I’m not a fan of This Is Us (should that be past tense? I wasn’t a fan)
But, I will give credit where credit is due. The last two episodes were phenomenal. They handled the death of Rebecca in a way I’ve never seen on a mainstream television program. This wasn’t a program about the afterlife or religion or woo-woo.
Rebecca’s death was rightly handled as a transition. It was not an end. It was the beginning of her next thing. Instead of the images of her lying in a bed, unresponsive, we got a glimpse into her internal world; as she was transitioning from this world and going into the next.
People who die from chronic illnesses, where the body slowly shuts down, don’t go from being in the body one moment and out of the body the next moment. There is a process that takes place where they are gradually ushered into the next world. They are often visited by beings from the next world and they take sojourns into the next world, for hours, days, or even weeks.
As with Rebecca on the train in the penultimate episode, people who are actively dying often speak of taking a trip, packing bags, a train, an airplane, or a boat. They speak as if they have somewhere to be and/or someone is coming to get them. This was beautifully illustrated as she traversed the train and met people from her life; finally ending up in the caboose and seeing Jack, who would take her to her final destination. While her body appeared to be unaware and unresponsive, her internal world was opening up. She was getting ready for her next thing.
In the last episode, we see what Rebecca experiences as she crosses over. She’s lying in bed with Jack, the love of her life, who has waited for her to take her on to the next place. We see all of the beauty and richness of her life with Jack and her children throughout the episode. We are reminded to enjoy the moment while we are in the moment. Yes, this life will be over soon enough. Or will it? This is where This Is Us went above and beyond.
The show did a wonderful job of showing how nothing is ever really lost and we do not end. These lines, at the very end, were some of the best I’ve heard spoken on television.
REBECCA | Quite a thing, isn’t it? Us finding each other in the bar that night.
JACK | Yeah, well, I mean… when the world puts something that obvious in front of you, you don’t just walk away. You ready?
REBECCA | I don’t want to leave them.
JACK | You don’t. You’ll see.
REBECCA | I love you.
JACK | I love you.
Our loved ones never really leave us. We who are left behind feel as if they are gone. But, Jack tells Rebecca she doesn’t have to leave them. She can continue to be a part of their lives. This has been my experience with Shayna. It’s been proven time and time again through medium readings I have where Shayna will tell the medium what is going on in our lives today.
And finally, In the end, Rebecca told Jack on the train that she didn’t want to leave her kids and that “There was so much left I wanted to do with them.” “You will,” Jack assured her. “It’s hard to explain it but you are going to do all those things with them. You’ll be there.”
A medium gave a reading to Kayla a few years ago. Shayna came through and knew Kayla was feeling survivor’s guilt. We often think our loved ones are missing out. They aren’t here to enjoy the graduations or the weddings. They won’t get to have more birthdays or Christmases. But, Shayna told Kayla she would be there for those moments and to enjoy them because Shayna would enjoy them with her.
Millions of people watched the show and have been gushing about the finale and the previous episode. I hope that they caught these lessons and that those lessons become more prevalent in our media.