Mental Illness? or - Salvation                                                               Copyright ©2014 Hazel Gay

Hazel Gay's To Heal the Broken-Hearted (Chronicle of a woman's 18 year journey through "mental illness" to healing, wholeness and transformation.)
Chapter 15 All quotes used with written permission.

“And who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.” 

Friedrich Nietzsche 

August 20, 1985
        Glad to get away from my writing, sewing and record promo for a few days, I was going with Lindy to Jackson, Mississippi, for his check-up on his right shoulder joint replacement even though personality conflicts between us had caused me to stay at my daughter’s house. Driving through Denton, Texas, just north of Dallas, I started noticing signs that “grabbed” my attention, that “fit” into my delusional system.  Wonderingly concentrating on them for a few miles going on into Dallas, suddenly, like a bright light coming on, I knew I was “feeding” a fantasy! Such shock! 
       For example, first the “End Construction” sign followed immediately by going under an overpass marked with name of the street, Jess’ real last name, with a rainbow sign to the left of that. I kept seeing the signs and KNOWING it was a fantasy, that for 14 years I had been feeding a FANTASY! I couldn’t believe it!  MY brain had been “caught” in a FANTASY!  Saying nothing about any of it to Lindy, I continued driving, continued not a wordy conversation with him.  Able to drive with all this stuff going through my mind, I missed only one exit in Dallas.  (Aug. 2020 My interpretation at that time was “fantasy.” I didn’t know much about synchronicity at that time. I would learn more about that later. These were synchronistic events.)
       I had realized intellectually in May ’84 that this “thing,” the “delusions” lingering back there in my mind about Jess was a FANTASY but I suddenly got it at GUT LEVEL; I FELT it, not just thought it.  Suddenly, I seemed to know the difference in intellectual fantasies I had been able to start the previous year and FEELING THE EMOTIONS that go along with the fantasy.  Until the sexual fantasies the month before, I HAD NEVER FELT THE EMOTIONS OF A FANTASY! (While sane) No one had ever told me I needed to FEEL emotions of the fantasy but suddenly I knew I was supposed to!  I also knew I could experience the feelings of the fantasy because it would not destroy me to put the feelings down, a place I knew possibly I had never been. 
       Again, I compared what I had experienced during altered states to the experience of a 3, 4 or 5 year old child.  Were there stages of intellectual or emotional development that have to be experienced for wholeness, stages with lengths unique to the individual?  I remembered the teacher putting kids down on the floor to crawl because of the theory of them having missed part of the crawling stage interfering with their reading.  They were not TALKING ABOUT crawling, THEY WERE CRAWLING.  What if I missed part of the fantasy stage?  What if I had to EXPERIENCE it – AS the 4 year old child experiences it – for wholeness?  What would it be like to experience it LIKE THAT?  Like – psychosis?  I decided I didn’t have much to lose by trying it. 
       Going east out of Dallas towards Shreveport, a blue flat bed truck passed that had a sign “Old Blue.” Something about it made me think of my father.  I ALLOWED myself to experience the FEELINGS of the fantasy of it being my father driving it, then I was able to PUT IT DOWN. I KNEW I HAD FANTASIZED!  It was almost overwhelming to FEEL those things and I KNEW that had been how I felt about him.   And I wondered if this was what I had forgotten that I had to remember…  I wondered if perhaps I had finally buried him in some way. 
       As I continued driving, I became aware colors had taken on a “happier” feel; things in the environment were not so “ominous.”  The billboards looked “happier.” At Jackson I laughed and joked;  remarks people made no longer “hurt my feelings;” I could simply laugh and say something back to them. 
(My mother had never been able to understand why I could not do this all my life! At home later, my kids noticed the difference in me.)  I was able to perceive more clearly “games” people were playing, had a clearer perception of “how society worked,” not that I liked it, just seemed to get a better picture – like fine tuning the TV. 

       Thinking perhaps there was fantasizing I was supposed to do that I didn’t complete as a child, I allowed myself to absolutely pig out on fantasy. Experiencing the feelings, sometimes the hairline between fantasy and reality was kind of fuzzy.  With only one thread to hang onto, the belief that perhaps it was NECESSARY to make me well, sometimes I barely managed to keep my eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel, occasionally taking a break from it, realizing I might go too far and get lost in it.  After 3 or 4 days the intensity began to lessen, gradually diminishing till after about 8 or 9 days it was not a risk.  During the peak of this I ran across a book, Eighth Day of Creation, by Elizabeth O’Connor.  Her idea going past the 7 days God created, etc., to the 8th day being when WE help “finish” the creation of man, an idea I didn’t consciously know I had been working on for many years. (But would develop even further, consciously.)  (The title had caught my eye because of the line in my poem to Jess in ’76, “How’s this for a fantasy?” Chapter 6 – “We’ll wake to an 8th weekday without a name….”)
       Walking around in a shopping mall, we saw a video on big screen TV, a man skiing down a mountain, some of the most beautiful photography I’ve ever seen, a magnificent production and I ALLOWED myself to feed my fantasy.  I allowed my feelings to soar with the breathtaking action.  Jess and I had made it to the top of that mountain and now it was downhill all the way! The skier was magnificent;  he had pulled out all the stops, on the edges of precipices, taking drops, never slowing, dangerously fast, yet never losing control.  That’s how I FELT!  Then I stopped and we continued our walk. 
       We stopped at Dallas on the trip home where I bought myself a sympathy card to follow through in physical action in an attempt to make the psychic experiences more real, more complete. Forty-one years after my father’s death, I felt it was appropriate. 

August 23, 1985    Dream 
       Book about building a house, my “dream” house, scrapbook type of thing I put together.   Such a strong sense/feeling “and ‘God’ spoke to me in a dream.” 

August 29, 1985 
        I believe it may have been in ’74 I began to feel some “continuity” in my life, a feeling of “flow,” that I was more just “one person,” that my life was not just a jumble of unconnected “fragments.” I look back now and I think there must have been many years that “something” was “turned off” or “numb.” At the time I wasn’t aware of it; it’s only as I started becoming less “numb,” started “feeling” again that I see it. So many things I’ve put my heart into in my life were taken away from me. Somehow, I’ve had to allow myself to feel; I’ve had to come to terms with some feelings. The feelings are real but they’re inside me; nobody can take them away. I have something to give my life for, not a person, not a thing, not a place but a “vision,” a “dream.” I managed to see above the rubble of my life to “a dream.” 
        Very few people could possibly understand, comprehend or even imagine the depth of my pain. And I have had to feel it all; no one else can feel it for me. It has been sometimes an excruciating pain to start to feel again, to be able to look my feelings right in the eye, to allow myself to fantasize, then put the fantasy down. It has hurt so much to EXPERIENCE THE FEELINGS. It’s almost like I couldn’t stand another loss. Is that when the fantasy becomes delusion? It’s maybe like something in me has healed enough that they can be fantasy, a wish. I don’t have to “cling” to them like it’s a matter of life and death. I’ve allowed myself to listen to a song and actually experience the feelings of a fantasy, the feelings of love, of me loving someone. And it doesn’t slide over into delusion. 
I started to realize that all the times I had said, “I have a fantasy about….” it was really just a WISH!

My losing control of my conscious mind had given my mind the opportunity to fix itself. (I was going through my unedited version of my manuscript when I found a page that I had forgotten. It read: I thought, “It wasn’t my MIND I had lost control of, I had lost control of my FEELINGS!…did that mean I, my mind, had had control of them before?” My feelings erupted! The antidepressant I had taken pushed the button to the feelings.)

September 11
        Went to sleep by ten last night but woke up angry 2:30ish about what’s happening to my kids. Was going to write but instead read in Bible, finally flipping open to where Gideon takes on the Midianites.  When God first started telling him what He wanted him to do, Gideon objected with, “But I’m very poor, I’m the least in my father’s house.”  To make a long story short, he winds up with a whole horde of Israelis and God told him if they won the battle they would say they, the Israelis, had won it, not God.  They weeded it down to 300 men and basically scared the hell out of the Midianites.  I thought of my children, the overwhelming odds against each one, my own lack of funds, lack of contacts, and I thought something like, “Maybe this is like He told Gideon, somehow, to show ‘God’s’ power, He will use ‘the poorest of his father’s house.’ ” My anger subsided and I went back to sleep. 
        Later remembered a dream I had while in Las Vegas.  The first musician I met in Oregon in ’73, bass player, nice guy; I related to him better than to others.  His last name was Gideon.  Two or three years would go by without seeing him.  I’d go somewhere way off the beaten path and there he’d be, ran into him in Vegas in a Sunday morning brunch line!  Discovered he’d lived in the house next door to the last one I’d lived in in Portland some years before I lived there. 

Dream:    We were in a storm cellar, like the ones in tornado country; he was playing a white stand up bass for me (to sing).  The dream had haunted me ever since. 

       The past few days I re-connected with the feeling of “presence”.. 

September 14
       Woke thinking about a song I learned in church missionary group for girls, “There’s a story to tell to the nations…” 
(8:00 that night) I don’t “see” or “perceive” “spirits” like Father Paul but do I sometimes “feel” their presence?  Might it be easier to see them or would I just say I hallucinated?  Childishly wishing I could have a “sign” to prove their existence, noticed the new TV guide Lindy had thrown on the table, turned it over and saw,  “You’ve got what it takes, Salem spirit.”  I was stunned and amused as I looked again, “Share the spirit.  Share the refreshment.”

       By the end of the week of September 15, I was thinking about a letter to the mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, an idea that had been taking root in my mind for at least a year.  A new idea started surfacing about the main content of such a letter, but I still didn’t do anything about it, simply toyed with the idea, wondering if I should/could/would do it. 

September 16, 1985
        I got up by daylight, “The idea,” the letter, was becoming more insistent; it seemed to be demanding some kind of action.  Strangely, I became curious about what day it was; l looked at the calendar. It was Rosh Hashanah.  For some inexplicable reason I KNEW that was it; the letter was to be MAILED that day.  I started typing. By noon I was experiencing something I had never experienced in my life.  I felt as if that day was why I had been born, like all my life I had been waiting for that one day! Though I was quite aware that what I was doing might be considered “flaky,” a result of “mania” or even “schizophrenia,” it didn’t matter! There was such a strong sense of HAVING to do it! I got the bulk of them off that day, to people all over the world, Prime Ministers, Presidents, church leaders, entertainers, etc.  (
Many years later I learned Rosh Hashanah was also celebrated as the birthday of the world.) 

Healdton, Oklahoma, USA 
September 16, 1985

To the Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan: 
       My name is Hazel Gay.  I live in Healdton, Oklahoma, USA, just a few miles from where I was born.  I have four children and three grandchildren. 
       My father, Leon Gay, volunteered for the army in December, 1942.  I was three years old. He was my idol, my god.  I was five years old when he was killed in Germany, October 10, 1944.  I was six years old when the Enola Gay dropped its payload on an unsuspecting world. Though I didn’t suffer through the tragedy of nuclear holocaust my life and my mother’s life in this grand country for which my father so quickly gave up his life has been LIVING HELL. Interestingly, it was not until this past August that I have been able to bury him emotionally. 
       I was impressed by the ability of the media of the world to put together the project for African relief.  It is thrilling to see so many stars put their efforts into something like that.  I stopped to watch as the young people around the world did the only thing they knew how to do, for a CAUSE. 
       Now I wonder if the media of the world can spare a minute for peace on Wednesday, New Year’s Day, 1986, to “Stop the Clock” as it were.  For example, the athletes in this country are attempting to carve out a new image of themselves as “real,” “caring” people.  What an opportunity! As the world watches, they could interrupt the game at a certain signal, the competitors mingle, and like the men in the Greek folk dances, put their arms around each other, and the spectators could hold hands for one minute, each in his own way, “praying” for peace.  Then maybe them all singing, “We are the world, we are the children,” before resuming the game.  The other networks interrupting their programming for a minute of silence, the radios stop, where possible the machinery of society stops and the workers stop, just for a minute for PEACE.  There could be a build-up to this, of course, with information about what is going to happen and why.   All at once? Or like a wave of silence around the world?  Like when we turned on all the lights for the astronauts in space, we can each light one candle, put it in the window, for Peace.  If we have enough candles lit, the world can find its way in this hour of its darkest night. 
       There could be visual aids to help those who have been hurt so badly they have lost the ability to IMAGINE or to HOPE even.  I can see how all the creative minds of the world could put together some programming to visually and auditorally demonstrate what the whole thing is about, with so many spin-offs possible!  The schools would participate by telling the children about what was going to happen and why before the holidays.  They might practice having a moment of silence in their classrooms to try to picture in their heads what PEACE in the world would mean, ALL OVER THE WORLD! 
       This wouldn’t be the minute of silence as they raise the flag and play the national anthem: this would be an entirely separate thing, a minute of silence – for the WORLD. 
       I don’t know about your nation but we have become a nation of “spectators.”  We go to the games and watch somebody else doing something.  We turn on the TV and watch as somebody else plays music and as a result, “the people” no longer make music.  We’ve gone to “spectator” government.  Just like the gamblers on a boxing match, we “place our bet,” “vote” on one person and then stand back to watch someone else doing everything and criticize or applaud and wonder why the world is going to hell?! 
       “Stop the Clock” would be something EVERYONE could PARTICIPATE in.  It wouldn’t ask money from those who don’t have it; it wouldn’t ask talent from those who feel they don’t have any; it wouldn’t ask if you were pretty or ugly, young or old.  It wouldn’t ask if you believe in God or not.  All that would be asked is TIME, that element, that in the final analysis is perhaps the only thing we all have in common.  Pouring the money into the problems doesn’t seem to be getting to the root of the problems.  Maybe it’s not just “Brother, can you spare a dime?” but “Brother, can you spare some TIME?” 
       Did those innocents in Hiroshima die in vain?  Did those innocents die in vain at Dachau, Auschitz?  Did my father, Leon Gay, die in vain? Is all life in vain?  Only if we let it become so. Hand by hand, country by country, continent by continent, can your country and mine finally touch, leaving the bitterness of the past behind and look toward the future – together?  Even the new scientists are now beginning to learn what the artists have always known, that anything is possible.  Is it time for humankind to make a quantum leap into the future?

      The base of my investment in this project was 1500 U.S. Lincoln pennies, four of which I found This message cost me about 100 of those Lincoln pennies, not even measurable compared to the cost of the message delivered from the Enola Gay.


I received some wonderfully encouraging responses from some very famous people. In the coming months I had to deal with the persistent worry that my letter was more evidence of megalomania. I decided if the fear of what some psychiatrists might say could stop me, then I was letting THEM control my actions, the same as letting what my family thinks control me. (I know some psychiatrists who think it’s evidence of megalomania just for me to disagree with them.) 

September 19     Hypnogogic vision 
      Vague like “religion” and science get together at Dallas and prevent a fiery crash between Dallas and Shreveport. 

        I mailed my letter to the President of Mexico in Mexico City the morning before they had the earthquake that afternoon. I didn’t know what to think when I learned Mexico City was built over the old Aztec capital, if there was any connection to some of my dreams or not. 
       Within ten days of mailing the letters my head started feeling like it was IN a huge marshmallow, days of feeling like I was in something, like for about two feet all around me was “something,” like I was in a “bubble.” 
       After that my whole body got hot and stayed that way for a week or more. Lindy and my daughter could feel the heat radiating from me two feet away, like from a furnace. No one could stay close to me. I didn’t feel feverish though I could feel the extreme heat of my body with my hands and couldn’t stand even a sheet over me at night. 
       From the last of August I continued consciously indulging in fantasy to some degree, allowing myself to “finish childhood.” Deciding perhaps the manipulation of physical objects as representative of inner feelings was helpful if not necessary, I stopped censoring myself mentally for that, maintaining that attitude and at no time staying confused about what I was doing. 
        For the first time since? I began to see the flag flying on the flagpole at the school across the street as representing something positive, an idea, the same idea the founding fathers had been tuned into, that I had been handed a duty, to “carry the torch.” I no longer wanted to burn my father’s flag. 
        It was not “America – love it or leave it” but “America – if you love it, fix it.” 

       Gradually stopped being so involved with fantasy. However, I left the commercially printed sign I had laughingly put on the back door. “Registered Historic Nuthouse.” 
        As I had become more and more involved with the music, promotion, writing and sewing, Lindy felt more and more like he was taking a back seat: he stated explicitly he had to be FIRST in my life. There was no way. I found it hard to believe that anyone who had spent so much money on the music could dump it all so fast! 

        Months before I had told the retired General responsible for a new Veterans Memorial to be dedicated on Veterans Day that I wanted to sing for that. (I had gone to Retired officers’ meetings with Lindy.) I felt this would be one of the most appropriate, most personally meaningful things I would ever do in my life. 
       October 10 was coming up, the day my father had been killed in 1944, three days before his 28th birthday. I didn’t know why I should have more problems than any other year, but I began to wonder. 
       Quite “normal” till maybe October 9th. a couple of days afer that I seemed to plunge deeper into the fantasy and object manipulation than I had since April ’84. Maintaining to some degree the knowledge I was regressing to childhood, I never reached the point of requiring hospitalization. I could feel myself surfacing, plateauing, surfacing more, plateauing and knowing INTELLECTUALLY that whatever this was, it had me in its grasp. My daughter and I both knew we’d be glad when it was over, that it was taking a long time, I felt longer than I had ever experienced of consistent submersion. I had no drugs and never got less than 4 hours sleep every night. 
       I “played” like a child.  Drawing pictures in the sand, I combined adult meaning with child activity.  I experienced a subjective “difference” in my head, a different “sense” of myself in relation to the environment.  The background was “fuzzier” while the foreground, a few feet, was quite clear during all this time. This was probably the one thing the 46 year old part of me got the most tired of and would be most glad to have over since I was very aware of it at times.

October 16,1985    Hypnogogic state 
       The picture of my father in army uniform, except he’s facing the other way and larger than it really is, in my high school Senior picture frame. It “glows” with a special light. (Lindy had pointed out the real picture had been printed backwards because of the way shoulder insignia appears in it. 

       I saw and heard my son-in-law “speak in tongues” at his parents’ house. I knew it was a language, but one I didn’t recognize.  Later he told me, “I had no idea if 5 seconds, 5 minutes or 5 hours had passed.”   He also said, “It’s like part of me’s ‘not home.'”  They call it being filled with the “Holy Ghost,”one of the “gifts” of the “spirit.” 

       My daughter told someone, “When we were at town Mama wanted an ice cream cone. As soon as we started out in the car, she started going to sleep.   I looked over, her chin was on her chest and the ice cream cone was nearly upside down.  She had ice cream all over her face and clothes by the time we got home, just like a little kid!” 

        For many years I had talked around, about and over my feelings for Jess but never met them head on, looked them straight in the eye so to speak, had always referred to my feelings as “the classic textbook case,” a “crush.”  I had a friend to talk to and for the first time I heard myself say out loud what my feelings are. I decided I had to hear myself actually say it to totally accept my feelings, to go beyond the distancing intellectual rationalizations, while wondering if this is the first step in turning loose… 

       My daughter insisted I tell my mother how my father’s leaving had affected me.  I tried to tell her how that had gone years ago but she kept insisting. So I sat down with my mother and said one sentence about how it had affected me.  My mother’s single response was, “Well, it nearly killed me, too.”  That had been the same response I had gotten years before so had never brought it up again.  According to my mother, I was too young to be affected.  She took that thought to her grave.   

I realized I could look directly at the sun; at mid-morning I could see the corona with the naked eye.  (A continuation of what I had done during every altered state but this time I looked longer.  I later learned my eyes were possibly doing what a new camera does, making an artificial eclipse.) I sometimes saw the things around the sun that Van Gogh painted in some of his later work. Lying out with the sun shining on me, I realized the way I felt was the closest I’d come to how I’d felt when Jess looked at me in that special way. 
       As in every altered state, I bombarded myself with classical music. Though exposed to classical music for the first time at college while still working towards a degree in music, through the years I was never around anyone who liked it so had not asserted my taste for it. Putting my head almost in the speakers with high decibel volume, the music put me to sleep, sound asleep, sometimes within minutes. Though I am not a good pianist, I missed my piano stored in Oregon with a passion, telling my daughter, “Someday I’m going to meet a man who will say ‘Play “Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat” for me’ and will love it even though I can’t play it perfectly!” 
       Starting in September, I had no sexual urges of any kind for at least 3 to 4 months. I wondered for the first time why I have such a strong sense of direction in so many dreams – I’m facing west, something is to the north, I’m going east, etc. 

        Some of the ideas that had appeared in their strongest during altered states were beginning to reach a verbal level; I was beginning to be able to express them so my writing was starting to change toward ideas that were not just directly related to my personal life and my immediate problems but starting to express more concern for the condition of our society, the world. 

October 31, 1985

        I wrote the chorus for a new song, to Jess, in which I dared to start every line with “I want.” At last I could say, “I want” without it being a sin and the world coming to an end if I didn’t get it. 

November 1
       Fleeting feeling of being rolled up in a cocoon, “feeding my fantasy.”  I can’t worry if the fantasies are happening in real life or not which is hard not to do! I have to FEEL the songs AS MY REALITY while the 46 year old rational adult part of me sits on the sideline and watches. 

Hypnogogic vision: 
Two sections of iron pipe, one telescoped in the other, inner one brought out, the two sections welded together, no longer telescoping. 


       My daughter watched during an experience I did not understand; she had thought I might be having a heart attack because of the abrupt onset, the way I “grabbed” my chest. I felt no fear, simply allowed it, trying to describe the sensations to her as they were happening. My body and head seemed to do some rather slow, subtle twisting movement; I felt “pressure” of some kind all around me; I felt the sensation of something being pulled from my body or me being pulled from something. I didn’t feel a specific object touching me and I had no sensations of touching anything physical that I could describe, except for the feeling like something was lifting me or pulling in some way under my arms at one point.  Then I felt “as if” I had been given wings, feeling physical sensation close to my shoulder blades. After that was finished, an emotion flooded my being, of having glimpsed “heaven” in some way, being overcome with utter joy.  (Months later someone suggested something I had not thought of, “Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon?”) 

First week of November  Hypnogic state 
        Two hands handing me a “glowing” sword. 

       I wrote an article that was published in the newspaper as a letter to the editor just before Veterans’ Day, having had some of the content in my mind for years: 

Veterans’ Day Article 

        Leon Gay was my father.  He volunteered for the army in December, 1942, from Ringling, Oklahoma. He’s one of those the new Veterans’ Memorial here is to honor. 
        In my heart that Memorial has some other meanings, too.  I want to tell you about four people that share the honors, two who wore uniforms and two who didn’t, but nevertheless, are veterans of American Wars. 
        In 1976 in Portland, Oregon, I worked at a community college in the Special Education department. One of the people I worked with was a beautiful, robust, 24 year old Vietnam veteran named Ara Markarian.  An Armenian immigrant, he spoke 5 languages, and could “get along”in two more but was having a very difficult time mastering the English language.  I was assigned to tutor him in English. Ara was an artist; I saw some of his paintings, sensitive. Ara was an athlete with an athlete’s build, who carried himself with pride, who exuded “elan vital.” He told me of how he loved running, free, in the wind.  In Vietnam he’d been shot in the head, the optic nerve almost severed; he was going blind.  He asked me, “What will I do when I can’t see to paint anymore? What will I do when I can’t run across the grass anymore in this beautiful Oregon country?” But Ara never regretted going to Vietnam because that was how he’d become an American citizen and he was so proud to be an American. Ara had not lived here long enough to learn our American sophistication of not letting our feelings show and never hid his innocent understanding of “freedom” and “equality” and “dignity.” 

        That year of 1976 I saw something that forces me to write this 9 years later.  I watched as my boss and other native born Americans in that “Special Education Office” mocked, laughed at, made fun of, and made jokes about “dumb Ara” because he was so stupid he couldn’t even learn the English language!  Those native born Americans, born into “liberty,” who had never seen a battlefield, mocked this beautiful young man who’d given his eyesight to earn his citizenship. 
        The second person is closer to home, right here in Carter County, a man who spent l8 months on the front lines in the Korean hills where he earned a battlefield commission. While he was taking his baths from melted snow in his helmet and living in a tank his family sent him silk pajamas for Christmas.  He’s never told his now grown children about watching, as the head of a friend, severed from his body at his shoulders, rolled across the ground, leaving a scarlet trail of blood in that virgin Korean snow. For 32 years this man has kept well hidden a rotting knot of guilt for the lives of some men lost under his command, from a decision he had to make as quick as a heartbeat, a knot so far down inside him he’s never been able to get to it. No one saw last winter when the snow was on the ground when he went to feed his horses. He was spread-eagled on the ground before he realized what he saw sticking up out of the snow was only a blade of grass, not a mine trip wire, 32 years after he’d left that Korean snow behind. 
        The third person, who never wore a uniform, is my mother.  She was 26 years old when she was left alone with three very young children to raise.  There aren’t many people left now who remember my mother when she laughed so easily and sang so loud while she was hanging out clothes in the sunshine. 
        The years took their toll.  The lights went out in Mama’s eyes and she never sang anymore, once in a while just hummed “The Old Rugged Cross.”  Now she lives in a nursing home, a complete wreck physically while drugs and God are the only thing that have kept her together mentally. She’s only 67 years old but she’s lived a thousand years.  She “embarrasses” her nieces and nephews who run the nursing home when she gets in her wheelchair and rolls it backwards to town and back, still clinging to some shred of independence. 
       Along with my father, my mother, the Aras, all you men in Carter County, along with all those men who lie beneath the markers at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery marked “UNKNOWN,” and I can’t believe how many there are, I include me. 
        I remember the first song I ever learned, “You Are My Sunshine.”  I learned it from my daddy. I felt like when he sang it he was singing it just for me.  I was his “sunshine.” I recall vividly the day my grandfather, John Gay, came to our house and handed Mama that little yellow piece of paper.  I was 5 years old. 
        I recall vividly that gray, drizzly day at Ft. Gibson National Cemetery after his body had been shipped back from Belgium.  The men playing taps were out of practice. I thought, “The least they could do was play that right.  This is my daddy we are burying and he deserved more than that.”  I was 8 years old. 
        This year, August, 1985, I was able to bury my father …at last. 
        Yes, we have a new Veterans’ Memorial.  And yes, in some small ways and in some bigger ways some of us will remember and honor them.  But are they resting in peace?  This country they gave their lives for certainly isn’t. 


        I was not prepared for the emotional reaction to this from the disciplined, aloof, retired military officers. I received a very nice note from the then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Crowe, and a letter from a State Senator. 

       Appropriately, Veterans Day was gray and drizzly and I was back up from whatever it was I had been in and was able to sing. 
       On the news it was announced that during the 40th anniversary of the United Nations, the Japanese Prime Minister had apologized for Japan’s part in WWII. 

December 12    Hypnogogic state 

       Thinking, wondering about how deep my feelings go about Jess, saw a fire through crack in floor. 

February 1986
       That fall I had desperately wanted to return to Oregon; I had wanted to return for three years but things kept coming up that had delayed my departure. In January ’86 I made plans to leave in February. 
         I had been visiting my mother’s male ex-friend at least once a month since he had been transferred to the VA mental facility 90 miles away; I was the only person consistently visiting him that I knew of. He only wanted to die (had attempted suicide a few years before) and I was very concerned about leaving because of him.  On a Monday night in February I had nightmares all night about death, only one of the four I could remember, a grotesque one about him. On Tuesday night Lindy and I left for Mississippi for his medical appointment there; we tarried in Jackson. Crossing the Mississippi River again coming home, I wondered if I might be crossing it for the last time; I hoped not… 
       Getting home late Friday afternoon I learned this man had died on Wednesday and been buried the day we got home. It seemed to be the end of an era. 

Latter part of February    Hypnogogic vision 
       Lindy and I in Oregon by the Columbia River, east of Portland at a confluence where a river runs into the Columbia. I’m wading in the very clear knee deep water. I find a watch and compass on the riverbed under the water; I get them. 

March 1986
       I stayed with my next-to-the-oldest daughter and her 2 year old son. I started baby-sitting him while she worked. (We would spend 5 years together.) 
       I had my first what might be called “wish-fulfilling” dream about Jess. I had wondered for years why I never dreamed anything like that about him.  The dreams I had about him, maybe two a year, had always been very realistic, increasing in frequency and veering more from reality starting the previous fall, as if the dreams changed in correlation to my ability to consciously fantasize. 
       By the end of last year I had been able to experience the feelings of the fantasy of being close to Jess, even sexually, (And I do mean just “close to”) becoming able – for the first time – to imagine situations that had never been, and imagine the feelings that might accompany them. The biggest thrill was being able to turn them off and come totally back to a cold, hard reality. 
       Last fall I wrote about not feeling “hurried.”   That has stayed with me.   I no longer feel “pressured” for time. I have things to do but I’m not so pressured about it.   I don’t recall feeling like this before.  I also don’t mind doing housework, menial things, like I did before.   I work with my projects for some time and don’t feel pressured when I clean house like I should be doing something else.  This is all new to me. 

        There are three major ways in which my mind has been changed since 1971. I consider my departure from my religious background my most radical venture (understood only by those who understand that departure as presenting the possibility of eternity in the flames of hell.) From being a person with a rationalistic world-view, thinking I should be able to intellectually understand everything in it in 1971, I’ve become intimately acquainted with a world unavailable to me through my five senses and have had to acknowledge experiences that I didn’t think possible and that I may never understand intellectually. I can now accept personal “psychic” experiences without coming unhinged. Thirdly is my complete departure from orthodox psychiatry.
I also came to see that by my losing control of my mind, my mind was able to restructure itself.

  1. I get back in touch with classical music, listen to all kinds of music more, some intense 
       listening periods.  (For most part had stoppped listening to music since my teens.) 
  2. Playing with a dog, something I had NEVER done. 
  3. Loving people, loving humanity. 
  4. Feeling of being “at one” with the universe, “belonging” in my environment, feeling 
      “at home” on earth. (Compared with my sane feeling that had caused me to adopt for a 
      theme song, an old song, “This world is not my home, I’m just apassin’ through…”) 
  5. Feeling/knowing/experiencing “love” as foundation of universe, being IN “love,” 
      grasping God IS love as opposed to “God loves.” 
  6. Periods when I clean things, put things “in order.”  Seen only in initial stages of this 
      re-ordering one may have seen total chaos for sometimes I took everything out 
      and started a re-ordering from scratch. (Symbolic of what was happening internally.) 
  7. Heightened creativity. 
  8. Periods of predominantly “clustered” thinking. 
  9. Perceiving similarities in people, in things, in events, between externals and inner 
10. Get in touch with old, deep, severe emotional pain, resolve at least one emotional 
      issue with each episode. 
11. Feeling of being “watched.” 
12. Premonitions, sustained coincidences, “unusual” events, knowing some future 
      events, knowing some events happening in other places. 
13. Progressively lengthening periods of lack of emotional pain. 
14. Periods of highest muscular coordination, smooth, graceful. 
15. Experienced “delusions.” 
16. Manipulation of physical objects in symbolic gestures, an outward manifestation 
      of inner feelings, thoughts, and experiences. (Also way I’ve worked out a better 
      understanding of some complex ideas during sanity.) 
17. Mend specific meaningful things, the only time I mend them. 
18. Get back in touch with the meaning of art in general that I learned in my 
      humanities class at the age of 20. I get back “in touch” with a lot of me 
      that I’ve repressed to “to get along with” the people I’m around, thus 
      people see me acting “differently.” 
19. I “fizz.” 
20. Have quite clear feeling/knowledge/understanding of Plato’s cave. Which, 
      if I mention to the people I’m around is more proof of my insanity since 
      most of the people I’m around have never heard of Plato. 
21. Interference of “normal” time perception. 
22. Pervasive anticipation, expectation of “something good” happening at any time. 
23. A few hallucinations, all of which I would label positive. I read hallucinations were 
       projections of unassimilated or rejected contents of one’s own mind. 
      I wondered about that after I saw myself on TV in ’76 looking absolutely 
24. More uninhibited, self confident. Or a regression to before I had been made 
      to feel unconfident? For the first time I wonder, is it SELF confident, or 
      WORLD confident, confident in OTHER people, a lack of fear of what’s going 
      to happen? That would explain my confusion over the years when I used the 
      term “self-confident.” I had always known I could do just about anything I wanted. 
      Wasn’t that SELF confidence? Then why didn’t I feel better about doing? As a 
      child when someone told me for instance, “In two weeks we’ll go to the circus,” 
      I probably would not get to go, a feeling that stayed with me on into adulthood, 
      responsible for my strong dislike of planning in advance for so many years. 
      It’s only been since fall, ’85, I’m finding I’m more comfortable with advance 
      planning. And, “self-confidence” didn’t have much to do with “worth.” Though I 
      was confident I could do most anything, it didn’t necessarily mean I was “worth” 
25. Periods when my reasoning ability is comparable to that of a very young child, 
      inability to follow a plot, jumping to conclusions 
26. Always pervasive feeling that everything happening was for a reason. 
27. Periods of looking for “something.” 
28. Periods dealing with paradoxes. 

Consistent delusions: (feelings I interpreted in the following words) 
1. Following “instinct.” 
2. Being watched by the people aware of new development in mankind. 
3. Making contribution to medical science. 
4. Jim/Jess and I would get together after I “got my act together.” Periods of thinking I was on my way to get married. 
5. I would see my father again. 
6. “Saving” the/my world. 
7. Something good was going to happen. 


        I hope I am learning I am HUMAN. There have been only two times in my life when I thought I could not do something and it nearly scared me to death. I’m not familiar with that feeling – I can’t. I’ve started forcing myself sometimes to make what I consider an arbitrary decision that I’ve had enough and then, if necessary, tell someone. I’m also learning most people don’t believe me!! 
        The motto of my high school graduating class was: American ends with I CAN. 

        I’ve started watching my 3 1/2 year old grandson’s “fluctuating emotions.” He can cry, laugh, get very angry or go from one to the other at the drop of a hat. However, it’s not called fluctuating emotions at that age. 

May 1986
        The world reeled from the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in the USSR. I had become quite discouraged about the project I had launched the previous fall but that month I received one of the most encouraging responses yet from an internationally known author. On May 23 I added two more letters to my peace letter and went back into action. Again, I had to deal with the worry about megalomania, never being able to just put it down once and for all. However, finding out there are some people out there on the same wave length makes it all worth it. 
        I sent the following letters with copies going to various soviet leaders, political and religious: 

Charman Mikhail Gorbachev, USSR 

        Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter I sent to the Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan, last September 16, along with a list of other people and agencies to whom it has been sent. 
        As you will see from that letter, my father, Leon Gay, was killed in action in Germany during that war. You had fathers fighting the same enemy as my father. Again, we have a common enemy, an inescapable, ultimately pervasive enemy, an insidious enemy of two parts and I’m not sure which comes first at this time…fear…or nuclear development. 
        I didn’t send the letter to you last September because, to put it quite simply, I was afraid. I was afraid you might construe something to reflect negatively on the United States providing grist for a propaganda machine. I decided if I, as an impotent nobody, can’t overcome my own fear, how can I expect those in awesome positions of power to even begin to reach beyond theirs. So I’m exercising my right of open communication as an American citizen purely in the spirit of child-like hope. 
        There are people in your country just like me, the little people, objectified as “the masses.” Many of us don’t understand politics, but we do understand pain. Our children have to live with the effects of what happens on the other side of this planet. No longer can any of us become refugees in a foreign land for there is no place on Planet Earth far enough away to be safe from nuclear disaster. And though we anthropocentrically pat ourselves on the back for our smug superior intellectual development, the bottom line is, we really don’t know much about what we’re doing to our planet.
        It has been suggested to me that I’m not appropriately serious while addressing such a serious matter as world peace. I’m sure in the world of men, warring to find a reason for their existence, that my ideas seem “frivolous.” Let me assure you, my life has been anything but frivolous.
        You will also see enclosed a copy of a letter to the people of Chernobyl expressing my sympathy and concern.

The time will come… 
        when I can send a leter to you without having to overcome paranoid suspicions…
The time will come…
        when we can concentrate on curing the cancers and future cancers we’ve already caused…
The time will come….
        when the silent tears of the mothers and children will have finally pierced the souls of men…
The time will come…
        or we will have no time.


To the People of Chernobyl, 
        I don’t know your language but even if I did there still would be no words that could begin to alleviate your sorrow and shock and suffering. Not being one of the affluent, I have no funds to send. Not having requisite technical skills, I cannot offer physical services. Being simply a mother and an artist the only offering I can make comes from my soul – empathy. 
        Let us hope the structure at Chernobyl, if encased in concrete as has been suggested as a possibility, will be the first and last monument of its kind to the Nuclear Age and man’s cerebral development made precarious by his continuing failure to develop beyond the primitive tribal mentality of “them” and “us,” a visual spectre reminding mankind in a materialistic age of his tenuous position on Planet Earth, an enduring spectre that won’t be glossed over as quickly as did the physical environment of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
        Let us use the tragedy there in helping the world re-think nuclear policy. Making meaning out of suffering is sometimes the only way to survive. Perhaps then, your suffering will not have been in vain. Perhaps, after all is said and done, Chernobyl will have helped save the world.


It was very exciting to get a response from a church in Moscow!