Dear Dear Louise

I come upon these ideas for my blogs in different ways.  A couple of my favorites posts, I have written almost entirely in my head while lying in bed first thing on a Saturday morning.  Then I run downstairs and birth them almost fully formed into my laptop. Sometimes I get an idea and write a little here and a little there and then returning for rewriting and adding and tweaking.  Sometimes what I am writing pours out of me faster than I can type and sometimes I have to work for it.  This morning while zooming up 84 toward the vet’s office, this blog started forming in my mind and before long I was weeping.  While driving.  Some days I am a such a sap.  Some days I am Hercules, Samson before Delilah took the scissors to him, Atlas holding up the heavens.  And some days not.  But all those tears convinced me I was onto something.  Then I was trying to scribble notes in my little yellow pad – certain phrases I wanted to use, ideas I felt might slip away.  Talk about kids and texting.  I had to slam my breaks and my poor Mikey fell hard off the back seat onto the floor.  Good thing he’s tough too.  I probably should buy a little recorder before I hurt my dog.

I have wanted to write about my experiences in Therapy and have been noodling around with it for a long time, not happy with my results.  But this morning it started coming together for me.  I am tired of my secrets and sometimes I feel I am their prisoner.  I want to be free, freer, liberated.  I don’t even know the word for what I hope to feel.  So as far as secrets go, I’ll keep other people’s secrets.  I am an honorable friend and I know when to keep things to myself.

So here I go…

Dear Dear Louise-

What a mess I was.  I had no idea how I felt about anything.  I truly didn’t even know what that meant – to feel.  But I am a good student.  And we studied for a long time.  You were Anne Sullivan to my locked up Helen Keller.  Lowenstein to my Tom Wingo.

You somehow convinced me to tell my secrets; you cajoled, coaxed, dragged my life story out of me.  You never said one remotely bad word to me.  As I look back now I see that you really didn’t need to.  I was mean enough to myself, hard enough on myself.  Didn’t need any help with that one.

Without you, I wouldn’t be typing this.  I wouldn’t have a blog.  I wouldn’t be happy like this.  I wouldn’t have ever had one single healthy relationship in my life.  I wouldn’t be living right here with my good dog and the sun shining in the slider every morning.  I wouldn’t have just halted my typing frenzy to appreciate the sweet smell of the candles on the table behind my laptop.  I don’t know if I ever would have gotten a divorce.  I wouldn’t love like I do.  I wouldn’t feel joy like I do.  I wouldn’t have experienced the passions I have.  I wouldn’t have done the amount of volunteer work I have and will.  I would have worried that I couldn’t spend time doing that unless my house was clean and I was perfect.  I wouldn’t be right here knowing that the best is yet to come, that my life is better every day.  I wouldn’t be able to dismiss those who are critical of me for whatever reason I cannot figure out at the time.  Just let it go Susan – this is me talking to me.  You taught me to be kind to me.  I wouldn’t have known I didn’t have to save the world, convince the world, change the world.  I wouldn’t have cried in my car this morning on 84.  I wouldn’t know how to stand up for myself.  To be more precise, I wouldn’t know how to stand up for myself without being really really angry with the person messing with me.  I wouldn’t have stopped worrying about my life ending up like the Space Shuttle Challenger – I used to describe it to you exactly like this – I’m going to blast off this chair straight up into the sky and explode into a million pieces.  You taught me many things.  A big one – Life is about choices.  And I can make them.  I choose happiness.  I know what I want.  I know when to wait and consider.  I was doing well at the time of my graduation (smile) but I’m even better now.  I want you to know that.  Without you, every single thing about my life would be different.

One of the always and ongoing themes we talked about is how I would let someone be bad to me because I understood him.  I am still working on this one but I think I’ve got it now.  Of course I had to do it one more time (don’t worry different guy) and of course make it really messy but I’ve got it!   Just because I know someone’s guts inside and out and understand every little screwed up move they make, does not mean that I should accept and allow him to be bad to me.  Why this was so hard, I have no idea but I bet it won’t happen again.  With a guy anyway.  I may have needed a remedial class for this one.  I do have a couple of women friends that could use a few whacks but I’m hopeful for their future.  In the meantime, I’m settling for not letting anyone else’s issues make me unhappy.  I keep finding and finding more and more ways to apply the things you taught me.  And every time I come up with another one, it makes me a better person.  All I want is to be better.  Happier.  More.

We talked about The Prince of Tides when that book came out.  My god that man can write.  We talked about Luke‘s death, Savannah and her breakdown, and the survivor Tom.  All victims of their Callanwolde.  That is how I think of my biggest trial.  My own Callanwolde.  I thought I was the one who would die.  I thought I was one who would just dissolve.  I didn’t know I was the survivor but you did.

When the Prince of Tides movie came out, I went right away and sat in the back and cried.  I started about 20 minutes in and never stopped.  What a catharsis for me.  I think I was dehydrated at the end of that movie.  A few seats away was another couple – two women.  One of them was like me, she cried non-stop.  Her friend just patted and patted her.  At the end of the movie, our partners exchanged wan smiles and then all four of us laughed – weakly.  Today I would walk up to that weeping woman and hug her and tell her how good she was, no matter what her Callanwolde.  Then I was more involved in my own emotional embarrassment/lack of self-control.  I owe you that one too.  A couple of months ago, I was at the vet’s office and a woman lost her dog while I was sitting there with mine.  Her dog was sick and she brought him in and he died.  Just like that.  There were probably 8 people in that waiting room, vet employees and patrons alike.  Several of us wept, no one moved.  I went up to her and wrapped my arms around her and patted her back and made shushing poor baby noises to her.  I figured if she wanted to be left alone, she would tell me.  She didn’t.  She just put her head on my shoulder and cried.  Oh my goodness Louise what you taught me.  I will owe you until the end of time.  I feel things.  Really really feel them.

So just like Tom Wingo at the top of the bridge in the dimming light whispering to his long-gone Lowenstein, I thank you Louise, for my life.

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12 thoughts on “Dear Dear Louise

  1. Susan – I read a few blogs. None make me smile or cry like yours. When we worked together at M&H I always compared you (in my head) to Annie Oakley. I just thought, “Wow, that is a strong woman. Don’t mess with her.” But then you brought your little dog Dave in and shared how much you love pedicures (you do have the nicest feet I’ve ever seen) and you laughed easily. You were like an M&M – A hard shell with a soft, sweet center. I really admire your ability to look at your life, acknowledge the things you like and embrace them and change the things that don’t serve you well. That woman in the vet’s office will always remember the giving, person who took the time to comfort her. You’re a good egg. And you have nice feet 🙂

    • Let me tell you a little story. I was at the pool with my oldest friends last summer. We were sunning (don’t tell the AMA) and she looked at my toes and said “What happened to your feet!!!” So a sucko thing has happened. I am going to have some wicked arthritis before I’m through here and it has already done a job on my toes and my poor poor fingers. Such is life. My insides are still young and happy. I just figure how these fingers got on the ends of my arms and how those toes got there either. They sure don’t look like mine.

      But the blog. Thank you thank you thank you. Very very much. I like Annie Oakley.

      • Susan – I have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 30 years. Many surgeries – knees, hips etc. My toes and fingers are not in great shape either. But I still have them. I still paint them and still wear sandals. Things on the outside change but internal beauty remains. Just keep swimming! xxxooo

  2. It an amazing transformation to feel the process of what a few words can do to our lives.
    Except for the word change all other things in this world are subject to change. It is an inseparable part of life. Some changes bring progress while some do not but there is no power that can stop the process of changing. The wise people make the best use of change and take it as an opportunity while the rest stare helplessly at the change taking place. As Winston Churchill pointed out, if one wants to attain perfection, he or she has to change very often, which is an inevitable part of life and if you fail to change yourself, and remain stubborn in the past, you will not be a part of future. Change is inevitable, change brings about a change in life, and change should be welcomed and cherished and not despised.
    Your words inspire me.

    • Churchill said many good things. He was as good as the bible or Shakespeare – He said something along the lines of I like it when things happen and when they don’t happen, I like to make them happen. Words to live by.

      Thank you.

  3. Proud of you Bunn. I’ve told you before, you are a kind, wise, caring person with so much to give. Glad you are not forgetting about giving to yourself. xoxoxoxox

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