Friday, June 4, 2021

August 27, 1944: Thanks for just being you


Letter from Opa to Grandmother, August 27, 1944.


St. John
August 27, 1944

Darling Margie,

You don't know how good it was to get your letter today. Margie, I am very sorry about the letter I wrote, for I realize now more than before how much it must have hurt you. Your weekend with Kiefer was very likely spoiled by it.

Just now your phone call came, while I was writing this letter. Hearing your voice made me feel so much reassured, it was like hypnosis. I wanted to say so much to you; tell you how ashamed I am now about the letter, but there was a lump in my throat that kept me from saying the simplest things. Also, my landlord and landlady were in the room, so I couldn't talk freely. You cried at the phone, darling, and I have trouble now keeping my tears away. Oh, why is the world so cruel?

As I told you over the phone, I got my permit today and shall leave for McPherson tomorrow morning. It may be that I get to see you before you get this letter, for I hope to leave McPherson the same day. I couldn't stand seeing the Shelleys or anyone there now.

I talked to my landlady last night about the deal, and she was wonderful about it. Naturally, she does not believe any of the stories they tell about me, and it was good to hear someone who thinks I am on the level. I can hardly wait seeing you, and yet I am a little scared of it. Darling, these days have shown me more than anything else how much I love you and how much your love means to me. There still must be some way to iron out all the difficulties; if only I had my old energy and fighting power back.

I guess this is the last letter I write to you before I see you, unless I should be detained in McPherson longer than I expect to.

Thanks for your letter and phone call, honey; and thanks for just being you.


Opa is still feeling the grips of his desperation, and it's frustrating him that he feels so helpless. Grandmother's voice is healing like hypnosis, yet it makes him feel even worse for being so honest in his letter. He can't stop being honest, though. I love that about him. He wants to put on a happy face, buck up and be brave, but he just doesn't have it in him.

To me, the fact that he feels like he can be honest, vulnerable, and not always happy/strong/optimistic around Grandmother speaks to the depth and value of their relationship. 

I'm so appreciative for the people like his landlady who believed in him, and reminded him that he was good, valuable, and worth believing. She is just one of the many people who were on the peripherals of support for Opa, proving again and again that he was not alone.

Opa felt especially convinced of his love for and from Grandmother. Grandmother was the person who made him feel less alone. For no other reason than "just being" herself.

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