Friday, April 6, 2012

F: So, Tell Me, How Did That Make You Feel?

This month I am participating in the April 2012 Blogging From A-Z Challenge. I will be blogging every day this month with Sundays off (except for April 1) using a letter of the alphabet in order from A through Z. So, Basically, beginning with April 1, my topic will be themed on something with the letterA, then on April second another topic with the letter B as the theme, and so on until I finish on April thirtieth with the theme based on the letter Z.

Today's letter is F
     I can recall the first time I was asked, "So, how did that make you feel?"  The question actually stumped me.
     I tried to guess what the right answer should be.
     Feelings should be easy to identify, shouldn't they?  Personally, I find it easier to identify what I call the "bad" feelings.  Sadness, loneliness, anger, jealousy, and unhappiness are just a few of my long list of "bad" feelings.
     As I began to work with my counselor, the one who asked me the "So, how did that make you feel" question, I started to understand the reason why I had such a hard time identifying or naming my feelings.
     Of course, it goes back a long, long way.
     When it was time for me to start school, kindergarten, I remember by mom telling me that if I felt like I was going to cry, I should take a deep breath and swallow.
     Message to a shy little girl:  "Don't ever let anyone see you cry."
     My mother and father had a very rocky marriage.  There were many "high volume middle of the night  battles".
     I knew I didn't like hearing the loud noises, so I would hunker down, pulling my covers up over my head to block out the sounds.  I didn't understand until I re-lived those times from my memory,  how scary and unsafe I must have felt.
     Message to shy little girl: "When you are faced with confrontation, hide."
     Another one of my mother's favorite sayings was: "Laugh today, cry tomorrow."  YIKES!
     Message to shy little girl:  "Don't ever even think for one moment that there will ever be more than one moment of happiness.
     Which is why I rarely, okay hardly ever, express feelings of happiness or contentment.
     There are many more examples of how my "being" was shaped, or perhaps misshaped which led to my favorite mantra: "I never want my kids to feel afraid, sad or bad."
     So when they hurt, I would say "it's okay, you don't have to cry, everything is going to be okay."
     Message to three little shy kids:  "It's not okay to cry."  "It's not okay to feel afraid, sad or bad."
     Ahh, if I could do it all over...if I knew then what I know now, how different I would be, and then how different they might be.
     Wednesday, April 4, was the anniversary of the birth of my son Joe.  He would have been 37 years old if he had lived.  He died on December 5, 2011.
     On Wednesday, when I called my daughter to see how she was doing (yes I said doing, not feeling...will I ever learn?) she said something like..."well, you know."
     She told me that she wanted to go visit Joe's grave.  When I asked if I could go with her, she said that she and her husband were going together.  She didn't want to make a big deal about it.
     Message to mother:  "I am probably going to get upset, and if you come I will probably get even more upset and...cry."
     I guess it's best that she did go, without me, that is.   I probably would have told her: "it's okay, you don't have to cry, everything is going to be okay."
     But in my mind, I saw the two of us comforting one another.   We would have told each other, "It's okay to feel sad.  It's okay to cry because it hurts so much.  Doesn't it?"
     My Aunt Edie probably has the best attitude.  She always says to me: "Lynda, when I die, you better be at my coffin with an onion in your hankie."
     She has told her children that they better hire professional mourners.  She wants more than the appropriate amount of keening and wailing.  And she wouldn't mind a few of us threatening to throw ourselves into her grave.  :)

I have created a page for Anna's Diary.  It can be found under the Tab titled Anna's Diary.
I have posted all of the entries to date there, starting with January 1, 1929.

Here are yesterday and today's entries from Anna's diary:
Friday April 5, 1929
Elsie phoned me to go to N.Y.with her.  Shopped for a coat and dress.  Rained.  Home at five. Violet for supper and Rosalie.  Listened to true story hour on radio from 9-10. Bed.
Sat. April 6, 1929
Fifteen girls went to Hoboken to see old melodrama. "After Dark."  Presented as in the eighties.  We all had supper in German restaurant and home at eight.  Quite cool.


  1. Lynda,
    I cry reading about your grief. I get that hollowed out feeling in my chest. I don't know if you've experienced that feeling yet or not, but it just grips me. Mine still creeps up on me at times. Today was tough. Times with the family. And my youngest son missing. Though the Easter story is such a powerful and uplifting time for me to reflect on the hope I have in Jesus Christ! He is the only comfort I've found!

  2. Growing up, I also got the message that scary feelings were to be expressed in private, if at all. And I internalized it all too well. I am only now starting to poke around in things. I think it's good that you are looking at where your own tendencies came from and even better that you have the outlet of the blog.

    Paid mourners sounds like a fantastic tradition. ;)

  3. Holly, 
    When I read your comment...I cried.  It touched me so much.   Thank you.  

  4. I'm sorry to hear you have been through such pain at the loss of your son...and that your family didn't allow you to show emotion growing up. That must have been really tough. 

    Wishing you peace, 


  5. My heart hurts for you. I know you miss your son. If I lived in your area, I would go with you to Joe's grave. And  you could cry all you wanted. I would cry too.
    My family was the same way! We didn't show emotion, yet we are so sensitive and soft hearted.
    I worry about my son. He doesn't like to go to his brother's grave or participate in any group activity expressing grief.
    I know it has taken me years to identify appropriate anger and to feel it. And then we pass on all these dysefunctional traits to our children. Whew. We do the best we can, with what we have.

  6. Your post touched me.  Grief is such a personal journey.  I lost myhusband to cancer when I was 40, and I am 45 now.  I had lots of those same messages passed to me..   I still work on my feelings about my grief and don't think that will ever change.  I am happy most days now and have a new marriage...but the grief for the loss is still there.  My hubby wants to "share" it, but to me it is private and I know he means well.   I loved the onion in the hankey line....  Take care...