Saturday, January 22, 2011

Big girls don't cry ....

Well, at least not often, but look out when they do.

Spent a wonderful afternoon with God-daughter #3 - ran the gamut of emotions.  Laughed, cried and got angry at what I perceived to be some injustices done to her.  But the tears ultimately won the competion of emotions.

Tears held in, when unleashed, let forth a deluge.  My shrink once asked me why I tried so hard to never cry.  My response was that I was scared that once I started I would mever stop.  So, I've learned, for the most part, to hold them in.

Perhaps that's what the weight does - shore up a dam big enough to contain them all. 

Sobbed for about half an hour after she left.  Got myself under control.  Turned on the TV and watched An Officer and A Gentleman.  Well, that got the water works going again.  They've stopped for now, but it would take next to nothing to start me up again.

There's so much I've never cried for or about.

Didn't cry when word came at 3:00am some 50 yeas ago that my brother and his pregnant wife had been killed on the Autobahn just outside of Cologne.

Didn't cry when my father was found dead in his NY City apartment bed one Sunday morning with a half-finished Sunday NY Times lying on his chest.

Didn't cry when I signed away all rights to a daughter I would never know (or ever even see).

Didn't cry (let's change that to WASN'T ALLOWED to cry) when my grandmother passed away in the Brenner's Park Hotel in Baden-Baden, Germany.  12 years old, I got an early morning call in my room (have no idea from whom) saying "Your grandmother has died."  It took me forever to get dressed.  I didn't know what I was "supposed" to wear for such an event.  Finally, dressed (no doubt, inappropriately), I walked the long hallway - large purple flowers on the carpeting - to my grandparent's room, wondering how I was "supposed" to act.  Thinking that maybe it was a trick - they just wanted to see how I would react.  Wanted to know if I really loved her. 

Then finally getting to their room.  The door open, with me standing outside of it for what seemed like hours, wondering what I should do.  Just walk in?  Wait for somone to invite me in?  Knock?  Turn and run as quickly as possible away from that open door.

Somehow I was finally in the room.  My grandfather, he of perfect, rigid posture, slumped in an overstuffed corner chair, unseeing, unhearing, unmoving - dead, himself, for all intents and purposes.

There on the bed was my beautiful grandmother.  The first (and todate) only dead person I had ever seen.  Serene, beautiful and loving - but so still and unnatural.

It took a week or so to make arrangements to get her back to the states and we stayed with some uncle that I don't think I had ever met before.  A beautiful house somewhere in Germany, don't know where.  I remember so well an outside nine-pin bowling alley, covered on the top, open on both sides.  I didn't play - there was no one to play with and it wouldn't have been proper.

What was proper was for me to sit by myself on the porch of the lovely house, speaking only when spoken to - and that made for rare conversation.

I was told not to make a fuss, not be in the way and not bother the adults - those that were suffering.

I had lost the only person in my 12-year history that had shown, spoken and demonstrated love for me .. great, unconditional love.  But, don't make a fuss - DO NOT bother the adults.  They had important things to do and REAL loss to contend with.

So, it came to me early - the holding in of tears.

There was one very wonderful 12 year old moment in the whole horrible "sturm und drung" that horrible week.

My Uncle William (the oldest of my grandparents' four children) has flown to Germany to take charge - and I guess somewhere on his "to do" list was to make sure to bring Marianne home.  Not sure why, but I guess somewhere along the way when plans were being drawn up, my name came up.

Uncle William was one of the major important adults that had instructed me all week not to be a "bother."

His seat on the Pan Am flight back to the states was directly behind me.  Somewhere over the Atlantic, I turned around, putting my knees on my seat, to lean over to tell him that I thought I was going to be sick.  He gave me an angry look and told me not to be silly.  "Now, turn around and be still." 

I promptly vomited into his lap.

No memory of what happened after that but I'm sure there was little sympathy for me.  Somehow, I'm sure that the report home was that I had done it on purpose, such an unruly child.

So, maybe big girls shouldn't cry - they should just throw up.        .

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