When I think about my father's death, for some reason I sense myself back then as a full-blown adult, not as a young woman in her late teens. Still, ever since the women's weekend at Tonche, I am becoming more and more aware of how I tend to hold hard experiences at an arm's length, reconfiguring them into something okay.
I tend to keep a tight lid clamped down on my feelings from that time. It was just around this time of year, late October, when Papa died in 1929 – just before Wall Street crashed.
Maybe it is not so surprising that I cannot connect with how it all felt - it must have been overwhelming. First my beloved Papa died, then the world came tumbling down around me, and I had to say good bye to my plans for becoming a teacher.
It seems interesting, that I cannot feel any feelings from that time. One of the things that came out of a small discussion circle I was part of at Tonche was seeing that no matter what fate throws me, I reshape and reconfigure it to make it okay, even good, even great.
On the first full day of the retreat, during a discussion circle, I reflected on how I have been lucky to have an easy life. Now, we had been discussing quite a few things over the day, so the young women had gotten to somewhat know this Ancient One. One of them just looked at me in startled disbelief and said, "Mrs. Lockhart, your life was not easy - it was hard."
That made me think and think and think - I am still thinking. For as far back as I can remember, putting a happy face on events has been more important to me than experiencing events as they were. That was a real ground-shaking thought for this Gramster. Doing that has helped me keep the lid clamped shut on things that might distress me, make me uncomfortable and sad.
There are so many things that I miss about Papa that I typically tune out because of how they make me feel, so many things about the life I had before October 1929. Maybe now - 71 years later - I can lift the lid a bit.
My goodness, this is a dark, introspective posting. Let me end on an up note. Three years ago today, John's Mom died. Sounds bleak, I know. It was not. She went out in a flash - a heart attack that apparently took her in one fell swoop. I was sad for John, who loved his mother dearly, and for the rest of us who appreciated her from tip to toe, but I was a bit (well, more than a bit) envious of Marie, going so fast, no bother to anyone, no declining health. I miss her.
John and Elsa gave each other "Mom hugs" all evening - "Here's one to her Johnnie" "Here's one to her budgette-in-law."
Will they give each other "Mom hugs" from me one day? No doubt in my mind. It is nice to know that while I will be gone, my hugs will still be making the rounds.
Nite nite and God bless - Gocky