Three years ago I sat down to watch the premiere of a new Showtime original series, The Big C, with Laura Linney. I fell in love with both. Last night I watched the final episode.
The story follows Cathy Jamison, a Minneapolis teacher, wife and mother who gets diagnosed with stage four melanoma. She's terminal. We watch as she moves through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Cathy begins doing the things she's always wanted to do. Not just a bucket list; a new way of living. A more honest way. A way in which she truly appreciates the gift we all take for granted at one time or another: life.
I won't give anything away, because if you haven't seen it, you should.
Last night's episode was the series finale. This fourth season was a mini-season. Four hour-long episodes--each which tore my heart out of my chest. I won't spoil the ending, but you've probably figured it out.
So, I have often asked myself, why are you watching this show? Haven't you dealt with enough cancer and death in your life? I could never really answer the question. Yes, the writing is amazing. The acting is out of this world, and well....I do love Laura Linney, but there was more. It wasn't until last night when Cathy asked a Hospice nurse why she did the work she did and the nurse replied, "When people are close to dying, they open up like a flower." I immediately began sobbing. That was the answer.
There is something beautiful in death. Something that strips us of all our worries, pressures, expectations. There is only that moment and that moment alone. It's the ultimate letting go. It's the one moment we will all share--regardless of the circumstances, the time, or the place. We will all have that final moment when we let go.
Why do I call The Big C a masterclass in living? Because if we can remember what it all comes down to, maybe we can live a little lighter, worry a little less, love a little more and do what we were intended to do. Live life to it's fullest.
For this life, that's all there is.