Today's thoughts have a more somber tone than usual. That's because many years ago on this date, I promised to love someone until death we did part in front of God and witnesses. One of the few things in my life about which I have no regrets is that I fulfilled that promise.
I was fortunate enough to fall in love with a wonderful man for the second time in my life and am happily remarried now, but that doesn't stop the memories and reflections about what went before, especially on days like this.
By the winter of '98, my first husband was very ill, his body having been ravaged by disease for many years. He was tiring of the battle that was daily life for him. Most of our conversations revolved around medications, treatments, etc., but one of the last things I vividly recall him saying to me was, "Buffy might have to kill Angel. I don't know what she's going to do, but I can't wait to find out."
How extraordinary was it that a man whose only certainty about the next day was that it would be filled with pain and suffering looked forward to it anyway because he wanted to watch Buffy? Anyone who thinks it was a silly show or his desire to watch it wasn't important has no idea what they're talking about. I was so awestruck that he cared about it ... about anything at that point, that I didn't even know how to respond. The show did exactly what it (and all forms of entertainment, for that matter) was supposed to - it distracted him from his problems enough that he found time to enjoy something.
I should point out that I was not watching Buffy at that time, not because I didn't like it, but rather because I worked two jobs, took care of my sick husband, and went to school at night. In my "spare" time, I cleaned the house, did laundry, went food shopping, did homework, wrote papers and programs and took care of the finances. I did not have the luxury of watching much television and I was in class when Buffy was on so I never got to see it.
Sadly, my husband passed away before the season ended and he never got to see what happened. It took me months to be able to turn the television on again after he died, so I didn't see it, either.
But when the show started up again the next season, I watched it religiously, hoping that his spirit was there with me, and he was able to watch his favorite program. From there, I (we) watched every Buffy and Angel episode. My second husband and I have enjoyed Firefly and Dollhouse (and Dr. Horrible, The Avengers, etc.) together.
But I am eternally grateful to Joss Whedon and the cast of Buffy for giving a dying man something to look forward to. At a time when he knew only pain and suffering, he could still get excited about that one special hour a week when he could watch Buffy. If that isn't something extraordinary, I don't know what is.