It’s just a tv show…

Yesterday, my husband and I got into watching the first season of the tv show “The Killing”.  A very ugly name and a very ugly story line but somehow we found ourselves drawn into it.  There aren’t many shows that we watch on tv and the drama and intensity of it was well done.  Otherwise, it was very hard to watch. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who has lost a child in the last several years and even after years, proceed with caution.

If you don’t know the show, it is about a 17-year-old girl who has been murdered and is found in the trunk of a mayoral candidate’s campaign car.  It takes place in Seattle and the candidate is also a city Councilman.  The detective who finds her is on her way to California to get married and settle into a new life with her teenaged son but she gets caught up in trying to solve the case with the guy she is supposed to be training, a less than polished say-whatever-you’re-thinking kind of guy who is too quick to jump to conclusions.  The reason I bring it up here is because as tv shows go, they spend an unusual amount of time on the family’s grief .

I applaud the show for including more of the realities of this kind of situation, and not just the legal side of it.  Since just about every other show on tv is about horrific crime and the police officers or legal system who deal with them, I think people forget about all the others who are left in the wake of those crimes. There is so much pain and anguish associated with them and most of these shows only treat these from a justice or vengeance point of view.  This one brought us along with the family on a personal level and not just from the investigative perspective.

We saw them shattered, trying to hide pain from each other, dealing with insensitive events and people, confused, angry, depressed, blaming, neglectful, hurtful to others- all the things that come with searing grief.  I am pleased that the producers did not shrink away from this part of the story line because people need to see that too.  They need to see that it’s not just about getting the bad guy and banging heads.

Now, there was a lot that they didn’t get right and I couldn’t help but keep commenting on that as I watched.  For example, the mom was up and dressed and getting the other kids breakfast on day 2 after it happened and the father went out on a job (he owned a moving company).  In other words, they were still walking around, functioning, talking… And there were no people around, except the sister who was there all the time anyway.  Now that’s really not normal.  The daughter clearly had friends and they seemed like regular folk who probably knew lots of people.  Where were all the neighbors and friends who bring food and comfort?

They did refer to not doing well, doing “the best they could” and things like that.  And when the mom went to the grocery store, she saw someone she knew and waved to her and the woman very uncomfortably walked away- that could happen.

But anyone who has been through this experience knows that you probably wouldn’t even be getting out of bed for a few days at least or if you did, you certainly wouldn’t be talking and acting even close to normally.  So some scenes clearly looked more like they would several months after the daughter’s death, not just days. That part just wasn’t realistic.  That’s unfortunate because it sends a message that you should be able to function and keep it together when you lose someone as important as a child- you may not “be yourself” and you’ll feel bad but you can still work and cook and do what you used to do, all within the first 2 weeks.

There is so much more that I could get into about this story and what they did and didn’t do but I have to leave it for now.  I am just happy that they included what they did even with its faults.  The more that people see real grief portrayed, even if it’s on a tv police drama, the more we can direct the conversation toward better understanding for everyone.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vince Chough
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 10:22:16

    Following your blog I try to imagine interactions with people. They say a few words, maybe helpful, maybe not, and the moment could be uncomfortable or even intense. Then they go on with their lives, and you must trudge forward alone again.

    This is the part we who have not lost can never fully comprehend. The solitude.

    Thank you again for this blog.


    • Cindyss
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 12:14:37

      Hi Vince
      Sorry I’m so late in responding to you on this one. I wanted to say that one thing about this is that one does get used to it and altho’ it’s hard, you realize that most people really are good at heart and mean well. This is really the reason I am getting into this work. I want everyone to to be more comfortable talking about death and grief so that we can all care for each other better and be more at ease with each other’s pain. Thanks for your comments!


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