by Marta Felber
You look at me, and what do you see? A pretty doll? Yes, I know that I am pretty, but it is nice to be told. I can read your mind. You can read my mind too, because I am letting you. Sit beside me on the couch, and I will tell you a story.
Once upon a time Marta, a close friend of mine, had a wonderful idea. She would make a porcelain doll for her older sister. Sis, you see, had fallen and broken a hip, and then broken the same hip again. Days were long for her. She needed someone to hold, sing to, and to hear her secrets. Picture my parts being molded, fired in a kiln, and painted. Each procedure was new and difficult. Marta had never made a doll. The momentous day came when she put my parts together, attached my hair, and pulled this yellow dress over my head. Suddenly I was a real doll! Marta had expended so much energy working on this project that it brimmed over. The extra wattage surged into me. I could think, feel, and send thought messages.
I will always remember the instant Marta laid me in Sis’ arms. "Every girl should have a doll." Sis’ eyes got big, and her warm tears trickled down on me. Who was your favorite person, ever?" "My grandmother Alice," Sis whispered. "So what will you call your doll?" The firm answer came, "Alice." Sis held me a lot. I liked it best when we rocked. I helped Sis remember her grandmother, Kitty Gray, and the dolls she played with.
Then the day came that changed all our lives. Sis held me for the last time. They took her to what they called a Rest Home. I was left behind because they said I would not be safe in the Home. I hated to face the truth, but Sis was not holding me much anymore. Marta felt sorry for me, missing Sis, as I did. "I want you to come and live with me." She carefully bundled me in a soft bathrobe that belonged to Sis. It smelled like her. It was as if Sis was still with me. Marta put me in a big bag and kept me close beside her on the plane.
You see me in my present home. It was some time after I arrived that Sis died. Marta was very sad. She spent a lot of time sitting where you are. Sometimes she held me and cried. Her older Sister had cared for her when she was a little girl. Sis had loved her so dearly throughout her life. "Oh, how I wish I had done more for her." Gently I broke into her thoughts. "Remember. You made me, piece by piece, and painted me, and dressed me, and gave me to Sis. She held me, all those years." Marta stopped crying and smiled at me. Here I remain, on my couch. I believe Marta accepts me as a symbol of the ways she showed love for her sister.
Notes from Marta:
Select a terminated relationship in your life and finish the sentence, "I wish I had…"
List positive things you did do, large and small. Continue to add to this list.
Be understanding toward yourself about what you did not do. Say, "I forgive myself for…"
If possible add, "I did the best I could at that time."
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