E6 First Person Charlottesville - Marian Dixon
A Story of Resilience and Hope in the Face of Grief
Charles Lewis: Welcome to First Person Cville, the podcast. I'm Charles Lewis, your host, and also the co-host of In My Humble Opinion, from 101.3 FM. Marian Dixon was born in Charlottesville. At 80 years old, her wisdom and insights are an inspiration—even if her experiences haven’t always been uplifting. See, Marian knows about intense grief.
Marian Dixon: Everybody has their own way of grieving. Some people can get over it faster than others and some of it takes a long time to do. It affects you both mentally and physically. It really does.
Charles Lewis: When Marian was just 19 years old, her infant daughter Varinia suddenly died.
Marian Dixon: It was just a shock, you know, to play with your baby, nurse her, and then go back to get her up and she's gone. I hadn't cried through our daughter's death. I hadn't cried through making arrangements, the funeral, the burial, none of it. I had not cried. I went from them telling me she was gone into this -- the best I can explain it -- it was like I was in this room inside of a room, and it was like I could see everything going on around me and what everybody was doing, but I was not a part of that. I was just in limbo. I was just there. I wasn't hurting anybody. I just wasn't functioning. I had been going through what they classified massive depression for a while it had been, I guess, a couple of months. And I was standing at the window in my glass box, my invisible glass box, looking out the window. And our oldest daughter, she came into the house and I was standing and she grabbed me by my dress. And she told me, “Mama, [daughter’s name?] is gone, but you still have us.” That was all she said. Which was really shocking to hear a six year old say that. And when she when she said that it was though someone just really hit me in my stomach and I start screaming and crying and I cried and cried. I don't know how long I cried A couple of hours. About two or 3 hours, I don't know. But I cried and cried and I could hear my mama say, “Just leave her alone. Let her get it out. Let her get it out.” And a couple of days after that, I was back to myself.
Charles Lewis: So what do you believe is the lesson in all of it? You know, especially when you think about I'm going through grief and depression to that to that level. Like, do you feel like there was a lesson to learn?
Marian Dixon: Not necessarily a lesson, but it's just something some time we have to go through. And it does make us stronger on the other side once you get through it. And it's been a lot of things that, as far as my family is concerned and the deaths in my family that I had to go through, but I was better equipped to accept them after going through what I did in the past. It makes it easier for you to deal with other things, especially if something else happens. That fear was there for a while, quite some time. And not realize that we don't have no control over how long a person lives or anything like that. Two years later, we had our middle son. And it was sort of like, we all spoiled him. We were thinking something was going to happen to him. So, we spoiled him. All of us did, is, you know, every time he went to sleep or anything like that is this is sisters and his brothers was looking at him to make sure he was all right, you know. But after that, after, you know, the fear left in that extra fear that was in the back of your mind and left after he began to grow and be with the rest of them.
Charles Lewis: Baby Varinia’s death wasn’t the only time that Marian would wrestle with grief. She’s also buried two of adult daughters—and her husband of 60 years. Marian admits that, even though she’s a woman of strong faith, she used to be angry with God.
Marian Dixon: I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. It was years later when our youngest daughter at that particular time died and I was angry with God. I mean, Rinia was a baby, you can kind of accept that that she was younger. But when your children grow up, you expect them to bury you, not you bury them. We've had to bury two of our daughters as they've been grown. I was more able to with Barbara, I guess, the way she was, she had just started pastoring and all and I really get angry, you know, and I didn't realize it at first. And I had to ask God's forgiveness. Who am that who he created to get mad with him? And then with my, our oldest daughter when she passed, I was more ready to accept it because of the fact she was a pastor, too. I was more able to accept the death of my husband after 60 some years. Yes, I miss him. You know someone about half your life and we were teens when we got married. But I just thank God for the experiences that I have been through. And still might have to go through. Because tomorrow's not promised to you. Next second isn’t. But I thank God for where he already brought me through and where he's taking me.
Charles Lewis: One of the reasons the story is so pertinent is that clinical depression is at an all time high. And so what's your words of encouragement to those who are in the middle of it and don't see a way out?
Marian Dixon: You know, if you feel yourself getting into a state where you would want to do your self harm or you worried about this one because they're gone. Be able to talk about it. Don't leave it in you. You know, because when things stay in you and you don't talk about them, it's like a cancer and it eats at you. If you need help and you're going through things and it's bothering you, seek help. Seek help.
CL: You can find Marion’s story at vinegar hill magazine dot com. We want to hear your story and tell the story of our community together. Share your perspective with First Person Cville at cvilleinclusivemedia.com/projects. The First Person Cville podcast is a production of Charlottesville Inclusive Media. It's hosted by me, Charles Lewis, and the In My Humble Opinion Talk Show. Like what you hear? Subscribe and follow us at imhotalkshow.org.
This episode was produced by Kelly Jones. Music for this episode came from Epidemic Sound. IMHO music was from God Vamps by Miguel and Morse with NYC bangers on production. Episode Notes
Find out more at https://in-my-humble-opinion.pinecast.co