I met Grace and Frankie last year.
Septuagenarians coping with a new normal.
Divorcees who never expected three score and ten to include a roommate and dislocation from all that once was.
I have watched their lives unfold.
I have laughed with them.
I have cried with them.
I have been angry with them, at them and for them.
I have grown to love them as friends and contemporaries.
I have never met them.
You see, “Grace and Frankie” is the name of a Netflix series I discovered last year.
Played by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the Anal Waspy Socialite and the Free Spirited Jewish Hippy Bohemian (who are radiant in these roles), they are an unlikely coupling as roommates but they find themselves having to run in place on the same track as they initially cast side-eye at one another.
Their husbands, soon to be ex-husbands, announce to them (around a restaurant table to waylay a scene, the husbands hope) that they are in love with each other, have engaged in an affair with one another for twenty years and now that they can, they want to get married…to each other.
Sayonara life as the ladies once knew and lived and loved.
Sayonara to a future filled with retirement and grandbabies and exotic trips around the world.
Sayonara yesterday, hello uncertainty.
I feel their pain, their sense of loss, their severed identity.
The ex-husbands move on with life as usual with the desired partner and no drastic unexpected changes (well, maybe one).
Grace and Frankie have to figure out exactly what is “moving on.”
This is not an attempt to review the series, and I suppose some of the material should be problematic for me, but it isn’t.
Instead, I want to talk about the “lossness” with which the women struggle, loss that is palpable throughout each episode.
Who wants to be seventy years old having to figure out the rest of their life, however long that life might be?
How do you pursue purpose at a stage in life when you thought you had accomplished pretty much all you were going to accomplish by that stage of the game?
Grace and Frankie stumble and fall, regain their equilibrium to move awkwardly forward like a blind person in a unknown space.
They have to learn to walk again, 69 years later, and they have to learn how to negotiate their own way through the rest of their life without fear hobbling their stride!
Eventually, they become fearless and fierce in pursuit of their own voice.
Real life Graces and Frankies take note.
Sometimes the end really is the beginning
I see you, Grace and Frankie I see you!