If you know me or read my shit, you know I am often overly sensitive. I am empathic and have my own mental issues and because of this, typical life occurrences – even when they are not happening to me directly – affect me more than the “average bear”.
My daughter (9) walked in while I was watching the new Showtime series, Time of Death. She may have noticed tears in my eyes and asked me what I was watching. I told her it was a show about very sick people who are dying. Her reply was the same exact reply most of my friends and family would give, “Why would you want to watch that?!”
Not only am I an emotional person, but, as some of you may know, I have an almost obsessive phobia of death. Much of my anxiety comes from this stupid (sometimes crippling) fear. So, most people who know me would tell me to stop watching stuff like this. But I can’t. And I don’t want to. I watch documentaries and read books about death, dying, afterlife, etc. And while some might think this only perpetuates my fears, it truly does not. It’s kinda like exposure therapy, I suppose. So quit telling me what to watch, damnit! Gesh.
Time of Death is a truly remarkable 6 part series (really hoping there will be more) that follows the end of life for a couple of different people in each episode. And throughout all of the episodes, there is one continuing story that deals with a family whose 48-year-old mother is dying from cancer. During this series, you really get to know this family and their struggles.
Maria was a single mother of 3 children – 2 teenagers and 1 adult daughter. The filmmakers do some brief interviews, but it is mostly just a view into their daily lives – some footage taken with handheld cameras carried by Little, the 25-year-old (very beautiful, strong and intelligent) daughter. During the time of their filming, Maria’s teen children struggled with their dire circumstances by lashing out. And the older daughter had not only the challenge of her mother’s illness and impending death, but also taking on the responsibility of younger siblings.
This family did not hold back. They were honest and raw. And they allowed us to watch; subsequently growing from their experiences. I have such admiration and respect for Little and her mother. And my heart goes out to the kids, whom even though they were making terrible choices, did they best they knew how at the time. They were scared and angry and they simply didn’t know how to process those emotions. And I do not doubt they will live with some regret. I say this due to my own personal experience with my father who died at 46 – after our long estrangement.
I finished watching episode 5 two nights ago and I still cannot get them out of my mind. In that episode, Maria died. And even though everyone watching was expecting that outcome – I mean, obviously – I suppose I wasn’t ready for it quite yet. I wanted her to have more time with her family. Quality time. Without the illness caused by the chemo and radiation. I wanted her to have the chance to have her younger kids come home from foster care before she left this earth. I wanted her to find peace while still here.
But that just isn’t how life plays out much of the time. We don’t all get Hollywood endings with closure and reconciliation. Life can be ugly and gross and full of bullshit. Death, equally so. I suppose it is our job to find the beauty, meaning and essence in both when we can; and cross our fingers and count on others when we can’t.
Below are two clips from the show. And below that is the first full episode. I dare you not to be riveted and emotionally exposed. I dare you not to care about these people and really think about what is TRULY important in your own life.
Free full episode: