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How The Vampire Diaries Helped me Process my Grief

This summer, I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s. Honestly, I didn’t see it coming. She helped raise me when I was little and always cooked me my favorite food when I visited her. I remember calling her one time and noticing how she wasn’t going on about her day or the neighborhood gossip. She seemed more detached and confused as to why I was calling her to begin with. 

After that, my mom went to take care of her and put her in a nursing home while I stayed alone in my Tercero dorm during my first year of college. I started grieving soon after that, but didn’t realize it until I began crying multiple times a day. Six months later, when my grandmother passed, I felt less depressed but still couldn’t shake the feelings of sadness and detachment. Luckily, my friends and family helped me come out of this hole, but there were still days when I felt myself drifting back to that place.

A few months ago, however, my mom and I began the Vampire Diaries for the first time. I’d heard that it was famous in the 2000s, but I had never gotten into it. That being said, the first episode got me hooked. I love the ridiculously dramatic plot and romantic encounters. And I have to say… Delena all the way. 

Throughout the series, Elena is always processing grief: whether from losing her parents, her brother, her aunt, her friends, or basically anyone she grows close to. I didn’t really think much of this at the beginning, only thinking that the writers were flat-out cruel. However, when Elena loses her brother in Season 4, the Vampire Diaries got a bit personal for me. As a vampire in this series, you are able to “turn off your humanity”, meaning you feel no emotions whatsoever: grief, love, anger, or joy. You just become a remorseless being with no care for what damage ensues. Now, I never became this way when I was grieving, but I definitely acted as if nothing was happening and became numb to cope with my loss. Two episodes later, however, Stephan and Damon (the superior Salvatore in my opinion) form an intervention to bring Elena’s humanity back. 

She’s stubborn in the beginning, and refuses to come back. That is, until Damon kills one of her childhood friends in front of her, and reveals he was actually wearing a protective ring that prevents humans from dying (yes, I unfortunately know the lore of this show far too well). At that moment, however, Elena is completely shocked, going through anger, sadness, and joy all at once. Elena then starts crying out hysterically saying she doesn’t want to feel her overwhelming pain, to which Stephen and Damon calm her down until she’s stable. I hadn’t really thought about relating my grief to the show until that very moment when I started crying, remembering the conflict of overwhelming and numbing emotions I felt at the height of my grief. It was a cathartic moment that encouraged me to accept my emotions rather than be indifferent to them. 

I am now in the middle of season 7 (nobody spoil it for me!) with more respect for the show and a genuinely happier point of view on life. I’ve strengthened my old friendships and made new ones which have helped me immensely. My advice is to remember that your grief is not a burden to others, it’s a reflection of your “love persevering,” to take a quote from WandaVision

This is the UCD Contributor page from University of California, Davis! 
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