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October 30, 2023

Goodbye My Friend

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.

“I’ll be there for you, coz you’re there for me too…”

I had an absolute ball at the Friends TV show Experience this weekend. It such a fun, moving, sentimental experience that will stay with me forever. I was walking through the memorabilia and replica sets thinking:

“Could I Beee Anymore Excited!!!”

Little did I know what was coming…

As I sat down in the replica living room of Monica’s apartment, I felt a deep sense of coming home, deep gratitude, and deep sadness all at the same time. I thought the sadness was just because I knew I couldn’t stay at Monica’s place, and at some point I had to go home. But now the sadness also has another layer since finding out that Matthew Perry passed away.

The TV show Friends was more than a warm-hearted, hilarious and entertaining show to me. It was so many things…

  • It was the way my mum, sister, brother and I bonded when I was an awkward teen growing up
  • It was comedic relief when I was feeling stressed
  • It was comfort when I was feeling sad and lonely
  • It was my reminder to laugh at life and not take things too seriously
  • It was a teacher to help me remember to love and accept all parts of myself and others through the way the show celebrated and made fun of the beautifully flawed characters
  • It’s the way that my family and I still bond as we joke about and reference Friends regularly – our favourite is making fun of mums Chandler expression in photos. The characters of Friends truly feel like part of our family

Friends mastered the blending of comedy with drama in a way that is hard to do and rare to come across. It was genius at sitcom hilarity while also hitting emotionally resonant dramatic notes with the more serious storylines.

The acting was authentic and vulnerable, you could deeply connect with and empathize with the characters, while laughing your pants off. It was really more of a romantic comedy than the average sitcom because it had so much heart.

In my experience as a writer, director and actor, Comedy is actually much harder to create than Drama.

And the cast and crew of Friends absolutely nailed it!

And Matthew Perry was such a beautiful, integral part of this masterpiece.

I’m incredibly sad, and I’m letting myself cry, but I’m also focussing on celebrating Matthew Perry’s beautiful soul, talent and inspiring life. His perfectly performed and constructed character Chandler still brings soo much love and joy to the world and will do for a long time to come, as will reruns of his other shows, movies (17 Again is one of my faves!), and his book.

I haven’t read his book yet, but I know he struggled with addiction, and although he had a rocky journey, he was able to get clean and sober. Through that process he did a lot of healing and he had finally come to a peaceful, loving place within himself in recent years. He built a men’s rehab facility in Malibu and was actively helping other men work through their pain and get sober.

He had been raw and honest in interviews and his book admitting that he left the loves of his life in romantic relationships because of a deep fear that they would leave him. His sobriety journey helped him overcome that.

“In his 2022 interview with GQ, he said that he finally felt that he would make a great dad and a good husband.“It took decades to do it, but I have,” he told the magazine. “I believe that I am enough, and I believe that I’m not too needy, and I believe that I do matter. I know that the next person I date, if it’s good, will be significant, because I’m no longer mired in those kinds of fears. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m not out on the hunt for it or anything, but if it happens it’d be nice.”

On one hand it’s so sad that he experienced this depth of inner connectedness and self love but wasn’t able to continue enjoying his life for another 40 years with his new found peace and start his own family, but on the other hand, I’m so happy for him that he did achieve it in his life time. Not everyone does.

He moved through so many big struggles, deep insecurities and fears of not being enough and transcended the belief that he didn’t have the capacity to truly love. His life is proof that we can heal trauma and find a deep connectedness to love no matter what we’ve been through.

Thank you Matthew Perry for lighting up the world with your sharp wit, your lovable, quirky dorkiness, your honesty and truth, the loving work you did in the world to inspire and uplift those struggling with addiction…

And for reminding us all that it’s not fame, fortune, or raw comedic genius that makes us happy, it’s connecting with the love within and sharing it with others.

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