Damn the Shoulds, Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Dearest Dad,

In yesterday’s post, I might have come across as being sort of angry. I know from my readings that this anger thing is one of the stages of grief. I can’t remember the order and it doesn’t matter, because I seem to be all over the map on any given day. I just know anger is part of the deal here and I am definitely feeling it.

The thing is, I am not so much angry at you for leaving. Well, maybe just a little. I wish you could have hung out a little longer and we could have done more things together as friends, here in my older age. We did some fun stuff, but there was a lot more to do. I wish you had stayed.

10 Georg_VihosBut, I also understand why you left. As one very wise and intuitive friend of mine put it, you were an architect building a bridge to another reality. Through your art, you were manifesting a glimpse into a higher level of consciousness. I truly believe this. I think you must have gotten so close to that place over the years, that the thought of leaving your physical body to go to that more beautiful place was not scary to you. In fact, you were looking forward to it. You told me one day last summer that you were not at all afraid of death. I believed you. I still do.

So, okay. I will contend that I am not angry at you. Rather, as we might glean from what I said yesterday, I am majorly loathing myself for all the things I did not do, could not do, for you. To save you. If only I had been more on top of it with the doctors, getting to the bottom of your ailments better. We could have gotten a better diagnosis for you sooner. We could have gotten you a better regimen of physical therapy. Maybe I should have taken you down to Milwaukee for second and third opinions. I should have, should have.

I know that were you here with me, you would be nipping this self-directed anger in the bud. You would be having none of it. You would not ever call my efforts idiotic. You would be touched that I am trying so hard and enlisting so many different people to help me and Illia maintain the legacy that is Georg Vihos. You are pleased. I know it. And you definitely don’t want me to berate myself or stress out about all this.

woman with weightsBut, still I hear my internal voice say: “if only I had been stronger,” I would have been able to help you. This is why I always cry for a few minutes in the middle of my Boot Camp exercise class. I get to this place where the cardio workout and the weights in my hands just bring me to the edge of my ability and I just start crying. I am too weak. I push and push but I have to stop the exercise. I have to modify. I try to power through, but I cannot. So, I start to cry. Discreetly, of course. But if my teacher or any of my fellow students are reading this, now they know my little secret.

My physical strength was not enough to save you. Nor was my mental strength, nor my emotional strength. This leaves only my spiritual strength. This is the only thing I have left. This is why I am writing about you, to you.

This explains why I cried pretty much all the way through the movie, Saving Mr. Banks. What a wonderful film. It is the story of how Walt Disney (played swimmingly by Tom Hanks) tried for twenty years to convince P.L. Travers (divinely portrayed by Emma Thompson) to allow him to make a movie out of her story, Mary Poppins.

What we learn is that “Mrs. Travers” had a very deep and creative connection to her dreamer, maverick (and alcoholic) father who died when she was just a girl. She tried so hard to save him. Her Mary Poppins story was intimately tied to her feelings about and her experience of her father, and she could not simply give it over to Walt Disney to turn it into a mockery. Of course, that was not Walt’s intention at all, but it took Mrs. Travers a long time to understand how carefully and lovingly he was prepared to treat her creation.

palm treesThe film spoke, sang, shouted, laughed, cried, and reached out to me on so many different levels. Plus, it was lovely to see a portrayal of Los Angeles in the early 1960s. It made me miss those tall, Dr. Seuss palm trees, the balmy air, and that slanted, afternoon light that is nowhere like it is in Southern California. I miss L.A.

It is the kind of film that you and I would have had a lot of fun talking about. We would not have seen it together, but we would have talked about it on the phone, probably on New Year’s Day. We would have remarked that we will never hear the song Let’s Go Fly a Kite the same way again. How true. How very, very true.

2 thoughts on “Damn the Shoulds, Let’s Go Fly a Kite

  1. Ever since childhood, “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” has popped into my head at random at least once a month. I have no idea why it got embedded in my brain, or why it surfaces when it does. It’s a weird thing.

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