April 12, 2008

Two invitations and some thoughts...

For the first time in twenty-two years, I have been invited to the Passover Seder held by Lynn’s family. (For you Christians out there who do not know what a Seder is I can only say that it is thought that the Last Supper of Jesus was a Passover celebration and Seder meal...). I thought I would not be. Especially not after going out to dinner with her husband and Leila and a couple of other people I did not know, and having him invite those two to the seder but ignore me entirely. That hurt; I had always thought I was not Jewish enough, my mother being Christian, to be invited to their seder or indeed any Shabbat evening meal. But now he’d invited a Lutheran minister and chaplain! I knew another guest was the hospice nurse, a Catholic nun... So why was he so reluctant to include me? I frankly did not want to think about it. But of course I do, considering all the many terrible things about me that might cause him to reject me or not want me at any meal he shared with other people. It also got me thinking...Other people in fact are what I never ever saw when I visited him and Lynn at their house. Never, until the end of Lynn's life, did they have anyone there when I came, nor did they invite me over when someone else was there. Even when their own family was home, their son Danny had to come visit me at my apartment. I felt like I was not allowed to go there. That seemed to be understood...I never met a single friend of theirs, though they spoke of many. I do not know why. Were they trying to protect me, or themselves, or others? Why? Most of the time I was or seemed fine with them, as I rarely evinced any problems, not to them, rarely shared any difficulties, went out of my way NOT to tell them anything was wrong for many years...So why would they want to exclude me for any of the above reasons? I certainly did not behave in any bizarre way at their house, I do not think....I managed mostly to keep that to myself, or not go over there when I could not behave completely normally.

As I said, I cannot let myself think too much about that...They were always very kind to me, and it will only cause me pain to delve too deeply into the deficiencies of our relationship. I was not all that they could have wanted either, I am sure, and therefore they must have had to make compromises in how they dealt with me, just as I did with them.

Still, I enjoy spending more time with Cy these days. I find I can be more open with him now. I think I am always more comfortable with one person at a time than with two or more, which is unfortunate because with Cy and Lynn you mostly had them together. But it is hard to pay attention to two people at one time, or to know what both are thinking and to attend to both equally...and I had to stay vigilant to both at one time. It used to drive me berserk and I hated having to do it. That’s why I remained just social with them. It was impossible to trust either of them very deeply, because I could not learn who each one was, not without being alone with each one, and I never had that chance until Lynn and I started sneaking out and smoking together...What a terrible pity. And now, with Cy, the same thing, but only after a sad event has separated him from the woman he loved above all else.

I have had another invitation. This one to my publisher’s annual poets/writers get together. We are supposed to bring 2 poems to read out loud and generally enjoy ourselves. But I can’t drive myself there -- much too far away in NJ -- across 2 states. And I couldn’t possibly go alone, knowing no one! So I don’t see how I can go at all, since I don’t have a husband or significant other to take with me, as the others most likely do…Lynnie suggested I tell them I need a ride, expecting them to provide me one, since they did invite me there and they know I have this disability...But I did not do so. Partly because I think they would not, but also because I fear they would ask another writer to give me a ride and I do not trust they would not find me someone who would drink too much or drink at all and then drive...And then I would be forced to go with them or be stranded!

I don’t think that Dr O can accompany me (she is on vacation that week or away I believe) nor that she was invited, not being a poet or principal writer. If she could have it would have helped, but no, that is not to be either. Which brings me to the two other problems that also oppress me

One is the simple but not so easy question of what to call Dr O when in a situation with the publisher or in public, say at this get-together etc. I feel like a child calling her Dr O...and yet she has never given me permission to call her Mary. I have decided, though I suppose I should tell her, that I will simply call her Mary in those circumstances. It is ridiculous not to! But I resent that she has not simply told me to. Everyone else calls her Mary and here I am calling her Dr O. It is simply absurd...They must think, damn, who knows what they think. But I feel silly. Yet I do not know what her reaction would be, as if I were intruding or trespassing...Oh, it is so ridiculous!

And then there is the final issue...a brand new one for me, one I haven’t considered since 1979 when I left medical school: I want to start seeing Dr O -- Mary -- only twice a month instead of every week. I would increase that when or if I need to, say if things got worse or in a crisis, of course. But when things are going so well, why should I keep going so often? It is so expensive, and the money could better be spent elsewhere right now. Besides, I need the time to myself for other things -- visiting Joe or Cy or friends, or doing sculpture or writing--, and to go down there every week entails a good four hour trip plus the waste of an entire morning and early afternoon -- just for the preparation and then the travel back and forth...Plus, I get exhausted by the trip. She has been away a lot these past months so in a sense I have had a chance to test it out perforce, and I have done fine. I don’t doubt she would agree! And I think she would also agree to a trial of once every other week. I just don’t want her to think that...Ah, Josephine, my driver and friend whom I may or may not have mentioned before, says she is a professional so I needn’t worry, and she is right. She can take care of herself! As if she needs me!!! I am the one who thought I could not “get along” without her...Wouldn’t she be happy to find out that I can? That is the whole point of therapy, after all. To grow beyond it. After 20+ years, shouldn’t she and everyone else be glad?

Maybe it is I who am afraid after all. But I do want to cut down, fear or not. And I plan to talk about it if not this coming Thursday by phone, then the following Wednesday when I see her in person. It’s time, it really is.

Posted by pamwagg at April 12, 2008 07:45 PM | TrackBack


Four hours! I had no idea that you have a two hour trip each way to see Dr. O. I am totally spoiled because my therapist is only a five minute drive away from me. I commend you for being so dedicated to Dr.O, but I certainly understand why you would want to cut down the number of visits per month. I stopped seeing my therapist for two years but returned around this time last year and I decided to see her every other week. It has saved my family some money that way and has worked out all right for me. If you do cut your sessions down to two a month just be vigilant and stay in touch with Dr. O via phone and email--maybe have a phone session the weeks you don't go and see her.

My therapist works at the local university here as a psychology professor and this year she was away for six weeks during the break between semesters, so I decided to start talking into a hand held recorder. I've been doing it ever since. It really helps. Acts as a reality check for me; you might try it.

Unlike Chris I call my therapist by her first name, but I call my psychiatrist by his last name.

Posted by: Kate K. at April 17, 2008 12:19 AM


Good luck with Dr. O.

I always call my psychiatrist by his last name.

That's how I prefer it.


Posted by: Chris at April 13, 2008 03:00 PM

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