Last year was the first year that on his birthday, I wrote about missing Dean Winchester. I thought maybe that would also be the last time I celebrated his birthday; that by the next year, he would be put on a shelf, remembered always but as a cherished part of my past.
Instead, it’s January 24, 2022 and I am still missing Dean Winchester.
I know how grief works, how it’s a process that eventually results not in letting go of who or what you love, but slotting it into a place where you can remember and love always but also move on and love other things. I thought, by this time, maybe I’d have fallen head over heels for another fictional character, another TV show or book or movie. I thought everyone else would have too – and that’s certainly what happened for many of my friends. Some people I met and became good friends with in the Supernatural fandom did move on, either to other shows and characters or away from fandom all together.
That’s never easy for me – I am beyond thrilled for them, but change is hard and I sometimes wish we were “all in this together” as it felt for so many years as a Supernatural fan. That we might not agree about where we wanted the show to go or who was our favorite character, but we all watched together and cared about Supernatural. I tend to be pretty fandom monogamous, and it seems my love for Dean Winchester and Supernatural is very much alive and well fourteen months after the series wrapped.
But guess what? That’s okay. This is a post of gratitude, not sadness. I am so happy to be able to say that my love for Dean hasn’t waned in the past year, and I’m even happier to say that I’m not alone in that. My timeline may not be as overwhelmingly Supernatural as it was when the show was airing, but it’s still full of gorgeous pictures and gifs of Dean Winchester doing what he does best – saving people, hunting things. Protecting the people he loves. Sometimes bloody, sometimes brave. Sometimes scared, sometimes vulnerable. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying.
Always, to me, endlessly fascinating.
I’m so grateful that there are other fans who are still as in love with Supernatural as ever and still want to talk about it. Grateful for the online book club that has read Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and my other books on Supernatural, and to all the Supernatural actors who joined in over the past year to talk about the chapters they wrote (pretty sure Jensen Ackles made a lot of people’s day when his chapter was discussed.)
Grateful for my little rewatch group who are watching the show from the beginning. I’m so enjoying writing reviews of those early seasons so that this website will have a review of every single episode. Grateful for the facebook chats and discord groups and twitter DMs that give me a space to gush as much as I want about why yes, Dean Winchester IS still the most fascinating, complex, compelling fictional character of all time, thank you very much.
I’m grateful to everyone who follows this blog and comments on these posts, and to everyone who chats and shares and laughs and cries together on twitter and tumblr and Instagram and facebook. Grateful to the talented creative fans still writing the most amazing fanfiction and creating the most amazing art and taking con videos and photos and sharing with all of us. I was so afraid there would be no new content once the show ended and that hasn’t happened; I am thankful for that every single day.
I’m also really grateful that the people who love the Winchesters as much as I do and brought them to life so brilliantly have not forgotten them either. Jared and Jensen’s chapters in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and Family Don’t End With Blood are all about how much these characters and this show and this fandom have meant to them, and what they hope the Winchesters’ legacy will be. I knew that they didn’t want to let these characters go, but I still worried – I’m so glad they have found a way to throw themselves into new characters and projects while still hanging onto their love for Sam and Dean.
When Jensen says, “Dean is not gone, he’s right here, I’ve got him”, I believe him. When Jared says Sam will always be a part of him, or Misha writes poetry from Castiel’s point of view, I know that’s true for them too.
And I’m so grateful.
I’m celebrating all the exciting new ventures that have been undertaken since Supernatural wrapped, settling in with the queso and a warm blanket on Thursdays for a new episode of Walker with Jared. Anticipating Jensen joining The Boys, which I’ve loved from the start, with a new character we will undoubtedly love to hate. Reading Misha’s poetry and watching him roadtrip across the US with Roadfood. I’m so happy for all of them, and for us, that we get to have these new things.
But make no mistake, I miss Dean Winchester.
I miss Supernatural.
I love knowing Robbie Thompson is busy writing more Supernatural verse with ‘The Winchesters’ and that Dean Winchester will at the very least be narrating some of that show if it comes to be. Even if it doesn’t, I love knowing that Jensen wanted it to. I love that they still want to talk about and celebrate and remember the show and the characters I’ll never stop loving.
So happy birthday, Dean Winchester. I still miss you. But mostly, I’m grateful that you exist. The beauty of a fictional character is that they can live on forever. We’ve got fifteen seasons of getting to know Dean and who he is and what he cares about and how he fights and grieves and persists and loves. We’ve got sixteen years and counting of fanworks that celebrate and explore and share the beauty of that character and what makes him tick (according to each and every person who shares their head canon with the rest of us). We’ve got Jensen Ackles, who was so instrumental in making Dean who he is and helping us all fall in love with him, still reassuring us that “Dean’s right here, I’ve got him.”
I don’t think any other fictional character will ever capture my imagination and inspire my devotion like Dean Winchester.
And really, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can remember and celebrate what
the Winchesters and Supernatural meant
and the legacy they leave with chapters by
actors and fans in There’ll Be Peace When
You Are Done and Family Don’t End With
Blood. Links on the home page or at:
43 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Dean Winchester – A Year Later, I Still Miss You”
I miss him too. Thank Jack for conventions where we can see and hear J2 make their magic along with the rest of that perfect cast. I’m never moving on from Supernatural. I can’t imagine falling so deeply in love with another show. I cherish you and your blog and your books. Happy Birthday Dean
So true! No TV show can ever match the love I have for this one, and for Dean Winchester. He may be fictional, but he truly will live in my heart forever.
Definitely not moving on either!
Happy Birthday Dean Winchester!
I expect that his birthday will be remembered for many years to come.
I completely missed the SPN bookclub. On which platform did it take place and was it recorded?🤔
It was not recorded, alas. They are a discord book club though some of the meetings were zooms too.
Hi Lynn! And again I thank you for speaking my thoughts! And I am right there along with you! I also wish Dean Winchester a happy birthday!
One problem I’m discovering is that undying love I have for Dean and Supernatural has or is in a way spilling over from a fantasy of a fictional character into my real life. Sounds strange I know. But when I watch the more c recent cons I find myself loving Jensen! And that’s NEVER happened before. Then I feel totally horrible because he’s married and I LOVE Danneel! I truly admire and respect them both and the family they’ve created. I really do want them to be happy and grow old together.
I also know how WRONG it is to love/lust over someone who’s taken and someone you KNOW you’ll never meet.
I just know that when I’m watching Supernatural, it’s Dean I love and he’s a character. And I’m fine with that. It’s the con’s that screw with my head. Or maybe not. They, Jensen and Jared have shared not only very intimate things about themselves but also their lives, to include their wives and children, but their futures, dreams, wishes and fears. And you get to know them on a whole different level. Then one day, BOOM I’m carrying a super mega fricken crush on Jensen! Almost, but not quite an obsession. Or maybe it is an obsession? I just know that it’s been bothering me to the point where I feel the need to apologize to both Jensen and Danneel for harboring such feelings. Isn’t that the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard!? I just feel so guilty!
This is the first time anything like this has ever happened to me. And what makes it worse is I’m almost but not quite, old enough to be his mom! The only conclusion I’ve come to is that he is just such a wonderful human being. Talented, humble, loyal, I could go on. He’s what every woman dreams of having. And I’m possibly having an overdue midlife crisis!
I will always love Sam and Dean and the show. As for Jensen? Well, I’m hanging my hat on the “midlife crisis” thing.
Thanks for letting me vent my weirdness.
I must admit I love Dean too, but I have also always adored Jensen as well ever since I went to my first con 7 years ago. He’s so funny, yet kind and down to earth and honest at the same time. I have never felt bad for loving Jensen, as I am 10 years older than him and certainly no threat to Daneel lol!
LOL! I too am DEFINITELY NOT a threat to Danneel! It’s nice to know others love Jensen also. I just never thought I’d have such a crush on someone at my age! It certainly makes me feel young again!
I have adored Dean since the day I started watching in 2013, and I fell in love with Jensen at my first con 9 years ago! Jensen is so kind and funny and honest and down to earth, he’s just irresistible. It has never occurred to me to question that or feel bad about it. I am 10 years older than him and certainly no threat to Daneel lol!
Sorry for the double reply! I posted the first one and then my laptop wouldn’t show it to me so thought I would tey again…also I made a typo the 2nd time for the date of my first con, it was truly 7 years ago not 9
I’m 73 and Dean is my heartthrob. Supernatural will always be number 1.Happy Birthday Dean.
You are in LOTS of good company lol! And Jensen would be the first to be cool about it. He’s a great guy and he’s gorgeous and talented and likable, so no surprise there – and you clearly respect his real life relationships, so stanning from afar is perfectly okay. No shame!
Thank you! It sounds like you’re one of the many very fortunate people to have met Jensen.
There are times when I do feel like I’ve met him, in ways much different than in the physical. Such as watching the various Cons. And just last night I came across a tweet containing an older video clip that Danneel took of Jensen playing guitar and singing a beautiful song with little JJ, which they obviously taught her. That clip just pulled so hard at my heart strings. All I wanted to do was to reach through and hug them so tight! To create such a beautiful and intimate memory between you and your child, then turn around and share it with us is what draws me in and makes feel like I’m family. I mean who does that!?
I’ve never known anyone other than Jensen and Danneel (Jared and Gen) share with us not just their incredible talents but their most precious treasures…family. So that’s why I love him and feels like I’ve met him.
Thanks once again Lynn for putting into words what I am feeling!! I miss Dean (and Sam) so much! I thought maybe my focus would shift, and I could tuck away these 15 years as memories, but that is not to be. Not yet anyway. I still breathe Supernatural every day, and I love it. I’m hoping to get to another con as well before they fade away, but with Covid-well, we will see. And Lori, I feel you!! Dean is my first fan crush, and even tho it started 15 years ago, so not quite a mid life crises, I still feel a bit of a cougar being almost 10 yrs older. Keep up the reviews Lynn, we love them!
They are still having cons, but now everyone has to pass a covid test first and wear masks. Covid only stopped them for a while.
I’m right here with you both!
He said it himself, there are no other men like Dean Winchester.
Devoted and loyal, flawed and vulnerable, the very axis upon which the show revolved, the bringer of chaos and change, and yet it somehow still feels as if his story is incomplete, mysterious gaps in his life , unknown events that helped make him who he was when we first met him, still so many layers being constantly revealed , an enigma wrapped in a taco….It’s that sense of more underneath that keeps us enthralled.
A remarkable man, loving brother and dutiful son, champion of the underdog and steadfast voice of humanity. A little boy robbed of so much, who was given a load way in excess of his scrawny shoulders, a warrior beaten down and broken who refused to yield, even in the face of a corrupted system and a god gone rogue he stood. A good man who kept trying to be better, who deserved a better life than he had, yet he didn’t give up, he found the moments, saw the joy in small things, found peace helping others, offering the comfort and care he rarely received, who asked only that his family were safe and together. Resourceful, smart and funny, with endless frenetic energy and an indomitable will. A true role model.
Thank you Dean for being you, your legacy is bigger than you’ll ever understand. Thank you Jensen for gifting Dean to us and making him so much more than the lines you were given, for watching out for him when the story got wobbly. Thanks Lynn, as always, for continuing to care and allow a safe space for people to share their thoughts, it wouldn’t be a community without places like this, I appreciate the time and effort you put in and join you in wishing a big happy birthday to the irrepressible and irreplaceable Dean Winchester, Wayward Son.
Thank you Lynn! I too adore Dean and always will. There will never be another even close to him.
I have to say, I never thought the online content or the fandom would start fading out in any way…Supernatural will live on in the way the OG Star Trek fandom does, only more so because Star Trek came up before there was social media. I am just as in love with the show as I ever was, still perpetually in the middle of a rewatch as I have been every day since the summer of 2013. SO grateful as ever to Eric Kripke for creating the show that has brought and continues to bring so much joy to my life.
Ditto to what you said, Dean is the only fictional character to profoundly change my life in such unexpected ways, enormous thanks to Eric very much due.
Also it’s been fun hanging out with you all who frequent Lynn’s blog, hearing your thoughts and giving another dimension to the Show ( and of course all cast and crew🙂)
👏👏👏 Also very well said!
Thanks, I think we have much in common, Dean’s the only TV character to move me to the extent I felt I had to meet the actor, who it turns out is every bit as nice as everyone says 🙂
I believe we do! You were so fortunate to be able to meet him! I tried so hard to attend the last con but just couldn’t scrape up enough money in time.
So when you met him, did that in any way ruin the fantasy, for lack of a better term? You know what they say, sometimes the fantasy is better than the reality. Only with Jensen, I would have a hard time believing that.
Jensen was charming and kind, totally professional and a real gentleman. Jared was too. The whole convention is a treasured memory and I hope you will get your chance one day, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
I hope so too. Thank you for sharing this with me!
Well said. No wonder we won’t ever forget him!
You know I am right there with you Lynn. I never thought I could ever care about a television character the way I love Dean Winchester. I can’t imagine ever not having him and Supernatural (and Sam Winchester) in my life in one way or another. I still watch the reruns on TNT every morning and have made it my personal daily project to keep it alive by posting on Facebook and Twitter Monday thru Thursday, the episodes airing each day along with screen caps of each episode I guess in part because I just don’t want them to be forgotten. It is also great to be a member of your “little rewatch group” as another way to keep Dean, Sam, and Supernatural alive, so to speak. Even though I am there for the rewatch, it is always great to read your reviews that gives each episode a new perspective at times and just a chance to relive the Winchesters journey. Thank you for keeping it all alive for us diehards.
I cherish our little rewatch group so much – and it’s been so wonderful to revisit those early seasons. That should keep us busy for quite a while!
Beautiful article. I’m right there with you. I miss him so much. Every day. Best fictional character ever created. Period. No one could have made him as compelling as Jensen did and for that, and for HIS continued love for Dean, I am so thankful that Jensen was the one. With Dean’s death on the show came my newfound ability to cry on command. All it takes is thinking about that. Every time. I swear that if someone walked up to me in the grocery store and said, “Just wanted to remind you that Dean Winchester died,” I’d cry on the spot. I’m so glad Jensen felt compelled to post on Instagram today on the occasion of Dean’s 43rd birthday. My feelings for Dean Winchester are so complex. No fictional character EVER affected me this deeply before Dean came along. Corny, maybe, but he changed me. And might I add that being part of book club and getting to message with some of the contributing actors, writers, directors and other fans was fascinating and only made me feel more a part of the much larger and worldwide SPN family. Hell, I got a beautiful holiday card from a fellow book club member in India thanks to book club. I love those cross-border, worldwide connections. What an incredible family we have. The actors’ willingness to talk to fans and share the love of the show and fandom only make the bond feel stronger. And yes, “made my day” is a monumental understatement.
I’m so grateful for everyone I’m privileged to share this love of Supernatural with – and so very grateful that I’m not stuck alone here in love with this character and this show! (Hopefully no one will say that to you in a grocery store tho…) 🙂
Just bring them back. There is so much more to do and explore.
Happy Birthday Dean. I admitt to putting of watching the last season for a year because I didn’t want to see Dean die. I am always thinking in my head how they could stop it so if they chose they could bring it back. I know Jensen and Jarod probably needed a break but it could be done.
It could absolutely be done. It’s Supernatural after all!
I am musing about Dean Winchester’s birthday and ever since I took a dip into his astrological aspects in Twitter I got more amused and found more to admire. I have often thought only of the abstract intellectual side of Aquarians but Dean showed me a very different and real side that I hadn’t paid attention to. Along with being to the point and terse in speech Mercury in Capricorn grounds Dean’s Aquarian mind into the real, the tangible the solid. That’s why he can DO mechanisms-design them, create them, build, them, repair them whether at an auto body shop a DIY garage or an industrial plant. It’s quite impressive; also fan fiction allowed him to say he reads Vonnegut or binge watches Jeopardy lol.
Dean may live in the hunting realm an unorthodox lifestyle but he’s right at home with midwestern values cooking for Sam, cooking for Ben, keeping house Lebanon Kansas is alive and well in him. Although the show made him a het casanova of sorts one can tell that with the right person, he’s happily monogamous- when he’s in that zone no one can throw him out of it.
Now Jensen is a Pisces, as is Danneel as am I , for that matter but being born in different parts of the sign makes us all quite different Pisceans indeed. The last famous or infamous Pisces male actor I used to hear about a lot was Bruce Willis and with all of that toxic macho spilling over he was irritable to me, But Jensen like Cancer native Jared are of a decided fly different generation, I call them the New Men. They are working successfully to achieve balance between defined maleness as well as what is emerging, the sensitivity etc; as a masculine sensitivity- it’s not female it doesn’t display that way and will be a God send to the children around them to see admire and emulate. Those are the luckiest children EVER.
I personally want SPN back if not in 2024 then in 2025 boots on Earth and seeing both Sam and Dean as father figures! Many Years Dean Winchester!
Dean mentioned once on the show that he reads Kurt Vonnegut. That is why the fic writers mention it!
That’s a fascinating analysis – and I agree with you, I will want them back forever!
Currently watching Supernatural for 3rd time! Definitely sad that it ended. With each episode rewatched, more of the depth of Dean shines through.
I’ve also been watching the bloopers and it is easy to see the caring and fun sides of Jensen and Jared.
I miss seeing new episodes but will continue watch both Walker and The Boys.
Happy birthday, Dean!
As I read this post I can’t help but be grateful for it’s timely arrival to my inbox. I’ve been feeling sad and a little lonely lately because I’ve been missing a fictional character. I’ve been beating myself up for these feelings saying that they’re silly. It helps to know that someone trained in psychology not only understands these feelings but has them herself.
Dean helped me through many years of trauma therapy. He’s my rock when my nervous system becomes unregulated. He’s the safe person I mentally go to when my fight, flight or freeze kicks in. The idea that he doesn’t exist is not only sad for me, it’s terrifying. Jensen’s words of “Dean is not gone, he’s right here, I’ve got him” gave me such comfort when the show came to an end. I guess I just forgot that he’s still got Dean in there somewhere. Thanks for the reminder that Jensen has still got Dean alive and well somewhere inside of his heart and that it’s ok if I rely on a fictional character to heal my own heart.
Gratefully yours, Chantal
Jensen definitely does have him – and there are so many of us who will always keep him alive and keep right on loving him. Glad you’re one of us!
I`m a bit late to comment, but I just now found the time to read your article and I really enjoyed reading it.
I miss him too and I miss Sam, I miss the whole show, even when I`m constantly rewatching and enjoying the boys new projects.
But these characters are special, they feel so real to me. More than I ever thought a fictional could. I miss them like I miss rl friends who are still around but not exactly in my live at the moment.
I`m not very active on twitter, I read, check for news, like and sometimes comment or retweet. But I seldom tweet myself. But I always do on the characters or actors birthdays and always feel a bit stupid doing it. Gratulating fictional characters to their fictional birthdays, when I don`t even write christmas cards to my rl friends, lol. But this show still really means a lot to me. That are true (real live) feelings and I`m so glad that I seem to be not the only who feels that way.
👏👏👏 I’m also glad that I’m not the only one with theses feelings!😀
That’s just it – the characters may be fictional, but our feelings are real. And what we gained from the show, the characters, and the story is very real too, and not something you ever need to feel silly about. You’re in good company!