Finale Again, and a True Story

We have all spent a lot of time here re-hashing the Chuck series finale and analyzing every little detail, especially related to that final scene, in excruciating detail.  At this point, the principals of this site, as well as the majority of our regular commenters seem to have found the hope and joy that were meant to be in that scene.

Once again, back to the beach!

This is not going to be another discussion about the entertainment value about that end, but rather the true story of a couple of Chuck fans and what the ending meant for them.  Join me after the jump for a unique and powerful guest post.

We got an incredible e-mail here at Chuck This several weeks ago.  It is an amazing story of healing and recovery that obviously relates directly to the Chuck series finale from ref91507, who always signs his comments “Erik”.  So without any more distraction from me, here’s Erik in his own words.

I would like to share with you guys the story of me and my wife. It relates to the ending of the series, and I have very strong feelings personally about what they were trying to do. I hope you take the time to read it. I will keep as short and simple as I can.

I want to start off by saying I am not a man that cries a lot but the last scene at the beach between Chuck and Sarah hit me like a ton of bricks and caused me to come to tears.  I can very much sympathize with Chuck the character. So here we go.

I met my wife in 2003 in North Carolina at the church where I was the youth pastor. We dated for 2 years and were engaged for about 18 months. We were married in May of 2007 for about 6 months when my wife sustained a head injury in a car accident. The blow she suffered hit her with such force that it knocked her unconscious. When she woke up 5 days later she remembered very little about the previous 4 years. She thought she was still in North Carolina and she had no memory of me. She recognized her mom, dad, brothers, their wives.  However she did not remember her 2 nieces or nephew, who were all under the age of 4.

The doctors told me that brain injuries are tricky to deal with and amnesia is still a big mystery, and that there was no right or wrong way to proceed.  They suggested that I bring some things that are important to her and us to try to spark or trigger some things that she could remember.  So over the next 3 days while she was in the hospital she and I talked and I brought her our photo albums, our wedding pictures and DVD, and a few of the other things that were important to us. She also talked with her parents and brothers but nothing made any sense to her. She knew the truth, and saw the evidence of the life she had built with me but she just did not remember anything.

After she was released from the hospital I asked her what she wanted to do. She said that she wanted to be with family for a while because she didn’t have those same emotions and feelings for me, which meant she wanted to go back out east. It was one of the hardest conversations I have ever had to have but I told her ok go be with your family and take all the time you need. So she went with her parents and I went back to my apartment alone for the first time over 4 years.

Then about 2 weeks later I got a call from her mom telling me I should try to get there soon because she was starting to remember a few things but she didn’t know what they meant. So I packed my bags and headed out east. Her mom picked me up from the airport and told me that she remembered something new that morning, a memory from our first date. So I planned our first date all over again and just like the first time she enjoyed herself. But for me it was bittersweet.  She told me that while she liked our date, and wanted to spend more time with me, and that she was getting some of the memories back, she didn’t know what to do. I remember saying these exact words to her, “My love for you will never change. I don’t want to be selfish and push your into something you don’t want to do. I can’t and I don’t want to make the decision for you. I have a life back in Iowa I need to get back to. Whatever you do I will support your decision. Just know and remember I will always love you and always be here for you.” With that our first date again ended and I took her home and she went to bed, while I slept on her couch.

The next morning she drove me to the airport and I flew back home. Over the next 10 months she would call me when she remember something else to see if what she was remembering was true or not. The calls started slowly at first once a week, then a few times a week, and then she started calling just to talk to me. Then 10 months after my visit my dad picked me up for our weekly dinner and said that tonight will be different. We pulled up to the Olive Garden, my favorite restaurant, walked inside and sitting at a table near the back was my wife. My dad said this night is for you two and he left. I was in total shock that she was sitting there. We had a great dinner and I loved every minute of it.

After dinner she told me there is some place I want to take you. When we got there I asked her if she remembered the significance of this place and she said that she didn’t but that for the last several days she has been dreaming of this place and that it must have been important. I told her that just up over the hill one summer morning after we had been out all night I brought her to this very spot and proposed to her. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Your one of my best friends. You have been so patient with me. I know I was your wife and I understand why I loved you. I don’t feel that way now but I want to try to get back there again. Can we try?” That was the best day of my life.

 Of course I said yes, and she eventually got back the place where she can say, “I love you” and truly mean it. We are still married to this day, but unfortunately she remembers very little about our wedding, and she doesn’t remember much about our first 6 months of marriage and the doctors don’t know if she will ever recover all of her memories. But together we share memories that are just as special as the ones we shared before the accident.

The last 2 episodes for me were very emotional, almost painful to watch as you can see why. I can see myself saying those exact same words that Chuck said to Sarah during those episodes. And I can see what Sarah is really saying to Chuck when she says, “Chuck tell me our story.” I get it. I loved it and I am glad they ended the series on that high note. 

Obviously the end of Chuck touched Erik in a way most of us will never experience.  But to me, it really emphasizes the hope, joy and promise at the end of our favorite show.  Many of us struggled with seeing those things on screen.  It may have taken some of us weeks, or even months to find peace with that story and that ending.  But Erik saw it right away, and he’d lived it.

~ Dave

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About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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19 Responses to Finale Again, and a True Story

  1. Chris Dunlap says:

    Dave, Erik, thanks for posting! My wife and I certainly didn’t have you and your spouse’s experience. We had something similar occur only not as severe. About ten years ago my wife had a grand mal seisure and while coming out of it she had no memory of me. I was absolutely terrified. Fortunately it was only temporary and short lived. I can’t imagine what you two went through. I can see why the finale was so poignant for you as it was for me. I see the hope in it and come to appreciate what the writers intended.

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks for sharing that Chris. I still say, I think the ending was too subtle and required too much effort on the part of viewers to find the intended joy and hope; BUT, I think it’s really interesting and cool that fans who have lived through such experiences seem to have picked up on what was intended right away.

    • ref51907 says:

      Your welcome, Chris. I do not recall be terrified, just really confused and scared. I am glad your situation worked out in the end. As you can attest to, I wish situations like that on no one.

      Erik

  2. Jenny says:

    Wow, Erik.. thanks so much for sharing your story… and i hope you get to read this 🙂

    I can’t begin to imagine how you felt and feel today after what happened. I’m glad things turned out well and gave you and your wife a happy ending after all. And i know we are just talking about “just” a TV show here…. i’m still amazed at how it doesn’t seem to let us go!… and that real life, your story, is of extremely more importance, but it actually does help and gives a real perspective of how Chuck and Sarah felt, how difficult it all was, and of course, in the end, the joy of knowing things worked out, cause we KNOW it did! 🙂 Theirs is a story of love and dedication… just like yours.

  3. joe says:

    Erik, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story, Chris, the same goes for your speaking up. I’m truly touched.

    You’ve increased my understanding and enjoyment of the the finale, and because of that, of the entire series. I won’t be able to watch it again with the same eyes. That’s no small feat and no small gift.

  4. Robert says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Erik. I read it at my job (yeah, I know…), and it moved me to tears (my colleague was looking at me, wondering what was wrong). I’m really glad it worked out for you two.

    As for Chuck and Sarah, your story just proved to me that I was right to think that after the beach scene they would be ok, that Sarah’s memories would continue to come back, and that, sooner or later, she would be back (to a reasonable degree) to who she was, while making new memories with her Chuck, and loving him again. I had no doubts, a lot of us had no doubts, even the tv critics(like Sepinwall, Moe, Gray Jones) had no doubts.

    Her feelings for Chuck were apparent at the beach scene, even before that (the Embassy dance), and I knew they would overcome it, because that’s their story, that’s what they did for the last 5 years, overcoming every obstacles that would come their way and threaten their relationship.

    • Robert says:

      And now it’s amazing how close to “reality” Thinkling’s story about Chuck and Sarah from right after the beach must be. That’s uncanny (or well researched)!

  5. anthropocene says:

    Erik, thank you for sharing this intensely moving story of you and your wife; and Chris, thank you for sharing your experiences as well. You’ve given a whole new context to these discussions. May your stories continue to be happy ones.

    • ref51907 says:

      Thank you, anthropocene, for your blessing. I am positive that joy and happiness will continue to be apart of our lives. I wish that for you and everyone else that visits this blog.

      Erik

  6. Chris Dunlap says:

    Erik, Dave, Joe and all, Thanks for the kind comments. It’s amazing how this show won’t let us go. I didn’t get the end right way like Erik did, but I certainly have a better appreciation now.

  7. resaw says:

    Erik, thank you for sharing your story. What a beautiful demonstration of faith, hope and love.

  8. Thanks for sharing your true life experience with us Erik. Tough times where love, patience, and understanding triumph over adversity. The story you told us is far from the exception. It happens all too frequently in these cases. I’m very glad to hear it worked out for you in the end. God bless you and your wife, sir.

    I had dear a friend go through a similar experience a few years ago. The same circumstances, an auto accident that resulted in a massive hematoma and subsequent brain injury with loss of memory and other functions. If he hadn’t already been at the hospital because his daughter was injured and a neurologist just happened to be on duty, he would have surely died. Years later he is still recovering. Sometimes the gains are slow, other times they come miraculously fast and with giant steps. He’s back on snow skis again and working as geologist/geophysicist.

    • ref51907 says:

      You’re quite welcome, Angus. I am sorry to hear about your dear friend. I wish him the best on his ongoing recovery. I know that I got extremely lucky with wife and how it turned out. It could have been a lot different. I one thing I have been taught again and again through my ordeal is that the rocky, tough, and painful times help us to enjoy the great, good and fun times all the more, if we let them.

      Erik

  9. Faith says:

    I cried…okay I cried a lot reading that. Thank you for sharing Erik.

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  12. Bajangal says:

    Wow!!!! I can feel all Eric’s emotions in that post. Thanks for sharing. Thanks to you sharing your story and reading fanfiction, I am finally at peace with the series finale even though I can’t bring myself to watch it again. I’m glad that you and your wife are happy, I guess true love always wins, just like it would for Chuck and Sarah.

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