Jared Padalecki asked recently for fans to share with him something “Supernatural” or #AlwaysKeepFighting has given them. While my story is not exactly about “Supernatural,” I know for a fact that there are similar people out there who have the same kinds of stories about the series touching their own lives.
As fans of these shows, we connect with the stories and characters in a much deeper way than the casual viewer. You and your fellow cast and crew have touched many lives, I promise you. “Supernatural” has shown us family is about more than blood. That loss can be overcome. That sometimes all you really need is to dig a little deeper. That it’s OK to lean on the ones you trust when shit gets rough. “Supernatural” will go down as one of the best TV shows period. And we fans are grateful to have gone on the ride with you guys.
As fans we rarely get to connect with the real person behind a character on our favorite shows. When I first heard about your Represent.com campaign, it was really odd because one of our partners here at Dread Central had just met with a friend of his who works with Represent.com maybe a couple weeks before that. I clicked on the link you posted out of curiosity and read your thoughts about your friend’s passing and your own struggles with depression. The sincerity with which you spoke about your campaign and how open you were was amazingly brave.
(For those unaware, Jared began a campaign through Represent.com that has since finished its fundraising benefiting To Write Love on Her Arms, a non=profit organization dedicated to helping those suffering from depression, self injury, and addiction.)
I’d like to share with you some things that happened to me recently that illustrate how much shows like “Supernatural” can move and inspire fans. Like I said before, my story is not about the show itself but my love for it, and the thought of one of you guys hurting the same way drove me to put this all down in words.
My mom passed away a year ago this month. I’ve stared at that sentence for several minutes as I type this, it is still so unreal to me. She had a stroke suddenly that left her hospitalized for several months until her passing. The experience was the worst thing I have faced in my life thus far. It left me feeling hopeless, lost, and overwhelmed. Here it is a year later, and I am still figuring out how to accept it. I’ve lost a few people along the way, but nothing hit me as hard as her passing has.
I remember constantly thinking of that scene from “The Body” episode of “Buffy” throughout the entire time. It might as well have been on loop in my mind. I would push it out of my thoughts, but I kept thinking of how it was going to be when she passed. I always found that scene so amazingly honest and powerful. Suddenly I was barreling toward facing the same moment, and I kept finding myself asking how it would be. Would it be the same? How was I going to handle it when the time came? I didn’t want to admit it, but I was continually revisiting that scene in my head preparing myself for what was coming.
I spent almost three months at the hospital. I would come home drained physically and emotionally. My only real escape from all the stress of the day was shows like “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” and “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.” At the time I was also binge-watching “Community” (I’ll come back to that), which I had just finally started, and “American Horror Story: Coven.” I remember I came home one night fairly late and turned on “AHS” while I just sat on the couch staring off into space. I recall looking up and seeing Stevie Nicks on screen as she sat at a piano and sang to Jessica Lange. It was like she was singing to me directly; I had actually never heard that song before that night, but it was so applicable to everything. A simple, albeit rather moving scene would somehow encapsulate everything I was feeling and thinking. Just a perfect moment. There are tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I played that song at my mom’s bedside for her, we played it at her memorial as well, and there will never be a time that it won’t remind me of her.
I mentioned “Community.” I was just starting Season 4 when my mom had her stroke. By the time she had passed, I was just about halfway through Season 5 when the news came down that the show was canceled. I had just lost one of, if not the most important person in my life up to this point, and now I was losing the people who helped me get through it all too. To anyone other than a fan, that would sound silly. It’s “just a show” after all. But I resolved to never watch the final episode. Somehow I figured if I didn’t watch it, those characters would always be there. I would save it for a rainy day in the far off future, and it wouldn’t have to be over; there would always be one more episode. I remember thinking, ‘At least I still have “Supernatural”.’ Thankfully “Community” was picked up by YAHOO!, and the minute I heard that, I watched the last episode of the season in anticipation of Season 6.
I know you as Sam Winchester, but I know you are much more than that. As a fan I want to say this to you and all the “Supernatural” family with all sincerity… thank you. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the near hopeless moments, and the victories that shook the heavens. Thank you for giving us all a place to escape to. A place where we can battle demons but still share a drink with the King of Hell. A place where we can confront loss and learn to carry on. A place where our loved ones live on in their own private heaven even. A place where two brothers have saved not only the world but themselves on more than one occasion through sheer stubborn will and resolve. A place where we can hunt things and help people. You know, the family business.
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