Sometimes there is nothing like a good cry. We look for it, hunt it down, and cherish it. Sometimes the cry finds us all by itself. Crying helps us get past the pain and heal ourselves.
When I was a teenager, I can remember feeling sad. I felt the hurt deep down, but it wouldn’t surface without a little encouragement. That was when I would pull out some of my Mom’s music, the sad stuff, and play it. There was an ashtray, or candy dish, that was white with gold etching. On the bottom and had the date of my Mom and Dad’s marriage. It was a wedding gift for a marriage that didn’t survive. I’d lie on the ground, look up at the ceiling and cry.
I’d remember the day that my Dad called us aside and told us that he was moving out. He insisted that he loved us and always would. He didn’t love my Mom anymore; how did we know that he wouldn’t stop loving us some day too. Then he got in his VW bug and drove away. It was only one trip. From a 5 bedroom, two-story home, all he took would fit into that car. I was sure that I could have fit too, but he left me behind with my Mom. That memory cropped up today along with others.
I could feel it coming on. I was thinking of not my birth father, but the man who raised me after that day when my father drove away. I called him Jim as I never wanted to hurt my birth Dad and make him feel that I had replaced him. It was when my children were born that I began calling him Papa.
I was having a nice cross-training session on the spin cycle at lunch. I was absorbed in with the music playing on my iPod, while I let my legs spin against a steady resistance. Sit for one song, stand for two. The sky outside was dark with signs of impending rain and behind me the treadmills were emptying one by one. I watched drops of sweat fall from my body and hit the floor. It was as if they fell in slow motion. I looked around to find that the fitness center was now nearly empty. My mind was sad, and I felt lonely. 5 minutes to go. I switched the music to something slower for a cool down. As I examined my playlist, I thought of him, and then searched for the song. Instead of cooling down, I pedaled hard. I could feel the pain of in my legs and in my heart and I had to look the other direction as the people from the class started coming out of into the main gym. I tried to look intense as my boss walked by to grab a towel. He resisted his temptation to say hi, in seeing my focus.
Later in the day I went for some Cranio-sacral work on the hand that I injured while running last month. As the therapist, Marilyn, worked images flowed through my mind. I saw myself a little girl. Perhaps I had fallen and was teased. I wasn’t sure what I had been doing. Then I saw my son, BoBo, when he fell down and saved his cookie from being destroyed. He cried only for the moment initially following his fall and then stopped when he saw that his cookie had been saved. I saw myself crying, perhaps after a relationship breakup, as I lay on the floor and listened to Carole King and other music of my Mom’s. The pictures were happy and also sad. They were my memories.
As Marilyn arrived at my face, I saw myself in the pool with Papa and the kids. We were happy. We were talking about the great CT scan results he had received. Then we were playing Bocce ball in the yard at YaYa’s birthday. We were having fun then too. I felt the tears fill my closed eyes and roll down into my ears. Just as when the sweat drops fell during my workout, I was present but had separation from them. My lips quivered and I let myself cry as Marilyn continued to work. It was then that the pictures stopped. I felt him but could no longer see him. “Why did you go,” I asked. There was no answer and the session ended. When Marilyn left the room, I cried.
On the way home I keep on thinking. Marilyn’s work was supposed to be a healing so what was I missing? What was the message? Finally, it came to me. Papa was kind and loving. He was a positive influence in my life. His body is gone but his memories linger. I am sad, but I should also remember the gift of kindness and love that he gave to us.