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'We're Not in This Life for Peace': How an Episode of 'the Golden Girls' Encouraged Me to Hold on When I Needed It Most

The Golden Girls never shied away from focusing on issues

By Ghezal AmiriPublished 6 years ago Updated about a year ago 8 min read
'The Golden Girls' [Credit: NBC]

CW// this piece contains mentions of suicide.


"You wanted me to be here for your death... How about letting me be here for your life?"

The Golden Girls was a groundbreaking series that aired on NBC during the height of the family sitcom boom from 1985-1992 and featured the hysterical musings of four stellar women: Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia. These fictional characters felt like real, complex individuals with their own distinct personalities, providing frequent bouts of hilarity that kept fans entertained for 180 episodes and continues to do so over thirty years since its conclusion.

While there are a number of examples that would fall into the discussion of greatest TV sitcoms, I would place The Golden Girls in the top-tier and personally refer to it as my absolute favourite sitcom of all time. Besides the obvious comedic aspects, there were occasional episodes that dealt with the more taboo subjects of the time (and some that are still considered taboo). From adultery to homosexuality to deportation, The Golden Girls never shied away from focusing on these topics — with one particular episode standing out to me from its fifth season.

The One Where Sophia's Friend Wants Her There When She Commits Suicide

Season 5, episode 7’s "Not Another Monday" tackled the issue of suicide and what choice you have if a friend wants you present when they decide to end their life. This episode focused on Sophia's friend, Martha Lamont. Martha is a woman who believes that she can no longer stand the pain and loneliness of the physical world, choosing to end her life by her own hand rather than waiting for any more illnesses to afflict her. In her own words, she doesn't "want to see another Monday."

As Sophia struggles with the ethical and moral obligations of her dear friend's request, the B-plot centered around Dorothy, Blanche and Rose caring for a newborn while her parents were away. The episode contains one of the funniest moments of the entire series as the three women attempt to calm the baby down by performing "Mr. Sandman" entirely acapella. Watch it below:

(Side note: it’s also no coincidence the writers decided to place the juxtaposition of birth and death in this episode… and I love them for it).

Let me give you some background of my relationship with the show and delve into some (very) personal territory of where I was in my life many moons ago.

For A Number Of Years, I Was Lost

My dear grandma, my Bibi, passed away in March 2010 after a long and grueling battle with breast cancer. I was in high school during this time and experienced a constant struggle with trying to pay any attention to anything around me as I was so preoccupied with worrying about one of the most important human beings in my life being confined in an underfunded hospital where she didn’t speak the language and was in pain 24/7.

We would visit her on a daily basis and I would always arrive home just in time to catch a syndicated episode of The Golden Girls. It comforted me watching these older women in the prime of their lives; I needed some sort of escape for that half an hour. As I mentioned, my grandma knew no English except “yes”, “no” and “thank you”. Before she was admitted into the hospital, I would visit her at home and at the end of every hang sesh, I’d tell her that I loved her. She did her best to learn how to say “I love you” but it ended up sounding more like “I lub oo” which was honestly more than enough for me. This practice continued through to her hospital stay until she physically wasn’t able to speak anymore.

During one hospital visit as I said my goodbye and headed into the elevator, I realized I forgot to tell her I loved her. It was late, I was tired and I wanted to go home but something in me knew I should head back to quickly tell her. As I re-entered the room for a brief moment, I walked over to her ear and said “Bibi – I love you.” I saw her mouth struggling to make movement as if to say something but she hadn’t been able to speak for about a week at that time. I moved my face toward hers and she managed to quietly whisper “I lub oo.” About an hour or so after I returned home, she died.

My Bibi’s death hit me hard and continued to stay with me as I entered university. For the years of attempting to get my Bachelor's, I struggled with virtually every aspect of what was going on in my life:

  • The Financial ("Am I able to afford this class?" "God, I don't want to look at my financial statement right now... Maybe if I ignore it, it'll go away?")
  • The Course Load ("Wait, when were we assigned this?" "Is this syllabus for this class or..?")
  • The Future ("Why am I even in school right now?" "Maybe I can take a year or three off and everyone will forget I was enrolled in the first place...")

A myriad of personal problems hovered over me and made me sympathize with Sisyphus — the Greek mythological figure whose best friend is a boulder for all eternity. I would have truly done anything humanly possible (and otherwise) to have just one opportunity to call her and have her answer on the other end. Simply hearing her voice would’ve calmed my nerves when I needed it the most.

Something I heavily regret during that time is refusing to tell anybody about my struggles – I genuinely believed it would be better to bottle up all my emotions as much as I could and occasionally have a nice, muffled cry in bed at 2 am when my hourly you-aren't-going-anywhere-in-life thoughts popped into my head. I'd be lying if I said there weren't periodic instances where I briefly thought, "I mean, what if I just don't wake up tomorrow morning? Like I want to wake up, obviously, but... just what would it be like to not have to deal with this anymore?"

Why This Episode Affected Me As Much As It Did

When I was home alone one night, I suddenly felt the urge to watch an episode of The Golden Girls. There were probably exams or something going on that had me at the peak of my anxiety. I switched the TV to whatever channel was airing the show and settled in for what was sure to be a nice distraction from the cloud of despair hovering over me…

The episode was "Not Another Monday" and my jaw dropped when I heard Martha ask Sophia to be present during her suicide. She seemed content and sure of herself that she didn't want to live anymore. Watching Sophia (who reminded me way too much of my grandma, by the way) reminisce with Martha by pleading for her to "remember life" stung me. Sophia reminded her (and, by extension, me) that "we're not in this life for peace" when Martha reasons that their departed friend Lydia looked so peaceful at her funeral.

The normally sarcastic Sophia Petrillo had tears in her eyes as she attempted to convince Martha that this wasn't her time. An exasperated Martha reveals the loneliness she feels on a consistent basis and — after Sophia's pleas and vow to invite her over to the bustling Golden Girl abode — Martha dejectedly states, "I don't know what to do."

The following line from Sophia is what stuck with me then and remains a key reminder in my life since initially watching this episode however many years ago:

"That's the point: if you're not sure, you can't change your mind tomorrow."

While the entire above sequence makes me tear up, that quote convinced me to keep a laser focus on the finish line regardless of how far away that irksome line seemed to be. "School isn't forever… These struggles I have aren't forever. Those who care about me would want me to hold on with everything I have because I know I will come out of this putrid funk I happen to be in at this moment."

I somehow managed to graduate with my BA and am currently a copywriter for one of my favourite websites. Despite my rather hectic (but wildly enjoyable) schedule, I’m able to periodically check in with Vocal.Media and compose an insanely vulnerable write-up about a dark period of my life and it’s truly such a cathartic feeling. Drafting up a Vocal article honestly feels like coming home. Allowing myself to shut everything off for an hour or so and just write about anything for a community I’ve been a part of for… yikes, over five years now?!

So that was an unforgettable experience of mine courtesy of a TV show from the 1980s… To conclude in the most cheesy way possible: thank you for being a friend.




Thank you for reading! As you can imagine - this was a deeply personal experience to share and if there was even one other person who could slightly relate to anything I mentioned above, it was more than worth it.

Submit your own small moment in the "Passing Ships" Challenge for Vocal members.

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About the Creator

Ghezal Amiri

Afghan-Canadian writer who enjoys witty quips and BTS, proper grammar and Jodie Comer.

I tweet with @MrsBananaPhone because it's the best and beats the rest.

I also have designs:

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