Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Grieving Mother Seeks Her Holy Wayne

Finally, after watching six episodes of the new HBO series, “The Leftovers", I have a sense of what the show is really about.

The basic premise is that 2% of the world’s population has literally vanished.  All of them have disappeared at exactly the same moment.

The story takes place three years after the event has happened.  The plot revolves around those who were left behind.

I spent the first five episodes trying to figure out the mystery of what happened to the people who were “taken”.  I wondered, with a lot of frustration, when the great mystery would be solved.  When was I going to know the answers?  When would all be revealed?

There is more than one mystery woven into the story.  For instance, what is the mission of the group called “The Guilty Remnants”?  Why do they wear white?  Why don’t they speak?  And the biggest question is, why must they constantly have to be smoking a cigarette, at all times.

As Ross and I watched each episode, we would exchange confused looks and say, “What the heck?”

Last night, though, I figured out that I had been watching as if the story were science fiction, or fantasy.

I mean how else could the premise of the sudden simultaneous disappearance of millions of people be feasible?

Then last night there was that scene.   It was a most poignant and powerfully relatable scene for me.  (Spoiler Alert, in case you are not up to date).
Before Nora goes to meet Holy Wayne, she has a confrontation with an author who has written a book about moving on and starting over, called “What’s Next.”
She screams at him, “There is no moving on, there is no happiness.”
“What’s next?” she yells.  She screams, "NOTHING!  Nothing is next!”

But, it was the next scene which took place between Nora and Holy Wayne that really got to me.
Holy Wayne asks Nora, “You’ve lost someone?  Someones?”
Her pain is evident.
He asks her, “And you believe you will always feel that pain?”
Holy Wayne asks Nora, “Do you want to feel this way?”
Nora starts to break down, begins to cry and can barely speak.
“You believe you will always feel that pain.”
“If it starts to slip away you seek it out again.”
"You won’t let it kill you.  But you won’t kill yourself.”
“For whoever is joined with all of the living, there is hope.”
"Hope is your weakness.  You want it gone because you don’t deserve it.”
“Nora, you do deserve hope."
“The question remains the same, “Do you want to feel this way?”"
Nora quietly, answers, “No.”
Holy Wayne opens his arms and says, “Let me take it from you.”
Nora softly asks,  “Will I forget them?”
As Holy Wayne takes Nora into his arms he smiles and strongly says, “Never.”
Nora gives into her grief and sobs as Holy Wayne holds her tightly, taking her pain from her.

As I held back my own tears, I realized that the story is not about a futuristic possibility.  And it’s not about finding out why or how.

It is about each and every “left over”.  After all that’s what we all are.   Because everyone, every single one of us, from the moment we come into this world and begin to live, has been left behind.

Nora paid Holy Wayne $1000, to take her pain from her.  Afterwards, she believed that he did.

I understand that type of belief is what enables most “left overs” the ability to “move on”, “have hope”, be assured that their “someones” will never be forgotten.

Today is the fifth of another month that has gone by.  Although the pain mostly stays beneath and under, it is not weaker.   I too am afraid to “give away" my pain.  Afraid that if I do that I will forget him.

I haven’t found my “Holy Wayne”.  I don’t know that I ever will.


  1. I haven't seen this show, its probably good if I don't get involved in it. We followed LOST a few years back and were always perplexed so I don't need another show like that :)

    I haven't lost a child, so of course I can't understand your pain and grief . I would imagine it never does get easier and that adage of time heals probably isn't true. I honestly think the worst thing is to lose a child; its "natural" to have our parents pass before us. I think its a parent's biggest fear (my biggest fear). I am sorry you have to be experiencing it.


    1. I know what you mean about LOST. I think the writers got “lost” along the way with the show.

      I’m not sure that the pain of grief over a loss is measurable or comparable. It is, of course, individual. In the past five years, I’ve experienced the loss of too many loved ones. Even though the “norm” is to lose a parent, my mom’s death was and continues to be difficult.
      But, you are right, the loss of my son has hit me the hardest.
      Betty, you are so kind. I do appreciate your visits and consoling words. Thank you.

  2. You will never forget him. Wouldn't he want you to let go of your pain? That doesn't diminish his memory or who he was. Nothing can do that.

    I've skipped this show, but this makes me rethink that decision.

    1. Liz, you know, my son would absolutely not want me to be in pain. Thank you for reminding me of that. It made me think of Joe’s gentle nature. And that is a peaceful thought.

      I think you might absolutely like “The Leftovers.”

  3. OMG what a post! I totally understand and I am there with you. Bless your heart.

  4. What a touching post, Lynda. I have been watching The Leftovers, too. I read the book when it first came out and I am pretty impressed with the way the show has remained true at least to the major premises of the book. The scene you described is one of the most powerful I've seen so far.

    Sometimes I think it's a shame there aren't ways of magically ridding ourselves of grief, but then I think that the work of learning to live with the grief (rather than surrendering to it completely) is part of fulfilling a sacred, unspoken pact we've made with those who've left us. If that makes any sense--and there's every chance that it makes no sense at all--since very little to do with emotions in general and grief in particular is very logical.

    1. I think I do understand what you are saying. My strength of my loved ones, the ones who have left, have been an inspiration. I suppose that is the unspoken pact.
      Nice to hear from you, MM.