The Impact of Loss: Stranger Things Season I

I know what you all might be thinking – how and why are you writing about Stranger Things season one ow… so many years after it came out? Well, let me just tell you. This is my first time watching it all the way through, and I think there are some truths and realities of this show that we can pull out and apply to our lives.

There are many realities that occur within the first season of the show that many individuals face within their lifetime. The main theme that stands out to me is loss. Not only loss in the death of friends and other characters within the show, but loss in the disappearance of Will Beyers, the loss of a fatherly figure for Jonathan and Will, the loss of friendship between Barb and Nancy, the loss of Eleven’s “home” when she escaped, the loss of trust between friends, and the many deaths that happened within the season in and of itself.

See, loss is not defined within a certain set of circumstances such as an individual dying. Loss can be defined as anything – human, pet, item, friend, ideology, perspective, philosophy – that once was that is no longer, or has altered to an event in time and space. I would even argue that there is a loss in who Will Beyers once was prior to going into the Upside Down, and then who he is after coming out of it.

We see the epitome of what loss does to an individual in the psyche and to who they are at the core through the portrayal of Will’s mother, Joyce. She is distraught about the disappearance of her son and sacrifices everything to try and find him. Loss not only alters the way that we are functioning day to day, but it neurologically can change the wiring and firing within our brains. It makes sense that Joyce didn’t feel like she could work, and all she could do was search and try everything she could to find her boy. It makes sense that Joyce would not eat as much, and smoke more packs of cigarettes, because she was trying to cope with the feelings of loss. It makes sense that she would risk her life and go into the Upside Down herself because her number one motivation was to gain Will back and to have him safely in her arms again.

Loss is also portrayed through the discussion and death of Hopper’s daughter, Sara. This loss was devastating, depressing, sorrowful, and deeply painful. Hopper flashes back to the moments that he cherished with her, and remembers the pain that he still carries with him everyday. He copes with the loss of his daughter in varying ways, yet uses his experience to push him forward in ultimately finding Will with Joyce. He doesn’t give up throughout this journey and demonstrates how the pain of loss can be searing, yet the way in which that loss is dealt with – to help others or for self-destruction can change the path for others.

My hope is that this is an encouragement to you, that despite whatever loss you may be facing right now that others may be going through the same or similar situation. Through the connection and help of others, we can be uplifted in those moments to help get us through. Whether in community, support groups, neighbors, family members, classmates, or colleagues, we can all live to help one another out in times of need.

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