Times of Trouble

They always come off the shelf at this time of year.  The Harry Potter books.  I’ve read and re-read all of them until the pages are worn and grimy.  They give me comfort when I am fighting off “The Missing.”

“When I find myself in times of trouble …”

“The Missing” — Sounds like a “who-dunnit,” doesn’t it.  But that’s not what I mean.

Go ahead and laugh.  But I honestly mean that the Harry Potter books — kids books — help me fight off the sadness of missing people.

You see, in Harry Potter, the folks Harry loves and has lost get to come back sometimes.  Once in every few books. OK, in the first, the fourth, and the seventh.  What — you need page numbers?

And each time I read how they, those dead people, give Harry courage, I find my own again.

And you know what especially makes a difference?  Throughout the entire series, folks talk normally about people who have passed.  Just as if they were, and still are, an important part of a person’s life.  The characters do, and are expected to, think about people who are no longer around.  Grief, missing them is part of life; an acknowledged part.

Real life, however, outside of books, is not at all like that.  The bereaved are allowed 1 week to 1 year to grieve, depending on the relationship and the circumstances.  Within that time, and especially way beyond it, talking about a lost loved one is awkward. It makes other people uncomfortable.  They don’t know what to say.  What to do.  Where to look.  It’s taboo.

Death in our society pretty much wipes a person off the slate — we say good-bye, are moved to shed tears, and then expected to get beyond it.  We are essentially expected to metaphorically “unfriend” them.

Of course, we all fear our own death, so we don’t want to talk about someone else’s death.  We just can’t deal with someone else who has gone to that wizarding school in the sky.

Reading Harry Potter helps me feel like my missing are close by.  Let’s me feel that there are folks, even if they are fictional, who let me remember and who also remember their own loved ones.  Very much like my bloggin’ buddies, who let me lean on them from time to time.  For which I will be eternally grateful.

It’s coming on the anniversary of my sister Judy’s passing, a time that is always difficult for me.

Judy too was a Potterhead, although she only lived long enough to read the first three books. I’m quite sure that that is one of the things that most annoyed her about dying, actually.  Nobody likes to miss the ending.

So I’m really hoping she’ll hook up with Alan Rickman pretty soon.  Because she’ll show him the ropes, and he’ll fill her in on the rest of the story.  A match made in, well, heaven.

Alan Rickman.

Fanpop.com Image

R.I.P. to so very many people gone way too soon.

Thanks to Deb of The Monster In Your Closet for making me come out of my closet as a Potterhead!




Filed under ; Don't Make Me Feel Perky Tonigh, Acting, Adult Traumas, Beating that Dead Horse, Birthday, Bloggin' Buddies, Books, Cool people, Crazy family members, Family, Harry Potter, Huh?, Illness, Judy, Missing Folks, Oh shit, Peace, Shit happens, Taking Care of Each Other

58 responses to “Times of Trouble

  1. I’m a Potter fan too! Definitely when things are difficult in my life I always wind up watching or reading Harry Potter, LOTR, or Ponyo…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I happily confess to being a Potterhead as well. My first encounter with the series was with talking books. My commute had become something a loathed and I found a store that rented talking books so I took a chance on the Potter series. The characters kept me company on my journey to and from work for some time. It was actually hard to get out of the vehicle sometimes until the end of a scene.
    When the movies came out of course I was right there. My favourite thing was the animated photographs of loved ones. How wonderful to be able to have a special moment repeat itself in front of you long after your loved one was gone. I immediately thought of my Mother and how nice it would be to see her physically smile or blink. Some how I think we could have an easier time of it with “The Missing” if that was possible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, speaking frankly about death is still taboo, but you do it with grace, compassion, and such humanity. Let it Be is an apt choice here, but so is the Beatles’ All You Need is Love. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sometimes I call the dead people in my phone contacts, just to make sure the number hasn’t been reassigned to anybody else.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine losing a sibling. I’m glad you found happiness in the Harry Potter books. Maybe somewhere in heaven, your sister Judy is casting a spell on Alan Rickman.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Aw, what a sweet, sad tribute to both. I’m sure your sister will be spearheading the welcome committee for Professor Snape.

    I see dead people quite often. I don’t mean ghosts – it’s just that so very many people I knew have gone in the almost 30 years I’ve lived in this smallish community, I glimpse the backs of their heads at the store, the flash of their car taillights on the street, and then I remember they’re gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I routinely talk to my friends and family members who have passed – some more than 40 years ago. They never talk back (I guess I should be grateful, as that would make me either crazy or a medium) – but it comforts me and I believe that they do keep watch on me and care what happens to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish I could give you a hug right now.

    I have read the Harry Potter books as they were released, enjoyed them because they always were positive.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so sorry for your loss and sorrow. I don’t think it’s at all weird to find the Harry Potter books (or any book of your choice) a source of comfort. My younger daughter and her best friend got identical tattoos, not too long ago. Although I’m not a fan of tattoos, I admired the sentiment. The quote came from Harry Potter and it had to do with their friendship, and also with the friend’s sister, who died a couple of years ago, but who loved Harry Potter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My husband thinks I’m nuts. I can see the effort he puts into not rolling his eyes when one of the books comes out!

      I like the sentiment of those tattoos too (although I am not a fan, of tattoos either) — good for them to have such a “forever” bond!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Elyse, this is so touching–it brought tears to my eyes. It always blows my mind how much individuals endure on any given day. Hugs!


  11. I cannot imagine losing one of my sisters. This tears at my heart. I am sorry for your loss. But I am glad you can find, and know, comfort in the books.
    My mother always drank tea, and I comfort myself in her absence by curling up with a cup. She also used Jergen’s lotion (original Cherry Almond) and one of my students uses it, too. Almost daily a whiff of it comes my way. The memories and the comfort we seek is all a part of the healing process. I’m sure Judy is showing them ALL the ropes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Katy. I actually lost BOTH of my sisters. (I have two brothers, though.) And it does suck. But I deal with it as best I can. Some days it’s not too hard. Others? Oh dear. The special anniversaries get me every time.

      The scent of someone you care about is really powerful, isn’t it. And mostly, those are wonderful — you feel them, they’re just in the other room. Sorry about your mom, but tea is the perfect, soothing drink for being with people who really should be drinking it with you.


  12. I’m so looking forward to coming back around when I have a bit more time, so that I can read all the comments (and responses), but for right now, I’ll just say this hit me in the heart, but in a good way.

    I may even have to break down and read those Potter books. I’ve stubbornly resisted (only read the first one), because I somehow convinced myself that brutal reality is preferable to disappearing into a world of fantasy. But, hey, if the Potter books embrace people who have passed on, and bring them back to life through memories and by keeping them part of the conversations of life, then maybe I should reassess my initial objections about reading the Potter series. I’m a little bit astonished to find YOU are a Potter fan, which makes me want to know what I’m missing.

    Grief has a way of spilling out in many directions, much like that proverbial jug of milk. Yes, I know the saying is that we’re not supposed to cry over spilt milk, but sometimes it creeps into crevices that stay moist with the shadow of tears that were never properly let loose. If Potter helps get you through the rough spots, then I have just gained a new respect for your wisdom. Whatever helps is worth admitting out loud.

    Thanks for showing us your Potter’ism. I am impressed. Enough so, that I might actually read the series. Seriously. Wasn’t expecting to ever say those words. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love kids books, so that helped. And I discovered them when Jacob was about 8 — as they were being written. We had to wait years for the next installment.

      But they are fun. And in today’s cray-cray world a little escapism is essential!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Glazed

    I like to assume that there really is life after death. So I assume that your sister, and all our other lost loved ones, are still alive and enjoying themselves. We’ll know for sure when we pass to the other side, ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Dana

    My dad died 4 years ago, the day before my birthday. I haven’t wanted to celebrate my birthday since then. I found myself looking around a lot, trying to see my dad’s spirit. I don’t know if they exist, but if they do, I was hoping he would give me a sign. Maybe he did and I just missed it. Or maybe there’s no such thing, I don’t know. I find myself wondering more and more about the hear after.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s it exactly. It is hard to celebrate when you feel just so much loss.

      I don’t know about signs, but I do think that the folks we love are in us — always. I take comfort in that thought, too.

      It’s no surprise that you’re thinking more and more — I hope you’re holding up OK.


      • Dana

        Holding, maybe not up, but at least waist high. 🙂 Here’s love and hugs to you, and everyone who’s missing someone!!! ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Death is the great equalizer. (Or the great bummer, I can’t remember the saying exactly…)
    I’m sorry you are feeling grief about your sis. Big BIG hugs to you. After reading this post, I just might have to sit down finally and read another Potter book, give it another chance because I just couldn’t get into it years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the hugs.

      Sometimes it’s hard to read a book everybody has raved about — especially when it becomes such a cult. It seems so annoying. But there are books I’ve started and just haven’t been in the right mood/mindframe and put them down only to love them later (I did that with Pride and Prejudice! Imagine!)

      The books are better, IMHO than the movies — at least the later movies. They went astray from the books and dropped some of what I felt were the most important parts. I hate it when they do that!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I always thought Hans Gruber was a good candidate for immortality, no matter how many buildings he fell out of. Do you know that Rickman’s first movie role was that one? The one that built one of the smoothest, most iconic villains in movie history? Amazing.

    Also… cancel Christmas! What a great actor this guy has been for so long – he’ll be long remembered, and so sorry to see him go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am too, although I have to admit I never saw that movie. Guess I’ll be looking for it this weekend. I discovered him in Robin Hood, which may still be my favorite, although Galaxy Quest and Hitchhiker’s Guide (where he played my husband) are close!

      Yes, Cancel Christmas! He was so wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I recall past posts about your struggles at this anniversary .. so peace to you. I like your application of Harry Potter, but beware because I haven’t read any of the books nor seen any of the movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love that pic of a laughing Snape. My 14-year old daughter is very upset. She’s read the Potter books over and over and watched the movies dozens of times. It’s the first time in her life someone who meant something to her passed away. The first time she’s experiencing that kind of loss. It’s pretty heavy.

    I was lucky enough to see Rickman a few times on Broadway. That guy really knew how to command a stage. Some of those plays I saw him in only came alive when he was out front.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My heart goes out to your daughter. And good for you for being the kind of father who can understand that it really is a loss for her (and us all) — so many would roll their eyes and discount the feelings.

      You are sooooooo lucky to have seen him on stage! When I was in high school I went on two field trips to London and we went to play after play, each of them having among the best actors and actresses. I saw Maggie Smith, Ingrid Bergman, Vanessa Redgrave, Jeremy Irons, Albert Finney, Alaisdair Sim — oh it is wonderful to see folks you know from movies on the stage. That really is when you see just how talented they are.


  19. It’s been tough start to the new year with the passing of so many people who have left their mark with so many. I was driving the work yesterday when the DJ broke in with the news about Alan Rickman…just sad.
    Your post was comforting and of course funny. Knowing that your sister would be pissed missing the ending did give me a chuckle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It has been a sad start, hasn’t it. And while we don’t actually know these folks, well, they are in our hearts and that counts for a lot. It is, in fact, why they did what they did.

      Judy worked in a bookstore after the first and second books came out. She loved the fact that the books made kids want to read — and she organized the activities that would help them live it. She would have loved the ending!


  20. Gosh Elyse. I actually shed real tears when I found out about Alan Rickman yesterday. I’ve loved his work for so long, including but not even close to limited to Snape. This made me cry all over again. You are so right. We hide so many unpleasant things under the carpet–even though they’re not unpleasant at all, they are part of life–perhaps talking about them more would help us all see that for what it really is. Sending thoughts to you as you near the anniversary of Judy’s death.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Dina. Yes, I just try to get through this time of year. But I love Rickman’s work — what a gift he gave to all of us.

      I don’t have an answer for the not talking about dead folks, dilemma. Sometimes it is just morbid and depressing, like constantly talking about an illness, but I don’t want to erase folks just because they are no longer alive and kickin’.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. With the longing and lost in your story it has a comforting feel. Death is our ultimate goal we shouldn’t fear it, hide from it nor emrace it unless it has become difficult to live. Thinking and talking a our dead love ones keeps their memories alive. Some how keeps the close. My deceased brotber’s birthday is coming up, I feel his loss more then, than in the month he died.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. We should keep their memories alive. I’m so sorry about your loss, too. Losing folks who have always been there, and with whom we expected to grow old is heartbreaking.

      The timing of Judy’s passing is complicated because it’s right at my birthday — we were heading out the door to a birthday dinner when that horrible call came. So as I see years my sister didn’t, it breaks me a little bit all over again. I’ve been trying to get my husband and son to celebrate my half-birthday, but they don’t catch on. C’est la vie. C’est la mort.


  22. This brought tears to my eyes. I love how the books bring you comfort and your revelation about how some treat the dead. We both had tough losses. Now I want to read the whole series!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I loved this post. I, too, adore Harry Potter. I cannot wait to introduce him to my kids. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I mentioned to Deb that Jacob and I were lucky. He was ~7/8 when the books came out and we had to wait a year or so between books. Since the later ones get so much darker, that was helpful for Jacob — although I don’t know how you handle it when the books are right there on the shelf!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. “Because she’ll show him the ropes, and he’ll fill her in on the rest of the story.”—The idea of that fills me with comfort before I head to bed. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Deborah the Closet Monster

    You managed to make me cry and chuckle at the same time, repeatedly.

    I love this. I’d never broken down the sense of comfort I feel when I read the books, but what you’ve written here … oh, how it resounds. It makes me extra glad that I get to share 5.5 more books with Li’l D, probably to conclude just in time to start again with Littler J.

    Big, big hugs, and cheers for Judy showing Alan the ropes, a thought that fills both the eyes and the heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We, Jacob and I, we’re lucky because we went through the books as they were written. They do get progressively darker and I think it was good that there was a year or so between books — for Jacob. It allowed him to grow into the more complex emotions of the later books.

      So be careful!

      Liked by 1 person

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