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: