Epilogue —— Death and Its Lesson
Well, that’s it, I finished my writing with this series, “13 Reasons Why”. This entry will be the last article about this drama series. I hope you enjoyed reading it and I am looking forward to your feedback.
Before I closed my writing on this series for good (unless there is something good to follow up in season 2), I want to talk about the issue of “death.”
The whole drama centers on a teenage girl, Hannah, who took her own life, and her friends and family’s reaction to her death. We saw her process and decision to take her own life. We saw her parents’ anguish, anger, and puzzle about her death. We also see her friend’s reaction, mainly, guilt, about her death.
When I started preparing this project, I lost my grandfather very suddenly. Yes, he was 96, but he has been very healthy. It took only five weeks from the time he started to feel unwell to his death. Losing my grandfather was the fifth time in my life when I lost a very close family member.
If I learned something about death, that is: it is so final. The funny thing is that: it’s like a breakup with your loved one. I have worked with a lot of individuals and couples through a relationship breakup. For the couples with the children, you always have your children to tie you together, and you always know how the other person is doing through your children. For other breakups, you can always stalk the news about the other person via social media.
However, losing a person to death is very final. This person is no longer going to be in the world. For everything you have not done, have not said, or wish it could have happened, there is no more chance to “make it up.”
As I watched everyone’s reaction to this drama, I asked myself: what do we learn from death?
The answer is: to live at here and now.
Everyone, including myself, spends a lot of time worrying, planning, and thinking about the future from our experiences in the past. I am not saying that we shouldn’t be doing so. We improve our lives by learning from the past experiences to plan our future. However, this idea is all good if that’s about “things” in life, such as career, house, transportation.
When it comes to the interaction with the human beings, it is all about now. Let’s take the characters in this drama as an example, most of their fear, hurt, guilt coming from preventing their past negative experiences from other people to the future.
It is when they lost a friend/a student/a daughter when they started to question: “what have I not done?”
We don’t get the human encounters back when the person is gone.
Planning a romantic date sounds like a good idea, but it is also important to spend 5 minutes a day to listen to your partner/significant other talking to you. How many times did you pass out on the couch at the end of the night watching TV but unable to listen to your partner talking about his/her day for five minutes?
Planning a company retreat/meeting to improve the cohesiveness sounds like a good idea, but when you greet your coworkers, it is also nice to stop your walk and give a sincere smile and genuinely listen to them talking about their work. How many times your coworkers/employees walking by you and say “how are you” but you walking by them while saying “good, good” without even stopping?
Planning a getaway with your friends sounds like a good idea but a text or a phone call to check in a friend who is going through a tough time in life on a regular basis is also a good idea. How many times are you too busy to live your life or too tired of your friend’s “negativity” to listen to your friend’s difficult time?
At the end of this series, I would like to invite you to be a good listener to a person in your life for five minutes a day. All you need to do is to put down what you are doing and give a person five minutes of your time to listen to him/her attentively.
Death teaches us that all we have is now. So, can you, please, take 5 minutes a day to listen to someone attentively without giving advice or suggestions, just listen.
Then, keep a journal as to how this experience is like for you. If you want to share with me, I would love to hear from your experiences.
We spend a lot of time planning the future to avoid the past mistakes, but we forget to live at here and now.
The human encounters only happen at present, not the past or the future.
Pick an essential person in your life. Give this person five minutes of your time every day. Just asked him/her how his/her day was and be a listener, no suggestions or advise needed. All you have to do is listen. Then, write down your own experiences of being a listener.
If I have learned something about being a therapist, that is: no one is perfect, and there is no therapist or a friend can be your savior. You have to be your savior no matter what happened. I tell my clients all the time: “If I am not a good match for you as a therapist, by all means, please fire me and go find someone else. At the end of the day, your life is much more important than my feelings.”
Please remember: “YOU ARE IMPORTANT” and don’t let anyone decide whether you are going to seek help or not. If you are in a difficult spot in your life right now, please continue to seek help no matter how many people you have to talk to find that person who can help you.
Here is the link to the original novel of “13 reasons why”
Here is the link to the Netflix drama of “13 reasons why”
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network hotline 800-656-4673
National Suicide Prevention Hotline hotline 1-800-273-8255
From Fiction to Reality: “13 Reasons Why” Series Articles