Those of you who have enjoyed "Dr. J's" witty and sometimes wise-assed remarks in our Comments section may not have realized that he's got quite the sensitive side too! Here's another non-blogger who has ventured to write a Guest Post and done a great job of it. If Crabby can keep getting her readers to write her posts for her, she may never come back! (Just kidding. She's totally addicted to the blog and will be rarin' to come back just as soon as she's settled back home. Lucky you!)
In the meantime, here's some sage advice from Dr. J.:
With the release of the movie “The Aviator” several years ago, I started thinking about the life of Howard Hughes. I believe many people, when they hear the name Howard Hughes, think of some germ-a-phobic nightmare of a man, anorexic with stringy hair and out of control nails.
But Howard Hughes had an incredible life. For much of it he lived as most of us can only fantasize. He knew all the most famous people of his day, dated the most sought after woman, and had more money than most countries! He was able to explore his dreams and desires without apparent limit. With his aging, however, life became difficult for him and he succumbed to the struggles that challenged him. I think many of us have or had people in our lives who because of various reasons, are not seen at their best in our memories. Perhaps, for many of us, seeing these important persons in a kinder light will be of beneficial. A gift to one’s self, perhaps!
It seems to me that with the ‘in the moment’ way life is experienced, it’s all too easy to see people as what they end up as rather than what they were. Life can be very challenging and many people don’t bear up well to the passage of time. Because of a personal experience I feel I have found a tool which can help one to reconnect with the loved one of your past rather that the unloved one of your present.
As my grandfather got older he became more and more estranged from the family. At one point we didn’t talk for almost 15 years. When I heard he was living in the same state as me I decided to contract and visit him. Let’s just say the visit did not go as I had expected. He had years of anger built up and used me to show it. I had been under the assumption that he didn’t want to do anything with the family, but now I understand that that was because of his daughter’s anger with his divorcing her mother. I never saw my grandfather again after this and didn’t have a very good opinion of him. I remember him telling me how hurt and angry he was that I didn’t contact him before. Of course the fact that I was contacting him now didn’t seem to mean much. I said to him, “Where is it written that the grandson has to contact the grandfather and not the other way around?” I had been under the impression that he wasn’t interested in me and I felt that I was reaching out to him. Pride can be a dangerous and foolish choice.
Some years later I had renewed my childhood interest in art and decided to do a bust of my grandfather as a gift to my mother. I collected all the photos of him I could find and began the project. To my surprise, as I worked with the clay and created my grandfather’s image, I found myself reconnecting with the grandfather I had known as a child and young man. Not the angry older man, but the kind, giving person I had known, but had forgotten over the years. I was able to remember the younger man.
I think art can be a useful tool to process, renew and explore feelings. As a sculptor, I used clay.. If one has artistic talents and desires, any medium would work. Otherwise, collage or a photo collage may serve as well. Use old magazines to find memories in pictures. Or perhaps, words from the pages will appear as appropriate to the person. Personally, it feels so much better to remember my grandfather at his best, rather than the person life challenged. I think it’s unfortunate the way one can tend to forget much of a person’s life and focus on the most recent experiences, which with aging can be unpleasant.