I don't know when I become so emotional, but my best guess is to tie it to becoming a mother. I never used to cry. I think if I cried when I got hurt as a kid my mother would rush me to the ER. And emotionally I was a tomboy and for some reason never wanted to cry around other people when it came to feelings.
But I've just come from watching the final season premiere of ER, a show which I've seen most of over the 15 years it's been airing. I can still remember the series premiering in September 1994. I was entering high school, and my mom let me know that I could stay up late on Thursday nights to watch it, just her and I. It was "our thing". We hung in there for the first 5 years together before we started to fade from it. University brought commuting, jobs, filmmaking and a hundred other commitments, all of which edged out the show. Over the years I've come in and out, catching at least some of each season, and staying fairly on top of the characters.
And today as I watched the premiere of the 15th season, I was a total wreck. One of the lead characters lost his life; thank goodness no one was around to witness the tears streaming down my face.
As I'm sitting watching the screen, I'm telling myself inside that it's a little ridiculous. First of all, it's not real. Second of all, it's not real! Third, I'm a filmmaker myself and know all the tricks in the trade on how to manipulate a viewer's emotions. Oh yeah, and did I mention it's not real?
Didn't matter. I'm up there blubbering like a fool, with no kleenex box in site, trying to catch each word because I've got the volume at "1" because the kids are napping. Each scene milked my emotions for all they were worth, adding element upon element until there was no hope for my recovery.
You know, it wasn't even really the show itself that was making me cry, because he wasn't even a favourite character. It wasn't really the idea of death, because I haven't experienced the loss of someone really close to me, and I have a firm belief of seeing those who pass on after this life. What I think it really was, was the idea of not being able to see someone I love, someone who loves me, someone whose daily existence in my life is so important that I would feel the acute emptiness of the days without that person. I would miss their influence in my life and who I was because of him or her. All those people I see day in and day out, with whom I have seemingly mundane interactions like cooking a meal or going for a walk. The thought that one minute all that is taken from me is what really made me a sucker for that episode today.
It's not real. I know that. I also know that good stories and good writing are borrowed from our lives. What makes us connect with film and television is that we've been there, and we intimately know those emotions. And so I allowed myself a good cry, allowed myself to share it here, and now I think I'll go hammer some more pickets into my fence.