It's a wonderful streaming TV show that explores grief and loss with warmth
By: Linnea Crowther
1 month ago
The first season of "Sorry for Your Loss," a ten-episode drama/comedy following the life of a family grieving a death, recently aired on Facebook's new streaming video network Facebook Watch.
The show's star is Elizabeth Olsen, playing Leigh, the young widow of Matt (Mamoudou Athie). As you might expect, the show focuses often on Leigh's grief after her husband's unexpected death.
Previews and clips make it clear that this is a show about the death of a young man — so much so that some of its potential target audience commented on Facebook promo posts that they didn't think they'd be able to relate to the show's millennial leads. But I'd argue that this show is a worthwhile watch for pretty much everybody. That's partly because there are so many relatable characters on so many fronts. The primary characters are:
Leigh, who is in her late 20s when her young husband dies. Her grief and shock in the wake of Matt's death have taken over her life, making her an angry person and paralyzing her from moving on.
Matt, who appears in frequent flashback scenes. Since college, he has been medicated for clinical depression, and he still struggles to find happiness and to feel like he's allowed to want good things for himself.
Jules, Leigh's younger adopted sister. Matt's death shocked her into trying to make a fresh start in her life, and she's now in recovery from alcoholism.
Danny, Matt's brother. His grief is as important to the show as Leigh's, though his grief experience is totally unique from hers. Losing a sibling is simply different from losing a spouse.
Amy, Leigh's mother. She loved her son-in-law and also grieves his death, even as she fight to keep her business afloat and wishes for a meaningful romantic relationship.
There are also a few minor characters with particularly interesting stories:
Becca, another young widow who is trying hard to be "the perfect widow" because she finds that people like her better when she's upbeat than when she lets her grief show.
Drew, Leigh's boss and best friend. He got engaged immediately after Matt's death, realizing life is too short to wait, but then found he couldn't tell his best friend about his happy news just yet.
Richard, Leigh's father, who has trouble understanding his daughter's anger and remoteness as she grieves.
Sabrina, Richard's wife, who reveals she's a member of Al-Anon and bonds with Jules over their shared experience with alcoholism.
Bobby, Matt and Danny's mother, who has lost her husband and now her son.
It's a big, messy group of people who are both grieving and reacting to each other's grief, and there's someone for almost everybody to relate to in some way. There's also a lot to learn from the events that unfold over ten episodes. Just a few of the big topics explored in "Sorry for Your Loss" are:
• Finding the strength to go through a deceased loved one's possessions, deciding what to keep and what to give away or discard
• Feeling overwhelming anger after a death
• What it's like to attend a grief support group
• Helpful vs. unhelpful things to say to a grieving person
• Knowing that attending a wedding after the death of a spouse will be painful – but not expecting how difficult it can be after losing a different loved one, like a brother
• Struggling to understand why and how your loved one died when death was sudden and unexpected
• Experiencing temptation to backslide into old vices after a loss
• Not knowing how to help a friend or family member who is grieving
• Returning to dating and intimacy after the loss of a spouse or partner
The show is funny sometimes, heavy sometimes, and so real that it could be a raw and painful watch for someone who is actively grieving a death. But please don't let that turn you off from watching it. Many will find themselves in tears at some of the scenes, and that's not such a bad thing. There's catharsis in tears, and watching a show that makes you cry can be a healthy way to express sadness that you may have been bottling up. Well-meaning friends may think you should cheer yourself up by watching happy, upbeat TV shows and movies, and there's certainly room for that in your life, but you'll do yourself a favor if you don't entirely shy away from shows that might bring out your sadness.
"Sorry for Your Loss" offers representation to grievers — seeing someone like yourself onscreen is important and necessary, and there haven't been many TV shows that focus so intently on grief. Even if you're not just like Leigh, or Danny, or any of the others grieving Matt's death, the script spends plenty of time with all kinds of people who are struggling to get through life after the death of someone important to them. And you're likely to have, at some point as you watch, an "aha" moment when you see a character behaving much like you have.
Whether "Sorry for Your Loss" helps you work out your own grief, helps you understand someone else's grief, or just offers the solidarity of knowing you're not alone, it's worth the watch for anyone whose life has been touched by loss.
Not sure how to watch a series on Facebook Watch? We've spelled it out for you here, where you can also access links to our recaps of all ten episodes.
Are you grieving the loss of a loved one? Find comfort in our grief support groups:
• Loss of a Spouse
• Loss of a Sibling
• Loss of a Parent
• Loss of a Child
• Loss of a Family Member
• Loss of a Friend
• Suicide Loss
• Addiction Loss
• Pregnancy and Infant Loss
• Loss of a Veteran
• Loss of a Pet