Thinking Fans mourn: Matthew J. Cormier says, “I can’t even begin to know how Guiding Light fans are dealing with the loss right now. I was such a wreck when Loving, The City and Port Charles were cancelled and they didn’t run nearly as long as Guiding Light” … while Blake reflects, “It’s really going to hit me some time, but right now I just feel sad every time I see an article about GL being cancelled” … and more. See Comments below.
By Damon L. Jacobs
Fans of CBS’ Guiding Light, as well any one who cares about the future of the daytime soap opera genre, have had reason to grieve this past week. Even if the cancellation wasn’t a complete shock, it was nevertheless a cruel jolt to lose this beloved institution, and it deserves to be mourned as such. My “cyber step brother” Patrick Erwin is eloquently sharing his emotional journey of coping by using Kubler-Ross’ Five Stages Of Grief at A Thousand Other Worlds . It is my hope that as a community we can work through this tragic death together and help each other reach and stay at the “acceptance” phase. Here are some tools that can help:
1. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings come up around GL‘s cancellation. You may feel angry, disappointed, exasperated, depressed, maybe even relieved. Whatever it is, it’s okay. The worst thing you can do in this situation is to undermine the seriousness of your emotions by saying, “It was just a soap opera.” Yes, it’s entertainment, but it has been an integral part of millions of families for several generations.
2. Talk about your loss with others. Be kind to those who have never watched the show and don’t understand what you’re coping with. The internet gives us a wonderful opportunity to share our pain with each other. Use message boards and comment sections to share your memories.
3. Understand that everything in this world eventually dies. Everything. I will die, you will die, redwood trees that stand for 100 years will eventually die. Guiding Light has defied all the odds in the entertainment industry by remaining a powerful force for 72 years. We have a choice to celebrate that.
4. Try losing “shoulds” about Guiding Light’s cancellation. I know this is hard. Dropping the “shoulds” isn’t the same as saying that it is okay for this to be happening; it is simply practicing humility to recognize that none of us truly know how things “should” be. The purpose of this is not to excuse what is happening, it is to allow yourself more peace with what is happening.
5. Take back from this show what is yours. Even if network execs take away the program itself, they will NEVER take away its meaning and importance in my life. They will never cancel how I’ve been inspired by Reva’s resilience, Harley’s spunky determination, Holly’s complex emotions, or even Nola’s nutty daydreams. Roger Thorpe, Rick & Phillip, Blake & Ross, Annie Dutton, and of course “Otalia” have in one way of another enriched my world. These characters will stay alive and vital as long as I do.
So now it’s your turn. How are you dealing with this loss? Who are the characters that will stay with you long after the Light goes out? Please share any of your memories and thoughts with Marlena and the Soap Shrink below.
Damon L. Jacobs is a family and relationship therapist practicing in New York City, and the author of Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve. He blogs regularly at www.shouldless.com.