That is Now Your Chair: Loss, Grief, and Guinan
Late last month, I lost my mother due to cancer. Before I continue, I do want to say that I’m alright and working though things. I realize that, as I say that, I sound like Han Solo reassuring Chewy after being freed from carbonite. But seriously, I’m doing alright. I will likely never get over the death of my mother, but with help of supportive friends and family, as well as some good old Star Trek: The Next Generation, and more specifically “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”, I am one step closer to working through my grief.
You see, my mother had been sick with cancer for over eight years. She fought harder than anyone I’ve ever seen fight before and I will always be proud of her for that, even though I knew that the end was unfortunately inevitable. From the moment she got sick, I decided that, when she passed, I would move out of the family home and start fresh. My thinking was that staying in the home without her would be too much for me on an emotional level. Yet, this all changed a few days after my mother’s passing, when a family friend who was staying with me said, “You could certainly move out, but you could stay and turn it into ‘Cris’s house’; you’ve got lots of space.” Immediately, I wanted to say no and that I would rather move out… but then I thought of “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II”.
As you no doubt probably already know, “The Best of Both Worlds, Part II” is the one where Riker and the gang have to rescue Captain Picard from the Borg. The scene that came to mind was the one between Riker and Guinan. Riker is in the ready room, looking worried about the situation when Guinan Kramers into the room (well, actually, she rings the door chime like a normal person). Riker politely tells her off, but Guinan being Guinan ignores him and tells Riker some hard truths that he must accept. Guinan says, “You must let go, Riker. It’s the only way to beat him. The only way to save him. And that is now your chair… Captain.” Even though this is a very different situation, namely that my mother was not assimilated by the Borg and therefore did not murder millions, thinking about this scene and Guinan’s advice made my family friend’s idea make more sense, so much so that it seemed like the right thing to do.
By trusting my family friend, the way Riker trusted Guinan (though not initially), I could begin to see myself making it my house. I could see myself decorating the way I want, and turning some of the space into my dream office/YouTube studio. Like Riker in the episode, I could see her chair becoming my chair.