While I know this is a few weeks late, I figure better late than never.  This post isn’t about the end of a TV show; no, it’s about so much more. It’s about saying goodbye to a show I grew up with, one that helped me through difficult times, that made me feel less alone, and that let me escape my own world for an hour or so each week. One Tree Hill, this is for you.

Some people might not relate to OTH as I have. And I’ll admit there were times when it get over-the-top and borderline silly, but when you look to the core of this show, it’s extremely relatable. At it’s center, it’s a show about a group of teens growing up together in a small town in North Carolina. It started in my freshmen year of high school, so I grew up with them, and graduated with them. As season five began I experienced growing into an adult and incredibly life-changing things with them. And in the final season, just shortly before it ended, my husband and I bought our first house.

While some grew up to Harry Potter or Dawson’s Creek, or 7th Heaven, I grew up to One Tree Hill. And, isn’t that what makes it so hard to say goodbye? That we aren’t just saying goodbye to characters we loved for nearly 10 years, we’re saying goodbye to our own pasts and realizing we’ve grown up. The fact is there is one poignant line in the episode that says it all. “It’s the oldest story in the world. One day, you’re seventeen and planning for someday. And then quietly without you really noticing, someday is today, and then someday is yesterday. And this is your life. ” – Nathan Scott.

There’ve been a myriad of recaps of this episode, so I’m going to hit on the points of it that I found most important, and the things that came full circle. Last night I watched the first episode of the series, so I noticed even more moments than I originally had.

-Brooke and Julian: While their story ending wasn’t as epic as Clay & Quinn’s (getting married! getting custody of Logan!), it was a full circle moment for Brooke. She is able to return to Peyton’s bedroom, where she grew up and she also is reliving her younger years as Ravens begins filming as a TV show. But the best moment was when Julian surprised her with her old house. Seriously, this guy wins husband of the year. Brooke finally gives the house the family it deserves. Her parent’s finally give her the love she deserves. And, most importantly, Brooke gets the happy ending she deserves. In my opinion, of all the characters, Brooke grew the most.

-Nathan & Haley (Naley <3) I think they are my favorite part of this show. Their love is something I still find adorable and Mark Schwahn did great at bringing it full circle. When they’re sitting together having dinner, it was reminiscent to me of their first “date” together, and also the blackout episode in season 3. And when Nathan gave her the (very pretty) bracelet and said “Don’t say I never gave you anything,” I was full on bawling my eyes out. Of course they went for one last run (and sexy time) in the rain. I truly felt the love between those two as strongly as I did in the first season.

-Overall: For the last 20 minutes of the episode (essentially the time when Gavin Degraw started playing Belief) I was absolutely bawling. This show received such a fitting end, that left me smiling and crying (happily). Watching Nathan share a moment with Jamie– one he always longed for with his own father– was beautiful. Seeing Haley pass on the special box to Jamie brought me back to the first episode, with Lucas and Haley hanging out at the mini-golf course on the roof. And then there was the flash-forward epilogue-y ending. The moment of Nathan calling Haley so they wouldn’t be late was JUST like the moment when Keith called to Karen for Lucas’ first game with the Ravens. The use of Gavin Degraw was also fantastic. As they all stood in TRIC belting out “I Don’t Wanna Be,” my heart melted; it also returned to all of the beautiful moments in this series. But the thing that got me most of all was the quotes. Especially bringing back “There is a tide in the affairs of men…” and “Make a wish and keep it in your heart...” those had me crying more than anything else, because it reminded me of what this show is and always was. A little show that could. A little show that did. A show that changed my life and inspired me to write. Mark Schwahn has always been great at making the little things the big things (Haley reading Julius Caesar in the Cafe), and the finale was no exception.

In closing, I’d like to revise a statement I’d made about 8 months ago, that there had been no hour-long series with a good ending. Well here it is. One Tree Hill made a fitting end that brought it’s characters, fans, and everything essential to the show (music, quotes, places) full circle. But then, I never had a doubt, since seasons 4, 6, and 8, all had endings that could have served as series endings, and all were perfect and full circle. Mark Schwahn created a beautiful show, and ended it just as beautifully.

It will be tough to say goodbye, to those characters, and to who I was. That’s why the end hurt so much. Because I realized that “someday” was true for myself. That I’d grown up, and someday is now. OTH’s end comes in a bittersweet way. The end of an era. Memories of my past, hopes for my future, my new someday, and my story’s epilogue. But then I’ll always have the memories, and I’ll always have the show to come back to when I want to relive those emotions and those character’s stories. Here’s to the end of a show that taught people to believe in something– anything. In themselves, in literature, art, music, love, God. Here’s to you One Tree Hill, thank you for helping me, inspiring me, for reminding me I’m not alone… and I never was.

So what now? Well, now I start all over again. Season One. It’s time to relive the character’s stories, my stories, and to remember why I write. To remember the reason why I keep writing and keep believing in this pipe dream of mine…
“There’s a tide in the affairs of men…”

-“I’ll being seeing ya.”