Advice: Audrey gets it edition


In a cowboy hat on the set of Green Mansions, 1958. It was directed by her husband, Mel Ferrer. They divorced.

“Your heart just breaks, that’s all. But you can’t judge, or point fingers. You just have to be lucky enough to find someone who appreciates you.”

So the same week that the HRH is here, my daughter’s other father has burst back on to the scene, and who can blame him? She is wonderful and there is no right or wrong time to accept a father’s love. The only person who would be hurt in the situation is me, and that’s a selfish reason to hold her apart from him, his wife, and their son. So when they are ready, I imagine we’ll meet up. In fact, I’m actually eager to. That’s my daughter’s flesh and blood, and it’s been a long time since I tucked a fuzzy little baby head under my chin. I am far from made of stone.


I am sad to say I’ve lost the credit for this photo.

“People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.”

On top of that, my husband and I have been hashing over what went wrong in our marriage, with an eye mainly toward how to heal as friends and continue to do our best as my daughter’s parents, and, with cards all out on the table, we’ve drawn some not-so-upbeat conclusions. Knowing the whole truth about things I always half-suspected does not make those things hurt less; however, while it’s not the kind of thing you ever want to be right about, you know that it can’t get worse, and you’ve already survived it without even knowing, so why not keep moving forward? But despite it all, despite the icy gutpunches and sad truths being dealt and faced between us, for some reason I am finally in this really good place, feeling deeply and essentially all right about things — feeling far and away better than I was when I was anxious and wondering all the time what would happen next and putting off thinking about it all, with either of them.


Audrey, second from left, and her mother Ella,far right. During the occupation of Holland during World War II, in the midst of blackouts and starvation, Audrey, Ella, and a small group of others entertained the people of their town by putting on plays. This was taken in 1940, not too long after her Uncle Otto was executed for being part of the Underground.

“I heard a definition once: Happiness is health and a short memory! I wish I’d invented it, because it is very true.”

Now it’s all here and by some strange miracle all that churning through my emotions has paid off and I feel this tremendous sense of peace and rightness: I know that whatever happens, will happen. I am not granted happiness or misery by any given situation, and faith and grace and love are a choice. It’s the sort of thing I have heard all my life and never understood how to make work, so selfishly, turned inward with my thoughts and fears, I assumed that those kinds of phrases and ideas were smarmy cliches, or somehow hollow, inapplicable to real life problems. But they aren’t. That’s a revolutionary idea for me. I mean, I strove, or thought I did, to keep upbeat, to respond to my friends and strangers with as much love as I thought I could muster, but I don’t think I was digging deeply enough.


Lotus eaters! Audrey and James Garner goofing around on the set of The Children’s Hour.

“When the chips are down, you are alone, and loneliness can be terrifying. Fortunately, I’ve always had a chum I could call. And I love to be alone. It doesn’t bother me one bit. I’m my own company.”

I’ve had to live it to understand it. I get it now. All I can do is accept what comes as gracefully as I can, show that I’m coming from a place of love, and hope for more happiness to follow. It’s really my choice. I have my friends, my family, and most of all myself. This place I’m in can be permanent, I just have to work at choosing grace.

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3 Responses to “Advice: Audrey gets it edition”

  1. Valuable Internet Information » Advice: Audrey gets it edition Says:

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  3. brian Says:

    Even when I thought my whole life was being destroyed, it turns out I suffered more from the anxiety (“Will she leave me? Can I fix this? Should I?”) than from the agony (“She’s gone!”). And even in the agony phase, “Where did I go wrong?” was narrowly edged out by “Will my future ever not seem utterly bleak?” thus returning me to the anxiety cycle.

    This theory can’t be entirely correct, because then wouldn’t worrying about getting punched in the face be worse than getting punched in the face? But still, acceptance and of openness toward the future must surely be the road back from the twin cities of madness and misery (Pop: Always 1).

    Tangent: Cowgirl Audrey … oh my sweet jeebus, that is a photograph.

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