Sights, smells, and even sounds can take us back in time to a specific place or activity. The smell of coffee always reminds me of my parents. Even though they are no longer with me, I can see them sitting at the kitchen table sipping on their coffee and chatting.
The same holds true for sounds.
I am home sick today, curled up on the couch with the puppies laying as close to me as they can get. I have been flipping through the channels on TV trying to find something to watch. Do you know how much stuff there is to watch during the day? (Okay, that holds true for any time, but TV has lost its hold, at least on me these days.) But if you are into re-runs there are plenty to choose from. I watched a little Dr Quinn Medicine Woman, and Judging Amy. As another commercial comes on, I pull up the guide to see what else might be on. I put the cursor on a choice and make my selection.
As the theme song fills the room, I am transported back in time to a different place and a different me. You see, right after my husband left I was told by a good friend to find some “mindless tv,” a show that allows your brain to focus on something, usually other than our own problems, without requiring too much concentration. It really does work – try it! Well, ironically my “mindless TV” show was a half-hour sitcom called REBA. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I say ironic because the show is about a woman (like me) with three kids (like me) whose husband leaves (like mine) and marries a woman half his age (like mine).
You would think with so many similarities the “mindless TV” idea would not have worked, but it did. Oh, there are differences, like the ex-husband allows the kids to live full time with their mother. He seems to care about what the kids think and want, and he speaks to and is nice to his ex-wife. Okay, big differences. Neither here nor there, it worked when I needed it. It was a lifeline to a reality when mine was almost too much to bear. It took me outside of myself and my drama when I needed it.
But as Reba sings the theme song, I can see myself lying on a bed, crying, almost unable to breathe. As I focus on the memory, it is not my bed anymore, I am not crying and other than being sick today, I can breathe just fine. The memory is so vivid, so real, so, hmmmmm, my brain wants to say painful, but it is not any more. Oh it was then – I wasn’t sure I was going to to survive, much less how I was going to go on.
It is funny how that sound of the scene transition music or the theme song can put me right back to another place and time. I can feel how I was feeling, I can see how I looked, only it’s different now. It’s like a dream; okay, a nightmare. I remember the desperation and fear.
But that is not me anymore. As I look at the memory now, it is just that. It was also a means to the now. I have learned and lived and loved since then. I am thankful to not being laying on that bed, crying, hurting with the REBA show playing in the background. In the now, the show is no longer a lifeline but a half-hour sitcom that I enjoy watching. The biggest laughs come from the hilarious similarities to my own life, and I thank God I can now laugh. I guess that I AM a survivor.