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Last week I started describing some of the relationship truths we learned from the popular PBS series Downton Abbey. This week the lessons continue.
Never turn down a second chance at love
I think I grieved for Matthew Crawley almost as much as Mary did. But time – and life – goes on. I wasn’t sure if Mary was going to overcome her reluctance to marry Henry Talbot but fortunately good sense and love finally prevailed. Not everyone gets a second chance at love but if, and when, it comes we’d better grab it.
There were only hints that Tom might find love again with Edith’s secretary, Audrey. But the signs were there. Tom hadn’t had any shortage of women who’d shown interest in him after Sybil’s death, but Sybil was going to be a tough act to follow. Audrey showed real possibility and seemed to catch Tom’s eye. Since I love to write happy endings, I have Tom and Audrey’s as the next marriage that would take place and they’d soon be providing Sybbie with little brothers and sisters. Tom deserved another shot at happiness and he’d know that Sybil would have been the first to tell him to take it.
Sometimes by helping someone else achieve a goal we end up achieving our own
Mr. Mosley was a kind, giving man who was always willing to help someone else. Whether it was lending moral support to Baxter or helping Daisy study and pass her exams, he had a mild and unassuming manner which frequently caused people to underestimate and overlook him. When he was offered the teaching position after helping Daisy I felt as proud as if I’d given birth to him. I’d been rooting for him for a long time and it was about time to see this nice guy finish first. And while I’m writing endings for characters, I’m also writing a happy ending for Mosley and Baxter as well.
You can love people even when you don’t always understand them
Mary had a special relationship with Mr. Carson. He seemed to be a pseudo-father to her and no matter what shenanigans she might pull, she was always perfect in his eyes. We all need someone to love us unconditionally, even when we don’t deserve it. And their mutual regard transcends class boundaries. From Mr. Carson we learn to look for the best and forgive the rest.
A good friend will help you storm the manor house
Violet and Isobel seldom saw eye to eye on any issue. Violet defended the class system and the established ways while Isobel eagerly anticipated change. Both women were unafraid to speak their minds and didn’t change their opinions or values to suit the other. In the end though, it was Violet who helped Isobel burst into Lord Merton’s home. Everyone needs a friend who will help you “storm the castle” when you’re at the end of your rope. These two strong women showed us that we don’t have to change in order to please anyone and that at the end of the day a real friend will come through when you need her most.
Those who are kind to others live on after they’re gone
Probably no character left more of an impact than did the youngest sister, Sybil. More than once you’d hear someone speak about her afterwards and it was always with love, admiration, and respect. Sybil was a young woman ahead of her time: unbound by class expectation and societal shackles, Sybil treated everyone as her equal. She was the one who would help a servant do something to improve their lot in life. A peacemaker with a truly kind heart, Sybil was remembered by many outside her own family. At the end of our lives, wouldn’t it be nice to think that people remembered us just as fondly and with as much affection. Sybil, though a young woman, shows us how to make an impact on the world that lasts long after we’re gone. Not bad for such a short life.
I’ll miss Downton Abbey. My Sunday nights aren’t quite the same since I’m no longer sharing them with the Crawley family. But as Downton so aptly taught us, life goes on. So I’ll curl up on the couch with a new guilty pleasure on TV and our old Corgi at my feet. Because one last lesson from Robert Crawley is this: life is always better when you’ve got a good dog by your side.