Almost two years ago, my mother passed away very suddenly. I will never forget the moment I found out, the pain in my father’s voice, or the task of calling my grandmother to inform her. I had some amazing friends who stepped in to help, but that didn’t stop grief from enveloping me. The program I was in at the time was not what you would call supportive of the grieving process. They grudgingly gave me a week off but after that it was full steam ahead, and keeping busy is one thing but trying to juggle a tough academic curriculum while your brain is hazy from grief is almost impossible. I was made to feel abnormal for taking “too long” to mourn, which helped send me down the rabbit hole of depression (again). Post-secondary institutions talk a good game but when it comes down to it, their mental health programs aren’t exactly stellar and even in a program that talks a LOT about mental health there were faculty members who openly suggested that maybe it wasn’t grief or depression, maybe I just couldn’t hack it.
I was visiting my parents last weekend and one evening, we were bored. There was nothing on TV and we were all talked out. Yes we have tons of DVDs but there wasn’t one that we could all agree on. That’s when my inspiration struck. I got out my Playbook, connected it to the wireless network, and grabbed my HDMI cable. Luckily, my parents have a new TV with a very conveniently placed HDMI port on one side. I plugged in the playbook, switched the source feed on the TV to the HDMI port, and all of YouTube was at our disposal. We spent a very enjoyable evening watching music videos ranging from Great Big Sea to Gordon Lightfoot with some Simon and Garfunkel and The Guess Who sprinkled in.
I also showed my parents, who don’t use YouTube unless I send them a link to something, some of my favourite videos. Then I played a slideshow of the pictures I had on my playbook. Not every video looked good on the big screen but we could all watch them and it was a really enjoyable evening. Although I don’t have any kids, if I did, this would be an awesome way to show videos of the kids taken on the Playbook to friends, relatives, living further away who happened to visit. It’s a good thing that Dad has a playbook because I think the evening of YouTube might just become a family tradition. The next time I’m home, I’m going to set up the Remote control on the Playbook and sit on the couch to direct the action.