To our collective benefit, Ricky Gervais was able to grace our Netflix screens as Tony, the nice guy turned angry guy for a second season of After Life. With the perfect balance of dark humor, this show connects people through the difficulty behind grief. We follow Tony as he remains stuck in his grief to the point it consumes him, and he no longer sees a purpose in living. He doesn’t feel like he’s living at all, after death removed the one person that made his life full. He’s entered a new reality that feels like hell on Earth and he just wants that pain to end.
At a time where so many are being impacted by death and loss of physical interaction, this show really couldn’t have been broadcasted at a better time. After Life reminds us more than ever how impactful and meaningful human connection is to our lives. Throughout all of the dark comedy and the eccentric characters, we’re reminded that we all bruise and we all bleed. Death, as hard as it is to face, connects us all through that pain. No one can live a life as a stranger to death—and that hard truth unexpectedly reminds people that we are all more alike than we may realize.
Tony finds it so hard to move forward after losing the love of his life, his wife Lisa. He eats, breathes, and sleeps their memories as he constantly re-watches home videos of her to temporarily soothe his pain. Unfortunately, this just holds him in the past. He’s unable to move forward because he believes there’s nothing else for him to live for. We see how both toxic and comforting living in the past can be although when we’re stuck in grief we sometimes tend to only allow ourselves to see the comforting aspect.
I think we can all relate to Tony if we’ve ever lost someone prominent in our lives. This depth of loss pushes our instinct to question the meaning of life and our purpose as human beings. We question what the point of anything is, if no matter what, the ending is the same. Now as the show—and my article thus far—bring morbidity into the discussion, what we can all be comforted by is the commonality that so many of us feel a similar way when dealing with loss. This reminds us that we’re never as alone as we may think. Tony and his friends help show us that we all mean something to someone. We all get lonely and we all feel loss and the only healer to fight these negative feelings is love from other people.
The catch: love comes with loss and there’s no way around it.
When Tony sees a glimmer of hope as he starts to find meaning in friendships and work, he’s bombarded with the loss of his father. With each day comes change. If we don’t move along with that change, our body moves forward but our mind stays stagnant. There’s no perfect path to dealing with death or loss, but acceptance is a start.
Don’t worry about your past—by focusing on your present and hoping for your future. We lose people but we gain people too. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and ultimately keeps us going, because human connection is at the basis of all relationships and the love that brings meaning into our lives.
Love connects us because it connects us with each other—and grief connects us through the loss of that connection. When death disconnects us from ourselves, it’s love that puts us back together; love from family, friends, and partners. Love holds us together and moves us forward. Life goes on, even if it’s different.
Not every day is promised just as the time we have with the people we love always has an expiration date. Throughout our lives we hold onto people, and we lose people, so then we hold on to the ones we have a little tighter. That’s why we must tell people how we feel and share as much as we can while we can share it. We must allow love to enter our lives instead of pushing it away because people keep us going during the hard times. People remind us how much we all long for human connection and ultimately, love. Love save us all, even new and different kinds of love.
When you’re afraid to show vulnerability, find comfort in knowing that we all face those fears. But also know that the people that push through those fears and let people in are the ones that fill their lives with as much love as humanely possible.
Death and loss will always be difficult but people will always be there to get us through—even if it’s not from the people we expect.