse order).
November 16, 2001
Just know that I was not alone in my final minutes. I was not in pain. I am at peace now. Remember what I always said: I’ll never know if I’m wrong about God, so that means I’m right. Have faith in His plan. It is impossible to understand all the mysteries of the world now. Our minds have limitations. Words alone cannot explain the Truth.
November 15, 2001
I just got back from a little get-together memorial thing with people from your job. They invited all of your co-workers and we had lunch together. It was in some hotel in the city. Me and Mom and Tom and Owen all went. It was so weird, Dad, seeing the people that you spent your last minutes on earth with…they were all so alive and well. Why didn’t you make it out? I don’t understand. There was this one woman who seemed to be looking for me….for us. I overheard her asking people if they were related to Richie. When she finally got to me and I said yes, she started crying and thanking me…she kept saying that you saved her life that day. I just kept shaking my head no….I couldn’t stand to look at her. I don’t think I said anything back, I just kept staring and listening to her go on about the last elevator from the 78th floor and how you let her go in your spot. Why, Dad? Why couldn’t you fit in too? She said that when she got to the ground the elevator shaft exploded or something. Oh god it was so awful to hear…to imagine. I just can’t get her words out of my head… “Your father saved my life.” Those words keep repeating over and over again. Do you remember that? Is it true? You should have been in that room with your coworkers today. I am so heartbroken.
I love you and miss you so much,