If I’m being honest, I didn’t like Episode 508, Famous Last Words.
Not because it isn’t good. It is good. Maybe too good.
The first time I watched, my discomfort grew, as each flashback happened.
I buried it in the twin responses of surely that was the last flashback, and I don’t want this to be happening. Watching Roger suffer through PTSD, and relive his hanging over and over again, as the people outside him had no idea of his particular torment, its frequency, or its impact, hit home just a little too much for me. As did the theme of grief, loss, trauma. Ugh.
After watching it once, I felt stunned.
I knew I’d need to watch it again, to prep for our Episode 508 discussion,
and I dreaded it.
I finally watched on Monday afternoon, but I held it at arms’ length – pausing, rewinding, fast forwarding, skipping parts, I analyzed, and avoided feeling it, again.
On Tuesday, I found I wasn’t looking forward to discussing this episode, as I usually do. If there’d been an excuse outside myself to not do it, I would’ve leapt at it. To say I didn’t want to do it would mean letting the “why” surface. I was compartmentalizing, avoiding, denying. Maybe I could just go through the motions and get through it?
Oh Outlander, you do have a way about you, of working your way into the dark crevices that need healing; the ones we keep well hidden, like Young Ian.
We discussed. I felt vulnerable. I took things personally. I didn’t want to hear the detailed recounting of Roger’s hanging(s). Joking helped. Being with my friends helped. But there it was: the writing was great, the directing was excellent, the acting was superb, but I didn’t like it, no, I dislike it. It’s not you, Episode 508, it’s me. (Let’s do break up though).
I woke up and processed in the night, as I do.
I have experienced PTSD for the last two years, as part of my very delayed recovery from a terrifying childhood horseback riding accident. I buried that trauma, which has profoundly affected my body, mind and spirit for my whole life, thus far. Horses were my love, my dream, my passion, like Roger’s singing, and I was almost killed by one. The implications abound.
I didn’t even remember this incident until about 9 years ago, when I had a brain scan and the markers for severe head trauma were present. I began working through this trauma a little over two years ago, physically, emotionally, energetically. It’s been a road, including BPPV (vertigo), cervicogenic dizziness, fatigue, tinnitus, neck and back pain, MTBI symptoms, lots of physical therapy, doctors, and PTSD. Not 11 flashbacks in the span of an hour, like poor Roger, but weekly, and sometimes daily.
I am doing much better now, thank God. It’s been a very difficult time for me, and my family, to be honest.
I was just sailing though, putting that all behind me, until good old Episode 508 checked in to see just where things stand. It’s made me feel and look at the grief, mostly, that goes with having a lifelong, buried trauma, that you’ve carried alone, since childhood. And, it recalled the not so distant PTSD: unexpected, terrifying flashes.
As Sher of AB-Ootlanders wrote in her poignant piece about this episode:
“We also must be honest, as shown in this episode. Grief is not reserved for the dead. We grieve people we lose that have not died but are no longer in our life, whether that is by our choice or theirs. We grieve parts of ourselves that we have lost, due to trauma or illness. Grief changes who we are and that is o.k.
Even though grief is something nearly everyone in this world has in common, it is as unique as each person and the relationship they have with the person/piece of them who/that has died. There may be ‘stages’ of grief but none of us walk them the same or follow the path the way it may be expected. We may think we know how someone feels but we can’t, not genuinely. We can empathize with their pain but knowing it would mean we know every corner of their heart/mind and that is impossible. Allowing someone their personal grief journey is a gift. Grief heals.”
An individual’s journey through trauma, is just as unique, and it is a solitary path.
I appreciate this work, Outlander, She who writes it, and leads this community, the show, and all those whose work goes into creating it. I appreciate the community of people who share a love of Outlander and show up to write about it, discuss it, share, and grow from it.
Everyone who is alive experiences trauma, loss, and grief, as part of life, (especially right now). My heart goes out to you – without knowing every corner of your heart and mind – may we find our healing, and peace, and as Diana says, may we each bloom again. Claire says time heals all wounds, and it’s probably true, but love helps, that much I know. Self love, and the love of others – giving, and receiving. A connection with the Divine. A community of caring souls.
I will get our 508 Episode Discussion out as soon as I can. I thank you for your patience, while I work with myself, as I work with it. xo
Go here, to see my recent interview with Graham McTavish.
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