Home > Death, Entertainment, Los Angeles, Nerd, Personal, Reflections > Lex & Angel take a stand against grief. Kinda.

Lex & Angel take a stand against grief. Kinda.

On February 23, 2010, comfort was hard for me to find.

I was taking care of my then five-month-old son solo while working remotely from my mom’s home in Oregon, all the while trying to prepare for the inevitability of soon saying my final farewell to my mom.

Monday’s post helped me remember my mom’s life instead of the days leading up to the end of it, but that only goes so far. Today, for example, my heart believes very much that it is living February 23, 2010 and February 23, 2012 simultaneously.

As written on TMiYC’s Facebook page this morning:

Yesterday I wrote about how the Mayan calendar was cyclical, not linear and conclusively ending.

So, too, with grief. There isn’t a set amount of grief that becomes gradually and predictably lesser day by day. Rather, there are ebbs and flows.

As this Gregorian calendar year’s cycle nears March 4, I’m in a flow of mourning, remembering these days two years ago.

And yet, looking through the source document for a book I might someday write–with my sisters–about my mom, I was startled and pleased to remember that there was some comfort in unexpected places.

Let’s step in a time machine back to my law school days, shall we?

A die-hard Joss Whedon fan, I celebrated and supported all things Whedon-related during my law school days. I seized every opportunity I could to be an extra on Whedon’s shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and even (once) Firefly. When I learned Angel‘s David Boreanaz would be playing at a charity hockey event, I was in. So in.

Except, when I got to the event, I realized I wasn’t much of a hockey fan. In fact, the only thing that kept my attention on the game at all was this guy named Michael Rosenbaum, known to many as Smallville’s Lex Luthor.

It wasn’t him, exactly; rather, it was his impact on the menfolk who’d clearly been dragged to the game by their wives.

Watching Rosenbaum play with skill even I could appreciate, I saw many of the men go from half-asleep and disengaged to actually being present. Something good was happening! Real sport was being played!

Men’s enthusiastic voices began to punctuate the silence. “Rosenbaum!” “Rosey!” “Go, Rosey!”

I didn’t expect to think about that game or Michael Rosenbaum ever again, but the thing about going to school at UCLA was that lots of movie premieres happened right off campus. One such premiere was of Rosenbaum’s film Sorority Boys. I nabbed a free pass to the premiere on a trip into Westwood for ice cream.

When the stars of the movies came into the “civilian” theater to say hello, I yelled “Rosey!” in my attempt at a booming, masculine hockey fan voice before bursting into a fit of giggles. Rosenbaum looked around with a question on his face as I sank into my seat.

A few moments later, I found myself unable to resist a repeat. “Rosey!” I boomed.

Rosenbaum looked around again and said something like, “Seriously, who’s saying that?”

At a friend’s urging, I stood up and waved. Rosenbaum came over and thanked me for calling him out specifically, since he’d felt a little uncertain about his reception in the company of some big hitters. I told him about why I was calling him “Rosey,” earning a smile from him that mirrored my own.

After I’d finished giving the background, he thanked me again and shook my hand. I didn’t suppose I’d often think of the encounter again, but what did I know?

On February 24, 2010, I posted the following Facebook status:

Deborah Bryan is watching bits of Smallville in her mom’s room and remembering Michael Rosenbaum thanking her for helping him feel not left out.

For whatever reason, my mom found comfort in Smallville in her final days. Sometimes I’d find it hard to think or talk over the show, and would ask to turn the show down or off for a few minutes at a time. Others, I’d remember my brief encounter with Rosenbaum and smile instead.

The strangest things can be a comfort in hard times. Except, in my case, it wasn’t so strange at all. Seeing “Rosey” bringing my mom much-needed distraction brought me some of my own comfort as I felt the connectedness of all our moments: 2003, 2010, Eugene, Los Angeles. Distance in time and space, I saw, mean so little to the heart.

Rereading this February 24, 2010 status is a reminder that I ought not misperceive that only February 2010 and 2012 co-exist at this moment. Added over those layers of grief are other, related layers of life and joy: a charity hockey game to which I was led by my love of all things Joss. A movie premiere made much more memorable for what I took away from a charity hockey game. A handshake and a chance encounter with Joss at comic book shop.

In that encounter, Joss wrote words in my journal that make me smile all these years later:

It’s impossible to not be sad sometimes, but it is possible to remember, with the right reminders, that grief is only one part of the extraordinary range of feelings we’ll experience as we wind our way through life and deaths.

I’m grieving, it’s true. But it’s also true that I am counting myself deeply grateful for all the expected and unexpected joyous encounters past on the calendar but present in my heart. And, more specifically, at this moment, to two strangers whose moments and words spared many years ago continue to inspire and comfort me today.

There is indeed much left to rejoice and anticipate.

Thanks for the reminder, Rosey. Joss.

This was among posts accidentally deleted from this blog.
Reposted 8/15/15

  1. August 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    You met Joss Whedon!?!?! Whoa. Just…Whoah!!! 🙂 (That’s all I got on this.)

    • August 15, 2015 at 6:59 pm

      I met him a few times, actually, on account of the extra work. This was the best of them all, though; having just said goodbye to my mom and my sister, feeling so glum, I had that totally unexpected, uplifting encounter. So that one, that was my favorite by far. 🙂

  2. August 15, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    Wait, wait, wait. You were on Firefly?!?!???

    • August 15, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      I was! I was on Bushwhacked. I was one of the medics assisting the Reaver victim off Serenity. (That I got to be on it all was a testament to being nice to strangers, too!)

      • August 15, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        Overcome with jealousy! I watch Castle for the vague Firefly references thrown in now and then.

    • August 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      (That’s to say, I should not have been on it, but–was!)

  3. August 16, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Thoughtful post. I’m glad you found all of these!

    • August 16, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      Me, too! A couple are lost, but the bulk were (happily) retrievable. This one ends up being important for one I’ll write later this week, so it was time to return it. 🙂

  1. August 18, 2015 at 2:45 am
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