Dear Ricky Gervais,

I was meant to write this letter to you when I finished watching the first series of After Life last year, and last night I finished watching the second series. It spoke to me even louder than the last . I could write essays upon essays about the dialogue that After Life creates, that people are too uncomfortable to address in their everyday lives. 

Someone suggested that I shouldn’t have watched After Life because it made me cry so much. And I must admit that after binge watching the 2nd season in an afternoon, I was left with a bit of a grief hangover today. 

I’ve been there. No, not a widowed middle-aged man with an alcohol problem. But I’ve been at the point where life’s unrelenting conveyor belt  is ushering you to keep moving forward but you are still frantically trying to scramble against time to stay close to the person you lost.

Our Mum passed away in September of 2018. Life stopped for me there and I was okay with that. I had no interest in moving forward with my life. I dug my heels in for the rest of the year but found myself entering 2019 anyway. All I could think of was how I had left my mum behind in 2018. I wanted was to stay static in time and sift through old memories. I wanted to recall how easily I existed with my mum, the way that Tony does as he replays videos upon videos of Lisa. 

But life continues. So, you go to work, and do anything to dodge conversation. It’s not that you have nothing to say, but you can’t simply resume the trivial chat you once had before you knew your grief. You hold your breath until you finally reach home where you are safe behind your locked door. You can finally open your laptop screen and drink up those memories of your person that you know so well, of a safer time. 

We are all going to grieve in our lives, it is unavoidable – yet nobody talks about it, nobody teaches it. What does the word “grief” even mean? I’ve spent most of my life in education but the word “grief” was alien to me, until, overnight it became a poignant part of my reality.

So, I wanted to write this letter to thank you and your team for bringing to life such a true depiction of what living with grief is. I want to thank you for allowing families to hunker down of an evening, to turn on their TVs and have a glimpse at what life after death can be and perhaps have a conversation about grief.

Like many people in our society, my uncle would prefer to dodge the conversation about loss and throw himself into his work with a life goes on attitude. Like many people, he’s comforted by the distraction of his occupied mind at work. But I saw him shed a little tear as he watched your series, as he allowed himself to revisit that time when he lost his sister. Life does go on, yes, but after loss, life will never be the same again, and in my opinion, that is worth a conversation.

Through the creation of our blog over the last 18 months, my younger sister and I have learnt to not only talk about it, but to normalise the conversation about grief after our Mum passed away. And we can draw so many similarities from Tony’s grief to our own. And, I wanted to tell you that two young girls have never related more to the dark sense of humour of a middle aged man who was awkwardly getting to know his grief. And isn’t that just it? We grieve and we hurt, but we are still allowed to keep our sense of humour, if not a little darker by the bruise that loss leaves, it’s still there.  

 Thankfully we are not in that dark place anymore, and our walk with grief is less reluctant today in our own After Life. 

Best wishes, 

Katie 

Co Creator of The Grief Reality. 

 

26 thoughts on “Dear Ricky Gervais,

  1. I am watching. My favorite quote: “If I become an arsehole, and I do and say what the fuck I want for as long as I want, and then when it all gets too much, I can always kill myself. It’s like a superpower.”

  2. Katie and Evee,
    My grief timeline is roughly parallel to yours (Nov. 2018) and I watched a series of shows including After Life, The Kominsky Method and the one with the two women who become friends after one runs over the other’s husband – oops, spoiler alert (the title of which escapes me at the moment). Couldn’t get enough. Couldn’t cry enough. I think it was ultimately very helpful in getting my feet squared under me again. Whatever it takes. Thanks for your honest appraisal/sharing of the process of grief. Wishing you both well.

  3. I lost my mom almost 22 years ago, and while I no longer have full-blown grief over it, I have moments of ‘needing’ her still. People rally around us in our initial grief, but go back to their own lives with little thought that we will linger in it for months and years. Social media allows us to memorialize their birthdays in heaven and even the date of their passing, but I suspect it’s done with the hope of someone reaching out to us with meaningfullness and understanding that goes deeper than a virtual hug or “sorry for your loss” statement. I’m so glad to follow your blog as you continue on your grief journey and to understand what kind of mire you still go through after all this time!

    1. This is a beautiful comment, thank you so much for sharing it. I was wondering if I could post this as part of our As Told By You page? I think it would spark a lovely conversation. Have a wonderful day!

  4. Grieving is my way of adjusting to a permanent change that is so personal I can’t pretend I can change it by changing my perspective. It’s my way of absorbing one of the painful truths about being human. The depth relates to my passion for that which is lost. I think grieving is my way of staying sane. Thanks for this post.

      1. You are kind. Yes, I think grief, like most of our experience, can be useful. I guess the trick is to avoid becoming the grief. I appreciate your blogs.

  5. I just loved the honesty he portrayed in this series… and it was so comforting to watch. Having lost my Dad at 23 in 1985 I had no where to go with the grief and so I drank over it.. it took until 1999 for it to begin to emerge for me and it complicated my life and relationships in so many ways.. We need more shows like After Life. I loved how he stood up to the people who tried to shut him down.. I only understood very recently we need permission to grieve and grief can be blocked by those around us, just not willing to go there or even allow us to.

  6. Thank you for writing this . I hope to be writing many like these myself . I lost my mum at the age of 35 with no warning and just after I was harsh with her about something . This was nearly four years ago but I’ll be honest I’m only just starting to process it . It was only me and her growing up so no siblings and my absent father died when I was 19 . She raised my children with me and quite frankly she wasn’t finished raising them so I still get angry about that . We talk about her all the time in fact just this morning . Her sayings and rituals thread through our life and will continue to do so forever – in that way she never left her . When I’m feeling overwhelmed I sit on the bathroom floor and listen to her last voicemail – I completely relate to after life and I equally have a very dark sense of humour ! My best friend received a phone call from her mum and dad yesterday in the space of 40 minutes and I said “look at you showing off with your two alive parents “ luckily she knows me well enough to laugh 😂❤️ thanks again for your words they were very comforting

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