Rite of Passage Eleven –Off to the Unknown–
1958 -I am twenty-four years old
Q The advice to be “silent” about painful issues can often be a mistake. Did you ever benefit by “talking-it-through” regardless of the pain?
Be careful about the advice you are given by often well-meaning professionals, especially when it may entail, “Just act as though it never happened, don’t dwell on past loss –start looking ahead to more positive opportunities.”
This was the advice given by our admittedly older family physician back in 1958. It followed Treena’s miscarriage at seven and a half months, a baby boy she had privately named Jonathan, we had yet to arrive on a mutually agreed upon name.
The miscarriage happened suddenly and yet was not without due warnings. Our life, as general managers of the Royal Ascot hotel, next to the world famous racecourse (remember My Fair Lady?) was filled with sixteen hour days and seldom a days break. I was doing the best I could to measure up to my advancement following my dad’s move to a new post that left me holding the reins
There was no explanation as to why we lost our baby –just the advice to be ‘silent’!
In our modern world such a suggestion would be treated with dismay but those were the words of wisdom in the ‘fifties’. I immediately began to plan our way out of the loss –to somehow leave it behind? My ‘plunge ahead’ left Treena without the loving comfort she craved (but never did reveal) in the midst of the moving on that would take us to the other end of the world!
So…what about now?
During these early years of our marriage, from twenty-one to twenty-five years of age, I was eager to provide for my family and grasped at every opportunity that came my way to earn that income by doing whatever ‘brought home the bacon’.
Of course I loved Treena and our adorable Tessa (born on the actual day of our first anniversary) but, and it was a big but, I confused ‘doing’ with ‘being there’ for them.
Oh how much I needed some good advice from an older man. My dad was another ‘doer’ and in the stereotypical British stiff upper lip tradition, wasn’t much of a role model. I was an only child without family example and in my ignorance I began to plan upon plan upon plan…my way to a better future (there is a way that seems right unto man…)
With the benefit of hindsight I see this moment of failure to make a tender loving contribution to my darling as the start point of many years of misunderstanding her real needs. All of which culminated in what might have wound up in the failure of our marriage!
My friends…love weeps with those who weep and if you find it hard to cry –go out and find someone who can. Discover what comfort can mean to those in distress and stop planning YOUR way out of your loved ones deep need for your love!
This week I read Treena’s poem From Hills of Joy