Lady Mary and Dealing with Grief

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary on Downton Abbey.
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary on Downton Abbey.

Last night’s Downton Abbey was a shocker. I’m still reeling from what happened to my favorite character, Anna–and worried what it will do to my favorite couple, Anna and Bates.

But in the midst of all that, there was a quiet moment from Lady Mary that really struck me. She was talking to Anna about her grief over losing her husband, and said she was mourning not only Matthew, but also for the person she used to be when he was alive.

That’s not something I recall hearing before, but oddly enough, I said something similar about myself a couple of months ago.

I lost my father back in March, and I spent a lot of time taking care of him for several years before then. Life became very busy, and crammed with my full-time job plus caregiving. Somehow, the imaginative Robin with her head full of stories got crowded out. There wasn’t time to think, let alone to dream.

I went through a period of mourning back in the fall when I almost felt dead, myself. Most of the time I felt flat and not at all creative, and I would remember the “old Robin” with a kind of sadness. But then there would come times when a song, or a sunny day, or something unexpected would revive me, and then that hurt, too, because the memories would come flooding in. Then–like Lady Mary–I would feel grief for the old Robin with her family intact, and with her funny, fun dad.

I’m better now. I thank God I have my book coming out soon. It’s forcing me to think of stories and be creative again, and that’s a very good thing. And most days, I feel revived. But grief is an up and down thing.

I’ll be watching Lady Mary’s journey (and Matthew’s mom, Isobel) with interest this season. I trust the Downton Abbey writers to handle it with sensitivity and to keep it real.

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