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queer identity

Death & Grey’s Anatomy

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I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflecting and focusing on self-awareness. I’m taking two classes, one is Human Sexuality and the other Human Relations. Both are the reason behind my amped focus on self-awareness, the subject matter, especially in the Human Relations class, is geared towards self-reflection. 

I also started to watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix again. I just started season 6. Whenever I watch Grey’s, I feel like each episode has soul searching, possibly life-changing messages that I can learn from if I choose to put my focus on exploring them. I also see myself in many of the characters, and it’s nice to be able to use the characters and what they’re going through as a tool for my own self-reflection and exploration.

I’m going to describe one of the scenes in the latest episode that I saw, and I’m going to be vague to not give anything away, since Grey’s is an amazing show that I recommend you watch if you haven’t.

Grey’s Anatomy started out with five surgeon interns who more or less became a family. In the latest episode, one of the main characters died and in this current episode, the whole hospital is grieving. The last episode ended with a funeral. One of the best friends of the deceased was struggling with cancer and on the day that the character died, she went through surgery that was a life or death situation for her. At the funeral, the best friend walked away from the outdoor funeral service towards a tree in the distance. It looked like she was balling. Her husband went after her and the two other main characters in their friend group. 

It turned out the best friend of the deceased was laughing, and not crying. They all began to laugh, and started listing the unexpected and outrageous things going on in their lives. One of them got married to another surgeon on a post-it, one of them almost died of cancer, two of them recently got married thinking that one of them was going to die and one of them got hit by a bus and died.

As people were leaving the funeral, crying, they were all smiling and laughing. Although they were laughing, you also saw the pain in their faces.

It made me think about how different people react to and handle death, and not only death, but a range of small to large changes in life, both expected and unexpected. All the characters of Grey’s Anatomy are surgeons and work in a daily environment where they cut into people to save their lives. People live and die by their hands daily. Death is part of their culture, and how they grieve with it is influenced by their culture. 

I have a huge family, death and illness, ranging from severe to terminal, are common. Does that impact how I grieve from death? Recently, I heard about a death in the family, two other family members doing so so and one family member being diagnosed with cancer. Cancer seems so common in my family, I’m 99% confident that she’ll beat the cancer because they caught it early, but I don’t know for sure. 

Because death and illness are relatively common in my family, should these things impact me more? Do I handle it well, or do I put off grieving? Probably both. 

I think the putting off grieving or anything relating to emotions that aren’t easy to interact with likely stems from being in the closet from 5 years-old to 19-years-old, not voicing a lot of things and repressing a large aspect of myself. Taking these two classes, Human Sexuality and Human Relations, have got me thinking a lot more about how repressing my sexuality from a big developmental part of my life influenced other areas of my life and how I interact with myself, the people around me and my environment.

Food for thought.

– Emelina

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About emelinaminero

I'm passionate about people, community, self-love and the diversity in the human experience.

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Death & Grey’s Anatomy

  1. Wow, very good writing Emelina.

    The way we grieve can definitely change. When I was younger deaths and even the loss of a friend was heart wrenching for me. I was a big crier who grieved openly and strongly needed comfort (even if I was scared to ask for it). Over the past few years death has been easier to manage. This wasn’t just because there has been so much in such a short time, but it happened as I was consciously choosing to grow and be honest with myself. I can accept all loss so much easier now because I see endings not as final, but as a chapter leading to a new different beginning. The longer you live I think and hope you will find the best way for you to grieve.

    (Might I add that crying is actually healthy, as it releases physical stress when we are tense.)

    Posted by Impower You | April 5, 2013, 1:30 am
    • Thank you for the lovely comment. 🙂 I had a conversation with my 98-year-old grandma maybe 6 to 8 months ago, and her sister-in-law, my great aunt, had just died. I was at my grandma’s house with my parents in San Francisco and my mom had been crying. I was sitting in the TV room with my grandma and she said something along the line of, “I don’t know why everyone is sad. People die.” And then she went on telling me about visiting my grandpa’s tombstone and seeing her tombstone right next to his with her name on it, and she started laughing and said how it was odd to see her name on a tombstone at the graveyard. Shortly after that, a friend from college died in a car accident. I connected those two events together and since then it really hit me how much death is a natural part of life. It’s sad, but it happens all the time, and it can happen to anyone at any time. Death of any kind, of a person, or some other form of loss, reminds me that life goes on. They’ll be sadness and pain, but eventually it will pass. It also reminds me of how precious life is. Whenever I find myself getting irritable or if I’m in some sort of state that I don’t want to be in, I ask myself if how I’m spending my life in this moment is how I would want to spend my last day.

      And I agree. Crying is healthy. For me, it’s not the most comfortable thing to do, but it’s definitely healthy. 🙂

      Posted by emelinaminero | April 8, 2013, 9:36 pm
      • Well said. Thank you for sharing so much more. I also have begun to consciously ask myself how I want moments to be when my thoughts become foul. It is one of the actions that have kept me out of depression for the last two beautiful years of my life.
        🙂

        Posted by Impower You | April 8, 2013, 11:55 pm

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