Dr. Val Farmer
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Rural Mental Health & Family Relationships

Letters Offer Special Thanks

December 20, 1999

p>I get many letters from readers of this column and listeners to AgriTalk. Here are a few recent letters that mean a lot to me.

Dear Dr. Farmer,

I wrote you a couple of years ago, after your prostate surgery. I told you the, "next time a cloud comes up," I was sending Gene to the Dr. I didn't ask him if he wanted to go, I TOLD him when the appointment was. He went, all was fine, and he's gone back every year since. Hope things remain well with you concerning that. Have a great day. You certainly help make mine.

My reply on the Internet:

So far so good. There has been no reoccurrence of the prostate cancer. Thanks for your concern.

Dear Dr. Farmer,

I've been a reader of your column for more than 15 years now and nearing the milestone of 20 years as a farm wife in rural IllinoisΒΌ

I was looking for your email address a year ago because I had such a yearning to tell you THANKS for all the wonderful, wise and meaningful advice you share in your column. It really seems sometimes as if God is "speaking to me" through what you write.

For example, a couple years ago you challenged us to take the time to give our spouses/family members a loving greeting and farewell each day. A small gesture, but something that could compound in big ways. I took that as my secret resolution for 1998 and could see within just a few weeks what a difference it made for us. I had been able to do that with my kids pretty well, but I had grown negligent about offering my husband that kind of loving care and attention. It has paid marvelous dividends for our relationship.

I was also especially helped at that time by an article that pointed out the incredible influence that regular family meals together had for kids growing up. It is HARD to do that with a farm lifestyle and kids' activities. I still value that important challenge though.

I could go on and on and on. I look forward to your articles because of the values you espouse and the way in which I feel you communicate something Godly to us. My deepest heartfelt thanks to you for your caring "ministry" to rural folks across the continent, Dr. Farmer!!! Blessings to you and your family. - An Illinois reader

Dr. Farmer,

My husband and I are soon going to be divorcing after 24 years of what many outsiders would think was a good marriage.

Several other times during our marriage I've wanted desperately to leave, but always managed to "stuff" my feelings for the sake of our children. This summer I experienced the worst mental hell of my life, when I suffered from depression and anxiety attacks and finally realized that I could no longer stay in this relationship. I was finally so incredibly tired of pretending to the world and denying my feelings, even to myself, that I just couldn't do it anymore.

Naturally, he has continued to try to 'talk me out of it'. Although he has been successful in the past doing that, this time I'm not changing my mind. I have repressed anger and disappointments (even though we've had very heated discussions with no satisfactory resolution) for so many years, that I long ago reached the stage of apathy.

The reason I'm writing is that an attorney friend sent him several of your columns concerning divorce, anger, etc. and the column about being blindsided in marriage was so "us" I nearly dropped the paper while reading it! I am the one who tried and tried to make him understand that I needed things to be different, but he's never been able to understand until he read that column.

The wonderful thing is that since the two of us have discussed that column, he finally "gets it"! It isn't changing the fact that I need to leave [this state] and start a new life, but it has opened up unbelievable discussions and we are both committed to remaining steadfast friends and maintaining a relationship that, although different from marriage, will be beneficial to each other as human beings and as parents to our sons. Now, I believe, he is truly on a path of introspection, as I have been, and I dare say we will both become much more emotionally healthy.

We're going to subscribe to your reader service and hope to glean many more insights. Just that one particular column has helped us immeasurably - perhaps not in the way you meant it to, but in a very positive way nonetheless! Thank you for your great writings. - Reader via the Internet.