Upon finishing parts one and two of the HBO Miniseries, Olive Kitteridge (based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Elizabeth Strout) I thought to myself, “wow” that was the saddest television I have ever watched. Little did I know that the first two hours was only the precursor for the emotion and trauma that was set to surface in the third and fourth installment. I do not think that I have ever felt so attached to any character in fiction than I was to Henry Kitteridge. Henry was such a well intentioned man, that always tried to do the right thing. But the most meaningful, and heart-wrenching, aspect of Henry was his ability to find meaning in even the simple matters, such as sending a fathers day card, or playing with his old train set. It was these tendencies of his, to light up and extrapolate such joy from his environment, which made me reflect upon the gifts that I am blessed with today.
When “the mouse” and her new husband, the man whom used to work alongside Henry, showed up to the Kitteridge’s for dinner, I could not help but feel the disappointment and sadness that Henry experienced upon seeing such a bright and promising girl enter such a controlling relationship. Moreover, Henry’s optimistic outlook on the future, which starkly contrasted Olive’s gloom and pessimism, and his hopes to gleefully travel the world made his stroke and eventual death even more of a dagger. If any man deserves happiness it is Henry Kitteridge. While he may have died early, the lasting relationships he sustained, and the pure joy he found in being an honest sympathetic man leads me to believe he did die in fact a happy man, even if he never got a chance to play train with his grandkids.