Finding SUGAR in your relationships

Dear readers,
Remembering our past through FEELING depthful tears, is how I can write about FEELING differently, and more depthfully into LOVE.
SUNreaderswrite dianea kohl
October2009 ithaca, ny


“Sugar!” My ex-husband’s grandmother GeeGee speaks of me and her grandson, when we visit her at her home in Jackson, Mississippi. And, before we left, she’d say, “Give me some sugar!” which any southerner knew meant kisses and hugs, but being a northerner, that was all new and sweet to me! Until now, I had not wondered where that expression originated. What I remember most about that visit in 1970, being a young newlywed, was her taking us to the cemetery where her husband was buried. At the time, I wondered about why it was important to go visit the dead; yet I knew it was important to her, and wanted to please this very sugary-sweet woman.

Profoundly, what stuck with me was “GeeGee’s” (what her family called her) steadfast love for her husband whom she had married when she was 17, her groom being 43….25 years older than her! He lived into his eighties, and GeeGee never remarried although she lived into her 90s. They must have married in the 1920s.

I know that was not especially approved of back then and probably is rarely today…yet her love of her man still rings in my ears. I like to think I am a spunky woman like her, for I have been married four times, and when I tell others, I usually get, “WOW” from their mouths as well as their widened eyes. The judgment is apparent, and I know I used to be ashamed of my marital exchanges, especially as I am a marriage and family therapist where people expect the “professional” to have it “together” with a successful marriage in order to help them. When I tell others how my first husband left because he was strong enough to admit his gayness, their faces begin to show more acceptance, and then again when they hear my second husband died. I did leave my second and third husbands as I EVOLved by giving up my religious addiction, and then expecting more intimacy emotionally from my third husband, who refused to give up his smoking and drinking.

So, my fourth husband was meant to be, to trigger me into truer deep intimacy within myself, where I felt very primal pain that I had buried under marathon running, 36 in 36 months, (as well as other actions I am becoming aware of) where I felt strong in being recognized for this national record. Healing that primal pain, took me to appreciating my father’s love in a much deeper way, where I began visiting my dad’s grave monthly instead of the obligatory Memorial day, or the day he died. Presently, I ask my daughters to go with me to visit their grandfather’s grave, which they don’t find the time to do. They were young when he died, so I wish them to remember their very loving grandfather who nurtured them the first years of their life.

This past week, while making an apple pie with my oldest daughter, I am adding a cup of brown sugar, when she says, “That much sugar?” “Yes,” I answer, “It is mom’s recipe and she made the best pies on the planet!” This day I added a little less sugar, thinking to my self how dad and I always shared the last piece of mom’s apple pie! His favorite, he being my favorite!