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Archive for January, 2019

A Broadway Show

Last weekend I went to New York to see my youngest son, Jason. He received tickets to a Broadway show for Christmas, and, lovely surprise, wanted Mom to be his date.  I love spending time with this young man. We have wonderful conversations about books, friends, life. We sit on the couch in his Upper East Side apartment, sharing a whiskey, talking into the wee hours of the morning. One of the joys of my life. I was looking forward to seeing a show with him. If I had remembered what he had told me about the story line of the musical, however, I wouldn’t have gone.

The show was Dear Evan Hanson. A musical that has won six Tony awards and a Grammy award. The music was wonderful, the dancing terrific, the staging unique. And the story line heart wrenching, for me triggering. You see, it is a story about a socially  awkward young man (Evan) who invents a friendship with a young man (Connor) who kills himself in the first few minutes of the show. Evan’s lies comfort Connor’s family, and it all sparks a movement about suicide. It is an important conversation that is often hidden in today’s society.  We try to sweep suicides under the rug. We feel shame that our loved one decided to end their own lives. We believe that it is our fault. We don’t speak of them, as if their death negates their lives. We grieve in silence, pretend to have moved on, for to do otherwise is to invite judgement by society. Unless someone has experienced it, they don’t understand that suicide causes a grief like no other. We have guilt like no other. If someone dies of cancer, do we blame ourselves? No. We believe it is fate, or God’s will, or it was because they smoked.  If someone dies by suicide, the survivors will always believe there was something they could have done to prevent their loved one’s death. We have failed, in our love, in our roles of loved ones. In the show, Connor’s parents feel like they have failed in their roles as parents.  I failed in my role as wife. I should have seen the anguish he was in, and been able to stop him.

In the beautiful Music Box Theater, I cried through half the show. My hand clutched by my son, my head on his shoulder, tears falling unfettered down my cheeks and onto my blouse. Thank goodness we were in the back.  This musical, no matter how difficult, was an important one for Jason and I to see together. An important step in our healing. One song in particular pierced my heart. And gave me hope. Hope that someone, somewhere would hear this song and put down the gun they had aimed at their head, or flush the bottle of pills down the toilet instead of down their throat, or drop the razor in the trash.  Evan’s lies created a movement. An awareness of suicide.  A powerful prayer. I hope it translates from the stage into the world.

“You Will Be Found”
(from “Dear Evan Hansen” soundtrack)

[EVAN:]
Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay
‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will come running
And I know, they’ll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you’re broken on the ground
You will be found

So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found
You will be found
You will be found
You will be found
If you are in the depths of despair, as I have been several times since Tim’s suicide, reach out your hand. Someone will come. Someone will find you.  I will come, as others have come for me. If you want to listen to the song, here it is:
https://youtu.be/mSfH2AuhXfw

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