Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.
— Fred Rogers
The call came from Germany on Christmas Eve 1990. “Thanks for the cookies.” He was lying in the hospital having been bit by a poison spider. Weak from his excursion in the desert.
I had forgotten the sound of his voice for a moment. Only I didn’t really forget his voice. It had changed to a young man, grown.
Not fully understanding then, our conversation ensued and he finally broke down a tad. “They made us sit in gas chambers. Like during the holocaust.”
He would return to the states broken of his spirit. All of my love couldn’t fill those spaces hollowed out by war. The places of his mind were altered to pain and terror. He was a walking shell, emptied of John. Color had left his voice.
I was helpless on the other end of the phone line. My cookies such a weak gesture. I should have flown to see him. That was impossible! I was a new mom. Emily was six months old. None of which we talked about. Would a quilt have been more comforting? A gentle reminder of my care for him when he was a babe.
John remained a confused soul. We became estranged. He believed I was living in a perfect world and he wanted no reminder of his past. But haunts filled his days ever more. And chased him down each path.