On 9/8/2022 the world lost an icon in Queen Elizabeth at age 96. Much will be written about her grace and her living legacy and man will be glued to TV sets to watch the pomp and circumstance of her burial.
Such is life. On a smaller scale each one of us experiences many losses and deaths along the way. My deepest sympathy goes out to all who have recently lost someone they loved.
On August 18, I experienced the death on my Mentor, Dr. Glenn Oscar Haworth, whose life also spanned 96 years and who I knew since I was 20 years old. Many of us in the field have mentors, sponsors that we have that help guide us. Today I take this platform to honor Dr. Haworth and to also share a poem which one of my clients discovered that helps us with our memories of those we loved and lost.
My Tribute to Dr Glenn Oscar Haworth
What does one say about a man who always was strength-based and who always had an existential chortle for those who knew him. Glenn was a brilliant orator, who no doubt got his training running through the backwoods of Julian where he grew in open spaces and with hearts of gold. Truth is, I don’t know much about the stories of his childhood. He did not share much save his family was hardy stock and he loved school, working for the probation department and helping youngsters thrive. Though I know he did a stint in the Navy, my knowledge is alas limited, save for the fact he still had his dog tags tucked neatly away in a pouch with his wife Joanne’s wedding rings.
Glenn was smart. He earned a PHD in social work from Berkeley. While he was married once before with Joanne, two souls came together in a love that transcends time. She was for him his queen and for her Glenn was her king. Together they had philosophical minds that addressed the social ills of the world.
As social workers, they bonded together to help alleviate the suffering of the world. She focused on policy while he helped explain the way folks were and how they can change the world. They loved gatherings and were a great host and hostess, and one would always find conversations that were profound in their salon. Most of all they loved each other. I found the following poem neatly written by Joanne in a small black book that Glenn kept by his desk.
I love you
I love you
Not only for what you are but for who I am when I am with you
I love you
For the part of me that you bring out
And for bringing out into the light all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far to finish
I love you for helping me make the lumbar of my life not a tavern but a temple
Not a reproach but a don
I love you
Because you have done more then any creed could have done to make good
Any fate could of done to make me happy
You have done i
Without a touch
Without a word
Without a sign
You have done it being yourself
Perhaps that’s what being in love means after all
They had a grand love of music. Joanne was a superb piano player and Glen an avid listener. Glenn enjoyed tennis 🎾 and played with gusto. Even as he lost his eyesight, he loved to listen to a good tennis game, and his very old tennis racket decorated the corner of his room reminding him of matches gone by.
Glen and Joanne were always smart in their moves from an incredible modern home that they built to the 3 downsizes they went through till they moved into Weslley Palms. They were always planned, organized and thoughtful. Glenn’s tenure there would last 10 years.
My introduction to Glen and Joanne came at the ripe age of 20. Like an exotic cheetah, I entered San Diego State College School of Social Work where Dr. Haworth served in many different capacities, including Dean. He retired as an emeritus professor. When I met him it was the era of protests, of civil unrest, of flower power, laugh-ins and sit-ins. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot. Vietnam was starting and we were determined to make the world a better place.
I was so incredibly lucky as Glenn was my mentor. He believed in me and found joy in my writings and delight in me. He was just the father-figure I needed, and I suppose I was just the surrogate daughter they needed to nurture, to scold, to love and to be present for thru deaths, births and remarriage. Perhaps my favorite times with them both were our Thanksgiving feasts. This was the time of coming together, long gratitude lists, chocolate cakes and gummy white bread stuffing. The house was boisterous and loud, and discourse flowed freely everywhere. My times with Glen were always spent trying to understand his brilliance as he viewed the world thru an existential lens.
Surely the years flew by. How did that wide eyed 20 year old coed become the 75 year old who was always there in spirit and whose visits were reaffirmations that things would always be just right?
Watching Joanne wilt away was hard on Glen. The splendor of his hour was gone and yet he continued to make meaning and so enjoyed a young African scholar who ran a discussion group. Glenn loved his mind, and as his eyes grew dimmer, his range of sight into the unknown grew broader.
The last time I saw Glenn we spoke about his writings and how the world was. He held a special place in his heart for all my daughters, yet Shelby no doubt was his favorite. He loved to hear about her writings and what she was doing. He knew he was getting near to the end and quoted one of our favorite poems, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock by TS Elliot, and reminded me how I strung poetry for my masters thesis. That was the last time I saw Glen with his checkered shirt, proud and strong. I told him my innermost secrets and like the good father he was, he listened and never criticize, and he believed I would find the path less taken.
Going through his personal belongings, I once again was struck by our beautiful relationship. Amongst the treasures were not only a copy of my masters thesis circa 1970, my dissertation in 1998, all the books I had written and even a hardback copy of which I had never seen of my text book. Tears streamed down as I felt so loved and cared for and I know he extended the generosity of spirit to so many.
I appreciated the folks that stopped by his room as we discarded and donated all. He was a man of few wants and he kept impeccable records. I have since learned that Glen and Joanne had 2 nieces: Susan Rose Kaplan & Deb Russell, a nephew Al Russell and an adopted niece Janet Taylor. I am sure they have their own memories to share and cherish.
As for me I will always cherish Glenn. He reaffirmed my love for humanity, my creative spirit. He respected the psychotherapist, Sheldon Kopp and his sage advice of which I will carry forever in my heart:
There is no way of getting all you want
You can’t have anything unless you let go of it
You only get to keep what you give away
Dr. Glenn Oscar Haworth gave away so much to so many. His wisdom will live on. Donations in his memory may go to San Diego State University School Of Social Work.
If you have someone who you have loved and lost I want to share, “I Wish I Knew “ by Donna Ashworth. A client has done some tremendous grief and loss work and discovered this poem.
When someone has gone,you can being them backfor just little whileby painting a picture with memories and your wordsbreathing their essence back into existencefor just a few momentsWhen someone has goneyou can see them againfor minute or twoby being all the things they once wereby allowing their best traits to filter through youshaping your words, your thoughts and your deeds back out into the worldWhen someone has goneYou can feel them againfor just a momentby playing the musicand singing their favorite songsby giving yourself up to notes that bought them aliveonce upon a time, it will againWhen someone has goneyou can keep apart of them aliveby giving the love you had for them a forever place in your lifea forever seat at your table and a glorious chapter in your bookStories never dieTell them