The Fantasy of a Ten Year Old

With so much time on my hands and no job to worry about, my mind can wander to some dark place.  This morning, Drew and I went to brunch.  My various thoughts were tumbling out of my mouth at random.  Drew is patient and a good sport about it.  Today, however, I remembered something that makes me sad for 10-year-old me.

Since I was not really allowed to go outside much due to my mother’s depression and fears that one of us would be kidnapped, I spent a majority of my time inside my head.  When I played with my Barbies, the conversations were in my head.  When I talked to my baby dolls, we communicated telepathically.

It embarrassed me to talk out loud when I played, because I didn’t want other people to know what I was fantasizing.  That’s what play is, after all.  

But what I find truly sad is that I would get excited about bed time because I would lay in bed and fantasize that I was the younger sister of the family on my favorite show at the time, “Three for the Road.”  I’d imagine that I was in a hospital bed and the two boys and the father were visiting me.  Sometimes I’d have been in a car accident.  Other times I’d have been sick.  But I was helpless and they were there to keep me company and bring me what I needed.  All they cared about was my comfort and mood.

I find this sad, because that’s how starved I was for attention.  I was so accustomed to doing everything for myself: taking care of myself when I was sick, entertaining myself, serving myself, and even grieving by myself.

I hadn’t been allowed to outwardly grieve for my grandmother.  I was eight years old and Chuck had been stationed in Germany for three years.  We’d been there almost exactly two years when, one day, Chuck picked me up early from school.  He told me that Grandma and Papa had been in a bad car accident, and we didn’t know if she would make it.  I was not to cry in front of my mom.

Of course, as soon as I got home and saw my mom crying, I burst into tears.  It was the 4th birthday of my brother and the 2nd birthday of my sister.  We had a hurried birthday party that night and then were shuffled quickly off to bed.  Mom told me to pray for Grandma.

I went to bed and cried and talked to Grandma in my head, the way that I talked to my dolls.  I don’t remember what I said, but I remember looking up at the light fixture on the ceiling and believing I saw her.  I don’t think I ever actually formally prayed for her and I have always harbored a little bit of guilt for that.

In the morning, I went into the living room.  All I had to do was look at my mom and I knew that Grandma was gone.  She and I cried together and what seemed like only a few minutes later, she left the apartment to go back to the states for Grandma’s funeral.  I got no closure.

I lay on the sofa and sobbed after my mom left.  I remember Chuck sitting next to me and patting my hip, telling me not to cry.  It’s o.k.  It seemed so unnatural to him. The only other time I remember him actually behaving so warmly to me was when Dave committed suicide.  He drove me to his funeral, and told me not to cry.

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November 8, 2020

Thanks for sharing. I did and still do the same thing. I have conversations with people who have passed in my mind.

November 8, 2020

You lost your grandmother at the same age I lost my grandfather. I never mourned. Never grieved. I was lost. And yes, forbidden to cry. Hug. I hear you.

November 9, 2020

I am so sorry you went through this.  Having supportive people around you at that age would have helped.  It is just so sad.

November 9, 2020

@tracker2020 Thank you.  I’m not that lonely little girl anymore.  I have a wonderful network of friends and loved ones.
I just continue to process things, in hopes of writing a memoir.  Also because I keep finding people who can relate, and I think that turns the negatives into positives.