Saturday, March 22, 2014

It feels like the feeling might kill you.

I can't watch the Budweiser Clydesdale commercial without tearing up. My heart catches on a sharp and familiar feeling. Check it out:

The man raises the horse from infancy-- training her as a Budweiser Clydesdale. This short mini-movie commercial hits on so many of the emotional hotspots of those who have experienced abandonment:

  • There's the watching the truck come to get her. I feel a tug in my solar plexus. 
  • There's watching him wave goodbye. I'm feeling warm. 
  • There's the sitting alone at the table with a beer knowing the loved one is out there somewhere-- without you. 
  • There's the climax! The hopeful anticipation of reconnection when the Clydesdale comes back to town.
  • Alas! There's that momentary flatline of unfulfilled expectation when the horse passes him by without a sideways glance. 
  • Then there's the resolution! The blissful relief when the man sees the horse come galloping after him, returning at last. He gets to have the tender moment when he knows he has not been forgotten, that he has not lost love!

My heart swells with gladness that the abandonment is undone! That our separations can result in reconnections and requited love. And all's well that ends well.

But that's why television and Madison Avenue hook us.

That's why I could watch this commercial over and over, and probably tear up at all the right places-- every single time. I know the feeling of missing and wishing for different outcomes, and all that fallout from separations. They've got my number!

But my point here is not to have a Budweiser and drown your sorrows, or to keep hoping that those who left will come rushing back, or that you will be reconnected with the dead, or that you should keep waiting for the happy ending.

My point is that our emotions and hurts may not ever vanish altogether, and they may resurface at the most unexpected moments for the rest of our lives. I'm here to testify that all that raw emotion can tear us all to pieces when we find ourselves in the friggin middle of our issues.


There is not a feeling that we can experience that will actually kill us. It just seems that way. We must remember to feel it, acknowledge it, reel from the discomfort of it, then work our way through it.

My novella Salt in the Sugar Bowl is like an abandonment manifesto! Sophia Sawyer walks away from her six children and never looks back. Each chapter visits one of her adult children to see how the separation impacts on how they live and love. Available from Main Street Rag Publishers, at, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, select Barnes and Noble stores. Inquire at your local bookstore.


  1. So true...memories linked to images and emotions bombard us and tug at the 101!

  2. Great Commercial... wonderful insights.


What are your thoughts? I look forward to hearing from you.