One of my favourite TV shows is The Walking Dead, along with its spin offs. I have watched religiously since the start, even sticking with it through the long series on a farm, or the rinse and repeat of find a community, destroy them, and move on again from a few series back. It is great now by the way, just as it finishes!
However a major point is that in reality the Walking Dead are not the Zombies, or walkers or whatever they may get called, but that the real walking dead are the survivors, our plucky group of men and women, battling to survive this harsh new world. So why are they the walking dead? My thoughts are that it is because they know their fate. It is all around them, they can see the inevitable, and so are just waiting for it to happen. Hence they are dead already, and so walking dead.
To a certain extent I feel this way right now. My wife has a terminal disease, which means that currently we know how the story will end, barring some new breakthrough in medical science. And that means we are the walking dead, fully aware of our fate, and waiting for it. I hate the feeling of helplessness this brings, as I feel there is nothing I can do (and as a husband and father that is extremely frustrating). Every bit of treatment, every meeting with a specialist feels like an act of kicking the can down the road, putting off the inevitable. Every time we enter a new similar phase of waiting for scans with her being just that little bit weaker, with the disease being that little bit stronger.
There is hope. As I mention every day extra is a day closer to a cure, as well as being an extra day together. These days were not expected, and we have been able to make the most of them. However those good days become less and less, and the bad days become more and more. Today has been a bad day, as the treatment has been exceptionally tough, and cumulatively has really kicked her. Thats it for now, we wait and see if it will do its thing while she rests and recovers. We wait while we all rest and recover.
I’m a big fan of The Walking Dead, have been since it started. Even through the years when it has lost fans, and the story may have sagged (The Saviors war, the farmhouse etc), I have kept with it. And this week series 10 finished (only what 18 months after it started – damn you Covid!!). The final episode was Here’s Negan, the backstory of the titular character, protagonist of earlier series, and all round badass.
I have to say I have been taken with Negan as a character, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as an actor. They both have an effortless cool (smashing people in the head with a baseball bat aside), and brought a lot of menace to the series. This week we saw how that came about, and why he was how he was. And of course, cancer has to play a part. I have noticed that many programs now use cancer as a plot device, which when you are living with a sufferer is very annoying – we had to stop Deadpool for instance, and struggled with Cold Feet in the UK when a main character got breast cancer.
But I feel that The Walking Dead dealt with the subject very well. I saw a reflection in the way that I need to protect and do anything for my wife – Negan heading out to find drugs, and refusing to leave the cabin as it is too dangerous for instance, matches how I feel when my wife requests a particular food stuff, or I want to keep her safe during the last year of the pandemic. And then the way that Lucille wanted to try and control her environment – this is exactly how my wife feels – she cant control her health, but can control how our house looks. The portrayal by Hilarie Burton was amazing.
And finally, I can see how the change came about in Negan when his wife dies. Not just the anger causing a reaction, but the mental reaction to the stress that has built up, the release of the end of the feeling of being held back by the disease – that is how I feel alot. Similar to Negan – we are trapped by the cancer, cant move on, and feel paralysed with fear, and confusion. I dont know how to move on, but have a feeling that when the day comes, that is when the pressure will lift.