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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Something Next to Normal

Almost a year ago the UVU Theatre Department put on a musical called Next to Normal. It ran the same time as In The Heights, so I didn't get to see it.

Never have I had so many people say this to me about a show: "It reminded me a lot of you. You should see it."

The department did another run of the show in February as they prepared to take it to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. It was during this brief run of the unedited show that I got to see it. 

I was wrecked.

Here is where I give major spoilers about Next to Normal, but SorryNotSorry, I've got to talk about it. I also need to mention that if you haven't seen the show, or listened to the songs, and you internalize that stuff like I tend to do: potential trigger warning. I mean it. 

When I went to the show the only things I knew were:

- It was going to a national competition.
- People said it reminded them of me.
- I should be prepared to become emotional.
- Ben and Zoe were in it.

That's it. 

And when it begun and at the very beginning I saw a mom talking to her son, before it was even revealed, I knew. I just knew, and the tears began. 

He had died. 

She was imagining the conversation. 

The show deals intimately with mental illness, and while some parts of that show aren't applicable to me and my situation, many parts are very, very close. 

On assignment I've been listening to the soundtrack for the past two weeks or so, and it's been cathartic. 

Maybe we can't be okay
But maybe we're tough and we'll try anyway.

This is the first year I won't be able to visit my son's grave on his birthday. I'll be out of town. Last year I was able to make strides I never thought possible in the realm of what I was capable of doing during Taylor Week, but I was still able to go to the cemetery on his day. This time it will be new, another step. Like having your child run to the neighbor's house for the first time, a small test of what looks like independence but is really growth.

I don't need a life that's normal,
That's way too far away. 
But something next to normal 
would be okay.

I went on Monday. Brought flowers, took pictures, and then quietly and almost frantically, began weeding around the headstone, trying to brush the dirt and bugs off, realizing I wouldn't be able to get it as clean as I'd like. My tears temporarily stained the stone. 

14. He'd be 14.

I'll wake alone tomorrow.
The dream of our dance is through.
But now until forever, Love, 
I'll live to dance with you.

Taylor Week:


ilinap said...

Oh, Jenny. xoxo

Emily said...

You are such a strong, amazing woman even in those moments when you think/feel/believe you're not. xoxo