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How 'Dawson’s Creek' Helped Me Cope With My Grief After Losing My Grandfather

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A few months ago, I unexpectedly lost my grandfather. Suddenly, I had to process my devastation, numbness, and anger. My grief looked different every day, and it was so overwhelming that I couldn’t cope. I didn’t know where to turn.
I was desperate to take a break from living in my grief, so I decided to browse Netflix and choose a show to watch. I happened to find the 90s drama “Dawson’s Creek” and decided to start the series. The series follows aspiring film writer Dawson Leroy, and as a writer myself, I figured that if nothing else, I could probably relate to the protagonist.
Eventually, I reached an episode in which Dawson’s dad, Mitch, suddenly dies after a drunk driver hits him. That moment was powerful because I saw a TV character going through everything I was facing. I watched Dawson go through the same disbelief, anger, and numbness I felt when my grandfather left this world — and to my surprise, I could relate perfectly.
Dawson eventually accepts that his father is no longer physically with him, but it was his emotional reaction to his father’s passing that made me feel like the show truly saw me. As I watched, I was going through the same grieving process, and the show reminded me that all of my emotions were OK to feel. It was OK for me to cry or break down — it was all part of my healing process.
“Dawson’s Creek” also reminded me that death can teach us powerful lessons about how to live. Dawson learned that life is too short not to tell others how much they mean to you, and his lesson reminded me of all of the moments I enjoyed with my grandfather. He also struggled to forgive the driver who killed his father but realized that forgiving others can be freeing — which is a mindset that I hope to bring into my own life. I soon began to forgive myself too, especially on the days when my grief was hard for others to understand.
Watching “Dawson’s Creek” after my grandfather died helped me cope with my grief and reminded me of what truly matters in life. I’m thankful that I found the show at the perfect time and appreciate that it taught me to forgive easily and make my life worth every second.

This story originally appeared on Unwritten.
Getty image by PeopleImages.

Originally published: March 7, 2022
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