The shows, Station 19 and Grey’s Anatomy do something to me. I tape a few weekly series, on our PVR, and I often get caught up in binge mode. There seems to be a pattern, though, when I watch anything produced or written by Shonda Rhimes lately – I end up having really good stuff that is triggered and that I need to process. There is something about Shondaland productions and I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

Our Walk on the Fort Creek Hub Trail:

As I hope that you get outdoors and enjoy this gorgeous spring weather this week, the following is to get you motivated.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Since I don’t like to force my shows on my husband, I tend to watch them when he is at work. Considering that he works shiftwork, I usually watch them alone and when the house is quiet. Many, many times, I am in tears or wailing uncontrollably during an episode, hoping that our country neighbours don’t hear me out our open windows.

There is certainly nothing wrong with crying, I highly recommend it; however, I am just vividly aware that I am often triggered to memories, stressful events or unresolved trauma when I watch. The other day, there was a funeral on Station 19 and I had to journal for an hour afterward. It reminded me that healing, from any type of grief, is an on-going process and that I need to have plenty of Kleenex nearby.

I ended up Googling Shonda Rhimes. I had no idea what she looked like, that she reminds me of Oprah or that she was born the same year that I was. Shonda Rhimes is a producer, writer and creator of many shows, but her empire didn’t really take off until Grey’s Anatomy. Maybe it is the strong female characters or the taboo issues or the rawness of the topics, but her shows tend to go deep into real life and difficult and painful situations that people experience.

The reflection that Shondaland helped me to uncover this week was how essential it is to heal from unresolved grief. I questioned, as stuff was pouring out of my eyes and nose while an officer was getting dressed for the Station 19 funeral, why I was so deeply triggered. It was after I put the episode on pause that I began to think about how many people have died, in my world, where I was not able to attend funerals, grieve the incident or have some type of closure.

I realized that I was too young to attend my grandfather’s funeral, I was out of town when my aunt died and my former father-in-law of many years chose not to have a service when he died. I realized that the kind older gentleman, Bill, who I rented a room from for three months in British Columbia, whom I went for evening walks with and chatted, died shortly after I finished that project and left the province. I realized that many people who died on my shifts, in drownings or car accidents, when I was a police officer, were perfect strangers to me and I would not have even been invited to their funerals.

I realized that I was out of town when Emile, a man who many of us had helped to remodel his apartment, had died. I realized that clients, who I connected with over the years had passed away and it may have been awkward to attend their funerals. I realized that there were many, many people who I never got to formally say goodbye to, process their deaths or create closure on their fleeting or significant piece in my life.

That was a very meaningful insight for me. Thanks to Shondaland, I decided that it was important to formally say goodbye to anyone who had died but who I never had a chance to say goodbye to. Although I am a huge believer that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, I still needed closure on the deaths of some people who have crossed my life path. Maybe this may be important for you, as well.

I made a mental list of the people who I never got to grieve. I turned on instrumental nature music, lit a vanilla candle, went out my back deck and sat on a Muskoka chair, while my husband was working. I said goodbye to all of them, one at a time. Through all of the tears, I decided that they deserved to know that I was thinking of them and that I deserved more healing, in areas that I had no idea were still lingering in my subconscious mind.

During this process of saying goodbye, I literally felt the cells in my body vibrating and pulsing through my body, I felt a release of tension, I began to take deep breaths and I cried until the tears dried on my cheeks. Then, I blew out the candle. I had closure on almost two dozen lives that I didn’t get to celebrate. This few minutes of my time was so powerful for me.

Thank you Shonda Rhimes and your team of writers who continue to make quality television that makes us think. Since that is rare these days, I am grateful. I am grateful that your fictional soap opera-type dramas have impacted my life in some positive way. At least I will feel less guilty about some of my time eating, life wasting tv watching.

On this beautiful day to celebrate mothers, I wish my Mom and all of the Moms and God Moms in my family, Moms in my circle and network and Moms who are reading this, a year full of joy, love, peace and healing. When we decide that continuous healing is necessary for our emotional wellness, we have an even greater capacity for love.