What is the cost of a hug? To many of us, hugs re-establish our hold on our
loved ones, reassure us of their warmth and life. You can tell that Sam is one
of those guys. He would’ve fit right in with our family. But for Dean, hugs
come with a pretty hefty price tag. In his mind, anyway. It could crumble
his façade at a moment’s notice. As the older brother, Dean has to keep
up appearances. Never let his guard down. In his mind, a hug would break
down his defenses. Let Sam see a side of him that he kept hidden from
the world. In his mind, a hug would make him look weak.
We’ve seen two exceptions from Dean when he lets the wall down.
In ‘Shadow’ Sam and Dean finally see their dad face to face after months
of not knowing if he was dead or alive. No gratuitous hug there. It was
heartfelt and genuine. The other oh-so momentous occasion comes in
‘All Hell Breaks Loose Pt. 1’ Dean grabs Sammy and holds him tight.
Maybe a bit too tight. It causes Sam a lot of pain. But Dean had just
brought his little brother back from the dead. And he holds onto Sam as if
his own life depended on it because, in a way, it did. With the horrendous
sacrifice he had made to keep his dearly beloved family intact, he had to
make sure it was worth the cost. And holding Sam close to him assured
Dean that Sam was, indeed, back. He was NOT going to let Sam out of his
grasp ever again. Because in Dean’s mind, Sam is what matters to him.
More so than his own life.
One of the reasons this show struck such a chord with me was the
relationship between the brothers. Their commitment to one another
against all odds with an unwavering sense of duty for one another. Our
family never had to deal with those kind of situations. But getting to
know these boys, Dean and Sam, brought me back to memories of my
own family. Indeed, on the month I ran across this amazing series called
‘Supernatural’ (June 2006) I was going through a rather bleak period in my
life. Let me expound a bit. From the time we were little, our Daddy instilled
in us the importance of family, of sticking together, of standing up for one
another, of putting our family before all others. He knew that with our
priorities set straight, all of our other relationships would have a better
chance of success. And it has served us well in our lives to live that
philosophy. I’ve passed those beliefs onto my kids ‘cause I know how
important it is to have that love and trust and commitment to help get
through the rough times. And we’ve had our share. Just like everyone.
It’s been 16 years since my dad died but that summer for some reason, it
seemed to me like we’d just lost him and I missed him so very much. I
would harken back to the many family gathering we had while Daddy was
still alive. During those joyous events, we were all huggers. My brothers
were no exception. They brought to our gatherings great reaffirming love
and devotion to one another. And to our Dad. His greatest joy was seeing
his sons all together – leaving their petty differences at the door of our
childhood home and opening up their hearts and souls to one another.
Our dad gave usthat ability. He was the glue that held us all together.
And when he died, some of that closeness died with him. Family
gatherings weren’t as joyous.
At this point in my musings I must add to these thoughts a little essay my son
wrote when he was about fourteen. He is now 27 but at that point it had been
four years since his Grandpa (our Dad) had died. He titled it ‘Memories Don’t
Die’ and it just reinforces the reasons family is so important and why this
show we call ‘Supernatural’ brought back to me how very precious family is.
`I remember waking up as a child to the most comforting sound - My Grandpa's lawnmower.
It was always a comfort, sort of just knowing he was there, lovingly caring for his beautiful
lawn as he cared for those around him. And I could just picture how proud he looked on his
little lawn tractor, sitting tall with a broad smile on his face.
Everyone knew Ed was special by the way his easy-coming smile seemed to
brighten the room or how his infectious laughter seemed to carry through the air so easily.
My love for him couldn't have been any greater. And my love would grow when he called
me my pet name "Little Benny". So sacred to me was that pet name that I would be
furious if anyone else called me by that special name. (emphasis mine)
Holidays seemed so much more special at Grandpa's. Even though I was little I can still
recall the words us grandkids were waiting to hear: "Time to go to Grandpa's for
Thanksgiving dinner!" And on the short trip over our minds were filled with the taste of
Grandpa's wonderful dressing and the smell of his sweet tender turkey awaiting us on
arrival. During the dinner we children would have to sit at a 'kids' table longingly glancing
at the 'adults' table which was always filled with loving and friendly conversations between
my grandpa, seated at the head of the table, and all the other relatives. You could see the
joy in my grandpa's eyes as he saw all his children and grandchildren together as a family.
Sure, we always wanted to sit at the 'adult' table but that's only because we didn't know it
was much more special to witness that loving display than to actually had to have been a
part of it.
Christmas was loved by one and all of our family, but most especially by Grandpa. He
seemed to me to be St. Nick himself because of all the joy and love that he brought to
the celebration of Christ's birthday. My Grandpa and uncles and aunts would talk of
each other's health and the feeling of being together as a family once again was in the
very air we breathed. Love filled my grandpa's house and it never ran out of love.
Summer was Grandpa's element. He was enraptured by the scenery and the smell in
the air. But most of all Grandpa loved summer because of his garden. I remember
Grandpa taking me and mom (that’s me) on a tour through his garden. His eyes would
light up as he predicted how his garden would do this year and you could hear the joy in
his voice as he answered patiently the questions I would ask about a plant here and there.
He loved gardening and it showed in the way the rows were meticulously lined up or how
there would never be any weeds in his garden.
Behind Grandpa's garden in the shade stood a beautiful grove of crabapple trees and
every time I rode bike to Grandpa's farm he'd always greet me with a hug, a pinch on
the cheek and he'd whisper happily, "Hi, little Benny." And we'd sit 'til sunset and eat
crabapples and talk about many things. And just before sundown, just as the sky was
lighting up as if in a wonderful display of Mother Nature's fireworks, Grandpa would stand
up and stretch. His body would be silhouetted against the sky and I'd think - Grandpa
looks too skinny.....But the worry would soon be forgotten as the night wore on.
But then it would get to the point where I wouldn't stop worrying for awhile. Like when
Grandpa would come over and we'd pass the warm afternoons with Grandpa hitting
pop flys to me as I would run and catch them. But whenever I threw the ball back to
him he would groan from the countless aches and pains that he had. Every time he
had to bend over and get the ball I'd start to worry a little bit more. But he never uttered
a word of complaint, though sometimes I wish he would've.
Then on the worst night of my life Mom got a call from Grandma. "Yes, oh God, I'll be
right over!" I asked where she was going and she hurriedly said she was going to
Grandpa's.Just being a child I couldn't hear the fear in her voice. The anticipation of
things to come. I asked if I could come too but she never answered, and I never saw
For so long I was numb. Just floating through the days. And life seemed nothing more
than a dream. It happened so quick, I'd think, but then I'd wonder how long we were
expecting it to happen. Sure, he had lots of things wrong with him but goddammit, so
many people loved him! He has so much love left to give. He had many more summers
of gardening and hitting pop flys to me on mild summer afternoons. So many times left
to pinch my cheeks and call me 'Little Benny'! And he had many more hours of mowing
the lawn. He had this and so much more in him left.
`Mom said 'Memories don't die.' So why do people?, I'd ask silently.
That Thanksgiving after Grandpa died was silent and mirthless. I sat at the 'Adults'
table but it wasn't as special to me anymore... it wasn't as special to any of us anymore.
And every holiday less and less relatives would come. It almost seemed as if Grandpa
actually tied us all together as a family. And saddest of all, on those beautiful summer
mornings I knew Grandpa would've loved, I wouldn't hear a lawnmower doing its job
guided with gentle hands by one of the most special people this world ever had...
My Grandpa. Our Grandpa....
But sometimes, like on the morning of his funeral, I could've sworn I heard his
John Deere running like it always did..........
By the time I’ve finished reading this, I’m always in tears. Benny (he finally
let me and his dad call him that) has put into words what so many of us
felt but couldn’t adequately express. I know if Benny could have brought
his grandpa back to life, he would have done it. At any cost. But we all
know that’s not possible. Dad is gone but he will never be forgotten. And
I’m not trivializing our family loss when I say that the summer I found
‘Supernatural’ all of these thoughts were like a scab that I kept picking at
until the pain was almost overwhelming. Then ‘Supernatural’ came into
I must tell you that I had never felt compelled to write a ‘fan’ letter before this
show. But I sent letters to Jensen and Jared just to tell them of the impact
their characters brought into my life. I don’t know if they ever received the
letters. I guess, at this point, it doesn’t really matter. I just had to thank them
for putting their hearts and souls into the roles of Dean and Sam.
For me, ‘Supernatural’ and those two brothers reinforced the importance
of sacrifice, of total dedication and commitment and love of family at a time
when I needed to hear it most. I will be forever grateful for that. If we lose
‘Supernatural’ before it’s time (who knows what it’s future holds at this
moment in time – The CW will be taking it off the schedule after the last
of the new episodes air) it it will be like losing another beloved member
of the family. And I don’t know if I’m ready to deal with that yet.
As to our Dean and his hesitance to overtly show affection…..(there’s
always one in every family ) To me, he shows an abundance of affection.
You just have to read between the lines. So I guess we should cut Dean
a little slack. Those times he did hug were extenuating circumstances.
And you can’t hold that against him – so to speak…. Hey, maybe Dean’s
just not a hugger.