WARNING: spoilers and emotions ahead. Read at your own risk! 😉
Practically every Tuesday night, you can find me on the couch, 9PM, some chips and salsa, and glued in to This Is Us and the Pearson family. And, of course, then for a second time on Hulu with my mom so that I make sure she is caught up, too. And if you’re like me, the last couple of episodes have hit you at your core and turned on the water works. Yes, yes – it tends to happen every episode, but these were pivotal. And when I started this series last year, I didn’t realize I’d be living out the major storyline: losing your dad.
I’ve always been drawn to Jack Pearson as a character, but it wasn’t until recently that I knew why. I had a real life Jack Pearson, I had Scott Frost. A patriarch, a husband and father. One who loves his family and would do anything for them. Jack going back into that house fire to save the dog and any memories he could was the equivalent of my dad choosing amputation for a chance. They both sacrificed themselves unintentionally for their family. My dad and I had a relationship similar to that of Jack and his daughter, Kate. We had a love of sports, music, and a great sense of humor. He was so many things: our chef, our cheerleader, our teacher, our everything…irreplaceable. My go-to guy. Dad always made sure I knew my worth and I can do whatever I put my mind to. That’s a life lesson I’m so thankful for and I still have to remind myself of daily. Many days I still need those pep talks.
Of course, the latest episodes will touch anyone who’s had a loss in their family differently than most. What I loved was how real it was and how relatable it was to our experience. Seeing that urn for the first time and being angry/sad/numb in the same emotion. There’s the memorial reception where others come to release their grief, but mine had barely begun and still thinking this can’t possibly be real life, I can’t actually do this. But the part that hits the hardest is finally, out loud, saying “we’re going to be ok”. That’s the moment that broke me inside, because it’s time to move forward. Because Dad wants us to move forward. And because it’s the first time a new normal is given the go-ahead.
Even as a fictional story, this show has given me so much in only 32 episodes. I look forward to learning from the Pearsons as they heal. But most importantly, to watch the character of Jack Pearson, who gives me a chance to see some of my Dad every week. To watch it and know that…This Is Us.