Dozer, the bulldog

Dozer, the bulldog
Dozer: He was the best dog on the planet.

Bonding

Bonding
The author of Mark's Work with Ellie Mae

Guess who's coming for dinner

Guess who's coming for dinner
Blue heron, sitting on the dock of our pond

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.

HappyDay Farms bees are happy bees.
Air-borne bees

BFF's forever

BFF's forever
Margie and Ellie Mae

Tomatoes and peppers are us.

Tomatoes and peppers are us.
Spicy salsa with roasted peppers, here at HappyDay Farms

Much love, John-Bryan

Much love, John-Bryan
Eric at 26 on the left, and John-Bryan in January of 1973.

Halloween fun

Halloween fun
SmallBoy and Dancing Girl

Our house

Our house
The snow season approaches...

Mahlon Masling Blue

Mahlon Masling Blue
My friend and brother.

Mark's E-mail address

bellspringsmark@gmail.com

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Making the Hurt Go Away


Making the Hurt Go Away

The time I endured in the military was made infinitely more bearable by the support I received from everyone at home. Mama had advised me upon my departure, that if I wanted to get mail, I needed to write letters first, and so I did.
I must have had a particularly rough go of it at one point in time, and spewed it out on paper, because I got this letter from Mama on November 1st, 1972, in response. It was addressed to “Markie Baby,” and in it she was able to articulate exactly what needed to be said; looking over it now, I marvel at her ability to convey the perfect sentiment at just the right time. She wrote,

“But you can always unload the stuff on me; if it makes you feel better to let it all hang out, you can write it to me. I think back a long, long time, fifteen, eighteen years, to when you were a little kid and when you got hurt or somebody pushed you around you’d come in crying. I used to hold you in my lap, or put my arms around you and make “the hurt go away.” But now you’re not a little kid anymore, or even a big kid, you’re a man and doing a man’s job every day, a cruddy, dirty, detestable, job which you abhor and hate with a passion. But you’re doing it and doing it as well as you can and keeping your head on straight while you’re doing it. I can’t take you in my lap like I did when you were a baby. Right now I can’t even put my arms around you like a mother wants to, but I can tell you that I think about you and feel what you’re feeling and know your pain.”

Even now, 45 years later, the words soothe, cascading over me like the aloe vera oil that takes the sting away from a burn, or the cannabis salve that eases the pain from the dirt-caused cracks in my fingers and heels.

The comfort derived from these words is inestimable, simply because the setting was so abysmal. Amidst the triviality of the comings and goings at home, that which made up the bulk of Mama’s letters, might be a passage like the one above.

Mama sure could turn a phrase, and in doing so, she made a lot of “the hurt go away.”




6 comments:

  1. You are so lucky to have all of those nice letters. I never went "away" like you and the other "big" boys did. Mostly what I have are just cards and notes. Yes, they have a lot of sweet messages, but not a lot of the comforting that she sent to you. Thank you for sharing them!

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    1. I am sure that this is only one of the many things I learned about Mama when I went away. Believe me, I would gladly have foregone the experience... I am glad that you like seeing her words. This particular letter resonates. xo

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  2. Cool letter! Thanks for sharing it!

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  4. Remarkable passage on so many levels. Yes, Polly did know how to turn a phrase. Yet what it really says to me is how much she cared about you. I heard these words in many different ways when she talked candidly about her children. I heard them when she talked about Terese. Polly was not a hugger, but she loved from her heart. I often think of her when reflecting on the notion of doing the best we can under the circumstances of the moment.

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    1. True story. Her love was ultimately what made the hurt go away. Thanks for stopping by, Mike.

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