There is nothing more depressing than turning on the television at nearly one o’clock in the morning only to stumble upon the series finale of The Golden Girls. As Rose (Betty White), Blanche (Rue McClanahan) and Sophia (Estelle Getty) stand there, hoping Dorothy (Bea Arthur) will pop in for just one more hug goodbye, you realize you don’t need to watch the whole episode, or series, to cry along with the cast.
By looking at the faces of everyone on screen, you will see their eyes say so much more than any dialogue could ever express. The audience feels an overwhelming sadness because the end of a long-running program – a show with which they invested time, and often, emotion – looms near, while the actors cry not only because it’s what the script dictates, but also because a chapter in their life is drawing to a close.
And, with this being the season for graduations, we cannot help but look upon the current hour as one of melancholy and nostalgia. While the majority embrace change and eventually accept it for what it is, memories flood in and only relieve themselves in the form of tears. Even for someone like me, who graduated over a year ago now, the outpouring of sadness cluttering my Facebook News Feed in the form of photo albums and status updates is enough to make a girl misty-eyed for the good ol’ days, when my best friends were only a short walk away. Life goes on, and the aftermath isn’t really as bad as one may imagine, but the idea that what once was will never be again creates a dark cloud that will only dissipate with time.
This week, the last Harry Potter film wraps up shooting. The film franchise that launched the acting careers of its stars, Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, will enter its final post-production phase, capping off its ten-year stint at the top of the box office with a two-part send off in the form of The Deathly Hallows.
Yet, while we as an audience are mourning the impending end of a series that has entertained millions over the past decade, for Radcliffe, Watson and Grint, this ending shall be bittersweet. As if they are actual graduates of Hogwarts, the threesome will now be free to spread their wings and dapple in whatever they see fit. And though this change may be liberating, it also holds that same melancholy severity that comes at the end of all things. The cast has grown up before our very eyes, right along with many of us as we too matured alongside Harry, Hermione and Ron. But as the overly used cliché does state, all good things must come to an end.
Perhaps this is why many of the world’s self-induced endings come at this time of year. Have we strategically timed sad events with the beauty of the budding, nice weather as a way of buffering the inevitable? Sure, our eyes may be clouded with tears for a moment as we say goodbye to television shows and the characters that became members of the family as they celebrate their series finale. And it is safe to say that the tears will fall like rain on a mortarboard as caps are tossed toward the sky and we wave goodbye to the friends who became brothers and sisters. But, once the cloud lifts, and we begin to see again, the beauty of the springtime and the world around us dries the tears and bombards us with a sense of life and vigor that proves to us endings truly are just a way to begin again, that everything has its season, and that all will come full circle no matter what the circumference.