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Once in awhile, a show will come along that will pull at your heartstrings. It will make you smile, laugh, and it might resonate with you so well that at times, it may even make you cry. I started watching “This Is Us” starring Mandy Moore, Milo Anthony Ventimiglia, and an onslaught of other amazing and talented actor/actresses we would learn to hang on the edge of our seats for.
Episode 9, titled; “The Trip” was the episode that opened up a black hole within me of sadness, resentment, questions, anger, and most of all, grief. If you have not seen an episode of “This Is Us”, you apparently are not intrigued on why all your friends are falling in love with it. People had told me they cry every episode. For some they feel they can connect with the story line of one or multiple members of the Pearson family. Maybe I’m partial to them for being huge Pittsburgh Steeler fans, but after this episode, I made a deep personal connection with the character played by Sterling K. Brown, as Randall Pearson.
I won’t go in to deep details of the story lines. I want to encourage you to start with episode 1. I want you to feel the connections and form your own bond with the characters. However, I want to warn you, what you may find out is that you are holding emotions and feelings within that are now being set aflame by this fan favorite show. To see episode 9, watch the episode for yourself (Link below), scroll down to understand where the wounds of my own past and present got cut so deep, I found myself crying, throwing things, and screaming by myself in room, at my deceased mother.
Randall’s story line is that he was adopted, of course you can see people having a connection with that. The fact that he never knew his birth parents, again, people can understand. I knew my Mom. I knew her secrets, and I knew her sadness as well as fears. I don’t want you to think for a moment I resent her for what I am about to say, but the one thing that Randall and I did not have in common was the way he was adopted and the fact that his mother knowingly knew who is birth father was for thirty six years and kept it from him is a bit different than not having information.
Through the episode, you see Randall trying to find people all around him that may be related, who he may have gotten his traits from. You see a child, lost, and wondering. His mother, Rebecca, had the answers but hid them, fear was the underlying secret. She kept the secret and held it for all those years. Not even his father, Jack, knew who the birth father was. Randall felt that if he knew the man who abandoned him actually wanted him back, maybe, just maybe it would have made some difference in his life.
I never knew my birth father. Since I was a child, I asked. It seems that no one really got to know who he was. My grandmother met him once. She can describe him, but regrets no camera back then in the early 80’s. I saw his handwriting once. When I snooped around and opened a lock box. It just said…”Jesse”. My mother didn’t ever share any great stories of him, I recall one of her being mad, I know his last name, and if he wasn’t lying, possibly his age. I know that in the middle of all the static of the relationship, a 19 year old woman was pregnant with no family around. He didn’t want to be a father to me, you know, because that would mean he would have to grow up and be responsible.
My mother luckily found solace in a temporary home for unwed mother’s to be, I heard a lot of great things about a Nun named Sister Teresa, perhaps if I had a last name, and she was/is still alive..questions could be answered. The hospital purged their records, I can’t find the home she stayed at, and literally every person who I think may have any clue, I keep coming up with dead ends. Literally, dead ends, they have passed away. My grandmother wanted us to go back to Pennsylvania where she was, I was born in Florida. I wasn’t even 24 hours old when I had my first airplane ride. We were heading toward family.
You know how many times, I wondered if I was truly adopted? Where did my red hair come from if my supposed birth father had black hair? If the rumor that was told to my mother, that he died in a car accident around 83-84 was true, why can’t I find anything? There are a million thoughts and questions that have sat heavily with me for as long as I can remember.
Then, This Is Us, this episode, it really just sliced and diced and cut in deep and the flood gates opened. The man, I call my Dad, we had a non existent relationship pretty much besides a few letters and gifts for about 15ish years. When my mom and him broke up, that was when that empty void filled back up and the questions poured out again, so I was about eight years old when I lost the only father figure I knew and loved. He is in my life again now, after searching me out online, and one day, because we do look very much alike, I asked him if he was my birth father and perhaps asked to keep a secret. As much as he wished it was true, it was not.
Basically after Randall, drugged out on mushrooms accidentally, speaks to his deceased father, screams at his mother who is fake in his visions, and sees the love and the pain she had to suffer to live through that secret – alone for thirty-six years, we see him approaching his mother with a list of twenty-two reasons why he is mad. Then your heart bursts when he tells her that she must have been incredibly lonely to keep that secret. Never going off on her, never telling her all the hurt and frustration the revelation of knowing his birth dad was around and could have been met, did to him.
I turned the television off. I tried to wipe the tears. Instead, I walked in to a room that has a lot of storage currently and just broke down. I screamed a bit, wondering why there are no clues to be found. Why so many secrets and not many stories. I don’t resent my mother. I resent this “man” who determined I wasn’t worth getting to know. I resent the fact that there is no direct lead, maybe I’m just not looking hard enough.
I get it, the fact they weren’t together long, but this little girl within me, sometimes just wants to know who the other half of me is. WHY was I not worth going after him for child support? It surely would have helped a young girl in her 20’s who ended up going to school and working three jobs at times. Did I have another set of potential living grandparents? Did they ever know about me? Did my birth father think that I was aborted, did he ever try to look for my mom again?
In my mind I portray him as a piece of shit, if we are being honest here. Still, it doesn’t fill the void of questions. If he was alive, I would love to just stand face to face and let him realize that although it may have hurt to wonder a million things and try to validate them, he lost out. I didn’t miss the love, I did carry on male abandonment issues for quite sometime. I was blessed enough to have other great male figures in my life. Although I wish I could answer questions at health appointments, with a hundred percent certainty if there are any family medical conditions, maybe it’s better off this way.
Then again, there is this grown adult woman who wonders, even if he was a worthless person, was his family the same way. Maybe that is what puts the courage and desire to possibly end up as one of those Facebook social media posts holding a poster, asking you to share it with your timeline, in hopes, that someone, somewhere, can put the puzzle together.
This Is Us, This is me. This is how a show can become a series hit, by really making the viewers connect.
You can catch This Is Us on NBC, Tuesdays 9/8 Central. If you already are a fan of the show, which character are you like?
Author: Nichole Arnold
I’m the owner of Mommy Needs a Bottle . I’m a 30- something wine enthusiast that resides in Tampa, FL. I love family traditions, traveling, cooking, baking, reading, fashion, tattoos, beauty products, and being a Mommy! I have a background in marketing, public relations, copywriting, and sales.