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Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash
(2001)

Nash, Edith
A letter to Maggie,   pp. 40-42


Page 41

pray" came over the loud speaker — all my life — at funerals,
weddings, church services, whatever, even at Larry Nash's home mass.
 Eric asked me what did I think about when I attended mass with you all at
Easter time since I had said I did not understand the liturgy. I said I thought
about our relationships, within the family, the daily work of love, and my
own death. I see now I have added the daily work of love to this, but the
other two I did tell him I was thinking about. My mourning is over my whole
life now, and the project of organizing the files and books in the basement
is an autobiographical task.
 As you know, I think more in Freudian terms than in religious, although
I do not see them as diametrically opposed as some people do.
 I got a lot out of the Miller book you gave me for my birthday. The first
thing was about mirroring — how important in the first year of life
this is — and how a mother whose own narcissistic needs are satisfied
can mirror her infant easily and successfully. I did not do that very well
with you. The "touch-me-not" quality in you as an infant that I have often
remembered was accompanied or caused or echoed by my removal from closeness
with you and deep concern for my own wholeness, which I saw as threatened
by your separate ~—-~ existence. The next thing in the book was a feeling
the author was describing, in very pungent terms. The development of everyone,
at least everyone we know. The push towards achievement, the pride in excellence
of one's children, the very word "gifted" as applied to children seems to
me to be one of the basic scenarios of child-rearing. It is surely related
to some lack of respect for the child's real feelings and the mother's lack
of feeling for herself. The child so deprived of what the author calls a
healthy narcissism often becomes a helping person, a psychoanalyst, or —
like me — a person with a lot of needy friends. Is it because one needs
to be needed or also because one can relate more easily to weaker, more helpless
people — infants, neurotics, depressed friends? When I first read the
Miller book and thought about your work in a spiritual direction, I experienced
it as a rejection of me as
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