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Don't mind me...I'm just mourning a fictional character

Posted Feb 06 2012 8:00am
Have you ever read a book so captivating...so enchanting...that you end up falling hopelessly in love with the characters?

They begin to feel like real people to you, rather than fictional characters in a book.

You can't stop talking about the book to friends, family members...total strangers on the street.

Before you know it, these characters have fully consumed you.  You begin to avoid appointments and turn down play dates just so you can stay home and read this book.  Perhaps even neglecting your kids for a few minutes so you can sneak in just one more paragraph.

Well, I'm certainly guilty of this.  I have such passion for books...it's almost like a ravishing love affair that devours me whole.

When I finish a book, I need at least a few days (if not an entire week) to process the story line and have closure before I can move on to another one.

Recently, I fell in love with yet another set of characters (I won't name the book here mainly because I don't want to spoil it for any one who hasn't read it yet).   Head over heels, whole-heartedly.

There were several twists and turns which I couldn't foresee and then...out of nowhere....one of the characters died in a horrific car accident.

She was young...a foolish, drunk teenager...who made a stupid decision not to wear her seat belt.  And due to a series of poor choices, her best friend (also her twin brother's girlfriend), who also had been drinking, was driving.

The story continued with how this one bad decision affected two families.  The aftermath of this terrible tragedy was gut-wrenching.   Everyone's lives were affected one way or another.

The best friend takes responsibility for the accident (even though it was the dead girl's twin who was supposed to be driving) and she goes to prison for 5 years.

Soon after, she discovers she's pregnant and offers her boyfriend the opportunity to raise their daughter, with no intention of ever being involved in her child's life.

I felt the devastating pain of these families, especially the dead girl's mother, who is so consumed with grief she's unable to bond with her granddaughter...or feel anything at all.  She's just a hollow shell, floating through life, crossing days off on a calendar.

Of course, the story ends on a happy note but for awhile I was so caught up in the drama of this book that I found myself in mourning...for a fictional character.

Yes, people...I cried real tears and grieved for someone who doesn't even exist.  I wielded such sorrow and heartache that it felt as though I had lost one of my own children.

I didn't even realize how much it had affected me...how deeply the anguish pained me...until one of my kids mentioned something.

"Mommy," Cole mentioned.  "What's wrong with you?  You're acting sad."

I replied, "Well, I guess I kinda am sad.  I was just really into this book and one of the characters died."

He stood there for a full minute, digesting what I had just told him.

"But you know it's not real, right?  It was just a book," he stated.

"Uh, yeah, I know it's not real.  I suppose it just affected me more than expected."

And then my 7-year old son rolled his eyes at me and walked away....

"Mommy's sad because some fake character in a book died," I overheard him mumble to his concerned siblings.

Whatever.  I can't help that my emotions are as obvious as Kim Kardashian's inability to love another human being more than she loves herself.

I shouted to them, "Yeah, don't mind me...I'm just mourning a fictional character.  There's nothing wrong with that!"

Or is there?



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