Summer gives me time to do catch-up reading and I just recently flipped through an old book of mine titled “Necessary Losses” by Judith Viorst which talks about the loves, illusions and impossible expectations that all of us have to give up in order to grow. I have to quote some of the best anecdotes from the book that can change your life.
photo by EMS_EMT
Patrick, 3 years and 2 months, who was sent to England’s Hampstead Nursery during the World War II,
assured himself and anybody who cared to listen with the greatest show of confidence that his mother would come for him, that she would put on his overcoat and would take him home with her again…
“She will put on my overcoat and my leggings, she will zip up the zipper and she will put on my pixie hat.”
When the repetitions of this formula became monotonous and endless, somebody asked him whether he could not stop saying it all over again. ..
He stopped repeating but… he substituted for the spoken word gestures that showed the position of his pixie hat, the putting on of an imaginary coat, the zipping of the zipper, etc.
Calvin, twenty months younger than his brother Ted, was, from the start, the brighter, more competent child.
But as he began to express himself, to assert himself, to display his capabilities, his mother apparently feared Ted would be crushed. Her message to Calvin was:
Don’t beat your brother… If you want my approval you cannot compete with Ted.
And now he is in his forties and he still can’t play for keeps.
“In tennis I try to improve my strokes---not win. And in golf, I can be ahead all the way to the eighteenth hole but at the eighteenth hole,---I’ll always blow it.”
Here, for one instance, is one man’s not untypical description of his relationships with three close friends:
There are some things I wouldn’t tell them.
For example, I wouldn’t tell them much about my work because we have always been highly competitive.
I certainly wouldn’t tell them about my feelings of any uncertainties with life or various things I do.
And I wouldn’t tell talk about any problems I have with my wife…
But other than that, I would tell them anything.
[After a brief pause, he laughed and said:]
That doesn’t leave a hell of a lot, does it?
Jessica was five. She showed her mother the picture she had painted. There were black clouds, dark trees, and large red splashes.
“Tell me about this Jess,” said her mother.
Jessica pointed to the red splashes. “That’s blood.”
“And these are clouds. See. The trees are sad. The clouds are black. They are sad too.”
“Why are they sad?” asked her mother.
“They are sad because their Daddy has died. Sad like us since Daddy died.”
Cecil and Julia Saunders—ages eighty-five and eighty-one respectively—ate hotdogs and beans for lunch and drove their Chevy to a quiet place, rolled up the windows, put cotton in their ears, after which Cecil fired twice into his waiting wife’s heart, then aimed the gun at his own heart and fired. The suicide note which they left was addressed to their children:
“This we know will be a terrible shock and embarrassment.
But as we see it, it is one solution to the problem of growing old.
We greatly appreciate your willingness to take care of us.
After being married 60 years, it only makes sense for us to leave this world together because we loved each other so much.
Don’t grieve, because we had a very good life and saw our two children turn out to be such fine persons.
Moth & Fath