Terry Crews ("Brooklyn Nine-Nine") reads an essay by Brendan Halpin, about trying to find love again after loss.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love. The pod cast is supported by produced by the island at W B. You are faster. From the New York Times and w you are Boston. This is modern. The stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host. Meghna, Chakrabarti the. How do you fall in love again after the loss? How do you deal with the complicated conflicting emotions that come from grieving one person and also opening yourself up to loving someone else? That's what Brendan help and explores in his essay
it's called dedicated to two women, only one of them alive. It's read by Terry crews. He stars in Brooklyn nine nine on NBC. My wife is about to die as I leave the hospice to pick up our daughter at school. I tell Kirsten Oliver. She is balls, God John Distant, slipping in and out of consciousness. It takes a lot of effort for her to speak. I love you. I tell her as she surfaces briefly and croaks. I love you too It's the last thing she will ever say to me. I took a seven year old, daughter, Rowan from school to the hospital for a brief visit and late
at night. I go back alone and sit by kissed. His bed with her parents, insist Cherson is unconscious, rasping and moaning with every breath. Sometimes there is a long pause between her breaths and though it has become clear to me that prayer is ineffective each time this long pause happens. I just pray that she's dead, because I can't Dan for her to be alive. Like this, I fall asleep holding her hand and I wake up at one. In the morning I tell Kirsten family. I have to leave because Kirsten- and I agreed in advance that it was important, meet Abby be with Rowan at bedtime and in the morning I kiss Kirsten Goodbye and five hours later it is Kirsten's parents and sister who are with her singing as she dies and not me. I know I did what Kirsten wanted, but still we were together for fourteen years,
I wish I had been there weeks later. I have a dream. Still Rowan and I are in the same mall where Kirsten and I went walking to try to get her contractions restarted on the bridge where a day when Rowan was born as a bookstore on a third floor and chairs in and I take escalators all the way up. Suddenly. I realized, I don't know where our daughter is where's Rowan. I ask your sin, beginning to panting she's unfazed. I guess she still down by them throughout what I have to go, get her. I say and as I get to the elevator, I see Kirsten heading into the bookstore on a ground floor. I get off the later and fine Rowan. I throw my arms around her and wake up, I'm at home in my bed. Why? I need to be with the living and not
I am annoyed with my subconscious, but two of them all. As a metaphor, though, I am comforted the idea of the afterlife as a bookstore, if that's true, I'm sure, Curci content, Of course, I dont really believe that's where she is, but she certainly not here. I have some of her ashes with us in Boston and since I gave up baggies of ashes like party favors at her funeral she's in the ocean and enjoys Virginia Pennsylvania, Illinois and California. I will never again hear the Zz top song, I'm bad.
Nationwide without thinking of Kirsten, but while some people talk about feeling the presence of their loved ones after their deaths, that's not the case. For me, just is bad she's nationwide and she's completely gone. I can get through the days on automatic pilot, but at night, when I'm not crying, furious that my daughter will never have anything but a seven year, old's knowledge of her mother that so many evil you Melis clouds are still living while not whipped smart wife with the razor which is not. My daughter lives in a moment, makes me laugh and gives me reason to get out of bed in the morning, but now
even the most mundane parenting decision becomes fraught with significance, because it reminds me I have to make every decision on my own. Nobody else to consult commiserate with or blame. I need a distraction, so I fixate on the idea of getting a date Kirsten half seriously told me. I could start dating after two years and it has only been five months, but she also told me that the only thing that would make dying, unbearable was thinking at Rowan, and I would be unhappy forever. You have to be happy. She told me you have to. I think it might make me happy to have a date. So I decide the serious instruction to be happy trumps, the half serious, dating timetable I spend a week going through the humiliating process of creating an online personal ad. I a desperate need.
excessively long response to a woman who has a snarky sense of humor and bears a somewhat disturbing resemblance to Kirsten. Mercifully she doesn't write me back. I then spend a couple of weeks. Exchanging email messages with an Active single mom, the email messages lead to a phone call in which she talks about how difficult it is to date, and I get scared and don't ask her out, because I realized? I don't even really know what dating is. I met Kirsten in college never dated as a real adult. It appears that it's terrifying and stressful, the hell with him another month, goes by making seven since Kirsten die and I've given up on getting, day anytime soon. I do, however, sometimes have nice conversations with Suzanne a teacher at Rowan School, a single parent. Like me,
who was outside doing bus duty, a trouble. I think she's cool, smart and sexy ass. She confirms our three, which tells me that she is going to a rock n roll care for women over April may, occasionally I am convinced that someone as alluring and joyful as she is could never be interested in any one is awkward and press desire. But these morning conversations do feel flirtatious when she comes back from rock cap and gives me the lyrics to a song. She wrote, I think I'm crazy, or does she like me like me,.
I give her a copy of my novel, but I dont inscribe it because I'm paralyzed trying to think of what the right she emails me to tell me she likes to novel and then are Emma messages, become phone calls and we spend hours on a phone every night. I start mixing see these for my friend sailors, Q and aren't we just like a couple of teenagers? I tell him the two single pair trying to date a lot like two teenagers trying to date, except that the people forbidding us from leaving the house at night are much smaller. Eventually, we both get some babysitting and we have a date. It's a walk in the park which quickly turns into sitting in a park, and before long I am kissing a woman other than my wife. It feels good and I don't feel guilty.
The phone calls continue and we have a couple of family dates were Rowan and I get together with Suzanne and her two kids and after one of them. Well, one says to me
Are you going to get married again? I know I say I mean maybe someday well, you know she says this business can go on forever. Is business with Suzanne? No, she says to me and that you are so down. I can't believe it Tom with which all parents are familiar, this business of not having a wife late one night after agonizing about four days. Do I really is a time maybe we'll I scare off? Probably not, but maybe am I really sure yeah. I tell Suzanne that I love her. What did you say? You're mumbling, I repeat myself,
Try my best to articulate and project. I love you. I feel relieved and happy but also guilty for fourteen years. Those words belong only to Kirsten, but now they also belong to their answer. For the first time in my life, I find myself in love with two women. At the same time, if both were alive, this would constitute a pretty serious problem, but here's the thing I'm down here in the mall and Kirsten is up in the bookstore. It would be a stupid waste of time for me to stand here, on the ground floor staring longingly at the bookstore. When I found somebody to go to the orange Julius with.
a month later, I am invited to the wedding of a former student Suzanne agrees to be my date and we get all dressed up. She looks breathtaking and we drive to the church. We sit with a group of my former students and they hug me. They are laughing and joking and I feel proud to be with Suzanne, proud to be invited to this wedding and happy to see so many people who have been so important to me. But when the bride and arrive at the altar I'd feel my chest. Tightening heart racing am, I tear ducks I feel like jumping out of my skin running from the church to save myself. I actually don't know why, until the bride and groom are saying their vows Suddenly I am back in a different church ten years ago, swearing to Kirsten and God in a tree,
pull up people that I would love and honor her in sickness and in health until death. Do us part. I was only twenty six and didn't understand, didn't believe that the sickness and death parts of those bound we come true. Horribly, so the bride and groom walk out arm in arm the happy music plays the attendance bringing down the aisle with big goofy smiles on their faces, and I am allergic back into the present surrounded again by people on love. Holding the hand of one of the women are not the one who's here and looking at me right now, with concern. Suzanne gives my hand to squeeze. Are you okay? Sweetie
I Terry crews, reading Brendan Helpings essay dedicated to two women one of them alive will catch up with Brendan after this
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me and my dad. We liked the first together and I wish her out- I it J C K, p o g, jackpot panic, yeah, nice I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, Slash games, Brendan Helpings essay was published in December two thousand and four. It was only the sixth essay ever published in the modern love column and he updated us on what happened next for him, and Suzanne Suzanne, and I were married in two thousand and five we're still married. We raised three children together, my biological child that her to buy Children- and you know it's awesome. Clearly I made the right call. I certainly hope that she feels the same way. I hope she does, I think,
You know, so I don't have any updates on my love life, which is fantastic, nothing incredibly earth shattering. Fortunately, my world was shattered plenty, you know in the early 2000s, so I'm happy to have a relatively boring middle aged At this point, Brendan and Susan have been together for as long as he and Kirsten were what I miss about Kirsten most is, I think, just sort of the friendship elements, and you know the fact that we really grew up together. We got together when you know we were nineteen, and you know she died at thirty five. So those are very eventful
well years of like becoming an adult. What I feel more than a longing for her presence is just an anger at everything that she missed. She never got to see, Rowan become an adult and Rollins an awesome. Adult and all my kids are awesome adults, but just you know it's not fair, that she died at thirty five and that she suffered so much in dying and Brendan says that he struggled with how to move on after Kirsten death. I kept talking in therapy about what do I owe Kirsten and therapists was wonderfully blunt and was like she's dead. You don't owe her anything and I was like well she's like what. How is she going to collect like she's dead? So that's a little harsh. It sounds a little harsh, but it's really true. You know your relationship with that person ends the moment that they die.
And everything else is about you and how you're feeling and and so it's usually less the widows and stuff and and maybe more peripheral people who see it as some sort of betrayal, you know, but it's it's not a betrayal. It's an it's a wonderful thing to be able to to find love again and that if you've come to know that the person you love can be taken from you at any moment How long are you supposed to wait? Brendan also says that he doesn't want listeners to think that this is just a story about Kirsten. It's also a story about Suzanne, and I just you know she has. I tell her all the time that she saved my life and I don't want to understate or have people come away from this thinking that she's less important because she's enormously important to my life, and I am thankful every day that she's in it and that she's. Given me this,
new lease on life and love that I didn't expect to ever have and losing Kirsten has made Brendan think about his marriage to Suzanne differently. Once you know that someone can be taken from you like, you can't lose that. So I mean I certainly did take Kirsten for granted, not in a way of like not paying attention to her anything like that, but I just figured you know we got married in and we had a kid in and that was hit and we were going to be together forever and then we weren't, and so I'm constantly wear with Suzanne that I'm not guaranteed any more time with her. And so I it's definitely formed the way that I act with her in the way that I the way that I feel about our marriage. I'm constantly appreciative that she's still with me and still hear Brendan Halpin he's written eighteen books, including it takes a worried man
in Boston more after the break the I love spelling bee my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individual. We am not cheating, sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own. I feel a little betrayed. Give may have happened again, so I have one friend, who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was getting nervous. I sent it to my parents. Are some. Me and my dad we like to play fun together and I wish Cutler out I it J C K, P, o t Jack yeah yeah, nice
I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games, here's Terry crews and why he wanted to read this story. I've been married for thirty years and we are getting up in age and our kids are grown and you know one thing about being fifty one is that you have to you start to recognize your own mortality and I've often wondered you know. What would I do when Rebecca is gone? The biggest thing that really hit me was just. I want to go first, you don't know you just don't have any idea. What?
What, if your back, I was here- and this really touched me and touched me about this man starting again decide move on I want my wife to move on what if the roles were reversed, how would I feel about Rebecca Remarrying These were really really intense. The conversations I have myself I'm reading nets and I thought this a story. I need to read to deal with our fears. I cannot. Jane. I just can't imagine anyone else like for me. You just think I wouldn't be. I don't think I could do it, but didn't you, you know yes, you do. You can move on and fall in love again. You know what I mean I was like off, but I I don't if I'd want to. You know what I mean it's just so: Wild
so many emotions, so many Bailey that I think the stories is so complex because it deals with. You know our humanity at its core. Thanks to Terry for reading this week's essay. He stars in Brooklyn, nine nine on NBC Daniel Jones Editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, brilliancy It was published more than fifteen years ago, and this was really back when I was trying to figure out what the column could be. You know it may seem obvious what it is now, but at the time it was like what what is love and what? What are the parameters of what this column is. I think Brendan Brendan's essay. I pushed it pushed it open in a new direction in this
devastating combination of grief and humor and being open to the possibility of new love and having a daughter with her started. Corgi personality? I really credit him for being so open about such a fragile emotional. Periods and just getting it down there, their internet away, teaching teaching me what the modern left column could be and what it could take on. Modern the production of the New York Times and W B. You are Boston, NPR station, its produced directed and edited by Caitlin, ok, original scoring and sound design by Matt Reed. I, those are executive, pretty serve Daniel Jones, the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show the here for the modern pod cast was conceived by LISA Tobin, special thanks to Julia Simon.
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Transcript generated on 2022-04-15.