The night that my Mom committed suicide, I was sitting on my bed, watching Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. My bedspread was hanging off the bed in a weird way and I was annoyed. I was straightening it when my Dad walked in the room and told me, “Your Mom took a bunch of pills. She’s in the hospital.”
I remember staring at him as if he was speaking a foreign language. I didn’t talk to my Mom – we hadn’t spoken in 5 years. I had known that she was depressed, I had known that she had issues, and I had known that there was a lot of things that I didn’t know. I knew my Mom was in an abusive marriage, but I also knew that had been going on for a majority of my life.
Even with all the things that I knew, I never thought that she would take her life. I guess I knew nothing, and I know now that I will never know those things.
But it’s not something that I am prepared to talk about all that time, yet. Because talking about her suicide is like sticking myself in the heart over and over again.
I don’t know why I chose A Million Little Things to review. I’ll be rotating with another writer, because I don’t think I can do it all the time. The first episode leaves me sitting here feeling alone and in tears, filled with a million questions and a million memories. Memories of my Moms suicide and memories of my own attempt.
If you aren’t familiar with A Million Little Things, it debuted last night on ABC. The show follows four friends and their family as they deal with one of the fours suicide. It’s meant to be ABC’s This Is Us, but it feels a little more complicated than that. Sure, it’s an emotional roller coaster, but it hits you in a way that This Is Us doesn’t.
At least it does me. But maybe that’s because suicide is something that has hit my life.
When the show starts we see John, who looks like his life is perfectly put together. He’s got a perfect family, perfect kids, perfect job, but is anything really ever perfect?
We don’t know, because the next thing we see John has jumped off the side of the building and committed suicide. He seemed perfectly happy and content, but he wasn’t. We see him putting himself together and then we see his secretary running and screaming, because he’s jumped. She’s just seen him commit suicide in front of her eyes.
And here’s where the tears begin.
John, Gary, Eddie and Rome met 10 years prior. They were stuck in an elevator for two and a half hours (I was stuck in one for 30 minutes and that was enough) and they bonded. They bonded over the deep stuff and the not so deep stuff. They found friendships in each other that they didn’t find in anyone else. They found the beginning of the million little things that make up friendship.
And they started traditions. Season tickets to the Bruins games, time with family – they found each other. They thought they were best friends, they thought they knew everything about each other. But they didn’t know everything. Because they didn’t know that John was suicidal. They didn’t even know that he was sad or depressed. They thought they knew each other. They thought, but hey, thoughts aren’t reality and they know one thing now: they knew nothing.
But as Gary delivers the news to his friends we learn that John wasn’t alone in his feelings. He wasn’t even close. Rome, we meet him and he’s writing his suicide note and filling his mouth with pulls. Everything is standing in his way, but he’s determined to do it. That is until Gary calls and tells him that John committed suicide. He spits out the pills.
John said that everything happens for a reason. He said that there was not coincidences and maybe there is no such thing. But when you have so many things happen you have to wonder what those reasons are. You have to wonder what it is that things happen for, because when you are left with pain, what is that for?
What is the reason that someone takes their life? Well that’s the million dollar question. Everyone is left questioning that with John? How could they have missed this?
They have seen each other through everything. Eddie is a recovering alcoholic. Greg is a breast cancer survivor. Rome feels like he’s not making enough of his life. They have been there no matter what. But when you are there, are you really there? Is the presence of someone enough? Was John depressed or did he loose sight of the horizon?
Here’s what you need to know about the characters:
- Married to Delilah. He’s the glue that holds everything together and the reason that they are falling apart. He’s got two kids that he’s leaving behind.
- Gary had to deliver the bad news to everyone. He had to tell them all that John committed suicide. He’s angry and frustrated and wants to know why it all happened. He meets Maggie at his cancer support group and brings her to Johns funeral.
- Eddie is in a miserable marriage and used to be the lead singer in a band. He teaches guitar and is a stay at home Dad. He’s cheating on his wife with Delilah, John’s wife.
- He’s a commercial director, but wants to make a movie. He’s depressed and doesn’t know why. He is married to Regina – who is his everything.
I think we sometimes all do, but we count on those around us. We all want a space to run to, to escape our lives, because sometimes living them isn’t the easiest thing. But as we watch the show unfold, we realize a few things:
- People are going to blame themselves.
- What you leave behind you take with you.
- You will question everything when someone takes their life, but you will never know the answers.
THINGS WE’RE STILL THINKING ABOUT
- Maggie talking about JFK Jr.’s plane crash. The way she compares depression tears me apart.
- Ashley – John’s secretary knows something that she hasn’t told us yet. She’s hiding something deep. We catch her hiding a file right after John jumps. She also erases a bunch of stuff from his computer.
- Rome makes amazing videos. He sees everything and I kinda think he takes on everyones feelings.
- The guys are all Boston Bruins fans.
- Eddie’s eulogy. I cried. And then at the end I got angry – because I found him to be a hypocrite. He was sleeping with the mans wife.
- Johns last business transaction was securing the place for Regina to start a new restaurant.
- Rome tells the guys at the Bruins game that he was about to kill himself and you see them change. They will be there for each other and they will make sure that this doesn’t happen again.
A Million Little Things is a punch in the throat and feels, forcing you to examine everything in your life. It’s a mix of comedic moments and heart breaking ones. It will shake you to your core and tear your soul out from you. It’s pain and love and questioning of the people around you. A Million Little Things is just that – a million things.
A million things that we have yet to know, but can’t wait to find out this season – even if it destroys me.
A Million Little Things airs Wednesdays on ABC.
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