Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Am Rebecca Pearson

Note: This blog entry contains my personal opinions and references the television programs This Is Us (NBC) and Glee (Fox) because they are special to me but I have nothing to do with these shows or characters.

My family attending a Kentucky vs Arkansas football game with a fellow UK fan (sitting between our two daughters) at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on September 22, 2007.

During the summer of 2016, I participated in a six week summer program in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC). As a 50-something year old retired Technical Writer and longtime movie and television fan, this was one of my dreams come true. I was surrounded by film and television productions, sitcom writing and meeting professionals in the entertainment field in California.

I was busy writing scripts for class, watching sitcoms for homework, reading books and working on projects. I met many great people - including several other students that became good friends. Yes, they were about the same ages as my two daughters at the time - 23 & 19 - but we all shared a love of film and television and bonded over movies!

At this time, I noticed a preview of an upcoming NBC show called This Is Us. At first I thought it was three different shows! Because I was living in Los Angeles, instead of Little Rock, I noticed the preview playing many times a day on the NBC affiliate in LA. This trailer quickly became the most viewed preview of the summer. The pilot episode aired on Tuesday, September 26, 2016 and I eagerly awaited to watch it back home in Arkansas.


I saw the entire cast of This Is Us at a special event held during
PaleyFest in Holywood in March 2017

By the end of the first episode, I had already fallen in love with the Pearson family! In fact, I wrote a blog entry about the show during the first season on November 15, 2016. If you are reading this blog entry, you are probably already a fan of This Is Us, but just in case you are not, I'm going to discuss several things that have been aired during recent episodes. So it's SPOILERS if you have not watched all the aired episodes.

Long Story Short - this program jumps back and forth in time so the viewer sees the characters in past, present and even future times. Over the last year and a half, so far 33 episodes in two seasons, we've found about how Jack and Rebecca meet, fall in love, get married, have children and then we see these children as adults and their children. We also found out last season that Jack died when his children were teenagers.

Thus, the title of this blog entry - I Am Rebecca Pearson. Of course I do not mean I'm actually the fictional character on a television show but I have experienced (and survived!) some of the situations she is going through now on TV.

Family trip to Orange Beach, Alabama during Spring Break, March 2012
  • My two daughters were teenagers when my husband died suddenly on May 10, 2012 of an undiagnosed Pulmonary Embolism. I had to tell my youngest daughter (15) in the principal's office at her high school that her father who she had said goodbye to that morning in our home had passed away. With the help of our church youth director and my oldest daughter's (19) boyfriend, she was told on the phone on her last day of college that her dad had died. Rebecca had to tell her three children that their father died after he was taken to the hospital following a house fire.
  • Like Rebecca, I too had spoken to my husband before he died. A neighbor called me to say an ambulance had taken my husband to the hospital after he fainted at home while talking to an air conditioner repairman. I called his cell phone and he told me to meet him at room 2020 in the ER. I got there and was then taken along with my parents to a small conference room where about 30 minutes later a doctor came in to tell me that it was not good news, he didn't make it and passed away from a blood clot.
  •  The Pearson's were big Super Bowl fans and always celebrated that day. When our children became active in our church youth group, one of our friends hosted an annual Super Bowl watching party at their home. We would go every year and always had a great time!
  • Like Rebecca told Kevin on the episode, Super Bowl Sunday that aired on February 4, 2018, after the actual Super Bowl, each year Jack sends her a sign that makes her smile and laugh, such as a special song playing on the car radio. That has happened to me too. One of my husband's favorite singing duos is Hall and Oates. And my girls and I loved watching Glee. My oldest daughter always wanted actor Cory Montieth to perform the song You Make My Dreams Come True on the show and on the episode titled Mash Off that aired on November 15, 2011, the character of Finn, along with other characters, performed a mash up of I Can't Go For That/You Make My Dreams by Hall and Oates. On the day of my husband's visitation at the funeral home, the girls's and I went to the home decor store Kirkland's to buy me a jewelry box for Mother's Day, which was three days after my husband died. We were in the store about five minutes when the music on the store's loudspeaker started playing the first few beats of the song You Make My Dreams Come True. My oldest daughter ran over to me and said that it was Dad sending us a sign to let us know he was with us. We all smiled at the thought. Since then, we've all heard that song in different places, including my youngest daughter hearing it in the Washington D.C. airport! That's pretty amazing for a song that came out in 1981.
  • In the episode that aired on February 6, titled The Car, Jack and Rebecca take the kids to a local car dealership to buy a used car and Jack ends up purchasing a brand new Jeep Grand Wagoneer so his family will be "Ok". On my husband's 50th birthday in 2010, we bought him his dream car, a black Jeep Wrangler. He loved his Jeep and loved taking us for rides in it, putting the top down. After he died, my father wanted me to sell his Jeep Wrangler since I was still paying on it, but I refused to sell it. My oldest daughter then drove it for three years in college in Arkansas and now my youngest daughter is driving it in college in Mississippi. Like my husband used to tell me and Rebecca said at the end of the last episode, "We're gonna be OK."
Another thing that I noticed during the funeral scenes, the only people that spoke were Rebecca, each of the three children, close family friend Miguel and Dr. K, who delivered the children years earlier. No interfering in-laws, no annoying funeral home employees and no idiots saying things like "Everything happens for a reason".

Rebecca takes the kids out of the reception after the services, goes to "Jack's Tree" where they scatter some of his ashes and then drives all of them to a Bruce Springsteen concert, thanks to Jack for buying tickets the previous week as a surprise.


In October 2012, five months after my husband died, we went to a Glee event in California where we met Dot-Marie Jones, who played Football Coach Beiste.
Almost six years later, my oldest daughter is a proud U of A college graduate and works at Harvard University as an Event and Education Coordinator while my youngest daughter is a junior Journalism major at the University of Mississippi.

Yesterday was Valentine's Day and I received a beautiful arrangement of pink roses from my two daughters.


February 14, 2018

I know that my husband is proud of all of us.


2 comments:

  1. Hi Leslie,
    I enjoyed reading your blog about your husband. I am so sorry for your loss. That is really an amazing set of circumstances between your life and the show! I am sure your husband is proud of you and your daughters ❤️ By the way nice namešŸ˜Š

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  2. Leslie, Thank you for the sweet comments! I really appreciate it that you read my blog and left a comment. I saw the new movie "Game Night" today and in the movie, when the 2 main characters walked in a bar, the song "Sara Smile" by Hall and Oates was playing in the background! It's one of our favorite songs and Sara is our youngest daughters name! BTW - when I was in college there were 6 other Leslie's in my sorority! Have a great weekend! Leslie

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