Which is odd considering he almost died when he was first diagnosed spring of 2019.
I transitioned back to him, started back with him again, after Christmas last year. My last appointment with him I think was in the first week of July, not long ago. And yet it feels like a year or two, in some ways.
I didn't know that was going to be my last appointment. Though I had been told about a month-ish before that, that he needed a transplant again, and so I figured the odds were lower and his health was less.
But he still saw me, and was the same man/therapist I'd come to know, as sharp as ever. Though in looking back, maybe a bit more tired than usual. It didn't seem to affect his work.
I feel guilt typing this out, that I was getting therapy from him while he was struggling with this. But he addressed that with me and he did have a big question for me, that I answered with some thought. It regarded weighing the benefits vs. the risks of having continued back in therapy with him again, starting last Christmas, despite knowing his health could take a turn for the worse. He seemed satisfied with my answer. Relieved, and maybe even happy, though that wasn't my aim. My purpose was to give him the pure truth, so he could make whatever assessments he needed to make of benefit/vs. harm of giving therapy, or whatever other assessments he needed to make for his situation.
I can't begin to express how grateful I am for the gift that he's been in my life. And especially for the gift of having had the last 7 months of therapy that I did with him. I tried to keep it to the top most important, what if I never get to see him again beyond this week or this month, type of stuff. And there was and is some deep stuff, going on. Repressed childhood trauma stuff.
I learned things from the last 7 months of therapy with him, that I'm still trying to figure out how to describe. One of them is just how safe he was. How safe a man could be (though most men aren't. The sense of youthful wonder I felt, and the work I was able to do on that trauma with him, there's impacts there from our recent work, besides all the other years, that I'll probably be figuring out and feeling for quite some time, especially as I continue the trauma work.
He's had effects on my life that have taught me a feeling that I never could have imagined before. This will never leave me (well, I have some fear I may forget, but I am not sure this kind of feeling can be forgotten. I may have some memory issues with the severe fibromyalgia, but, but I don't think I can forget what he did for me. If I did, I'd probably be close to forgetting things like breating.
I have been struggling with the grief, and with how confusing it is to lose someone so close, in such a unique role and place in my life, who had taught/guided/helped and was continuing to, who was so powerful, how confusing it is to try to maintain a connection to him, our therapeutic relationship, to our work, and to the way we felt. And yet still to mourn him, which is a letting go, even if I feel too numb sometimes, too in shock, too disbelieving sometimes, to feel that letting go, or to want to. I'd never WANT to. But life means there is death.
I've never lost someone really close to me. Grandparents that I'd see every great once in a while. A grandmother whom I was around a bit more in the last 20 years of her life, but still not frequently, and she was in such pain for such a long time, that it wasn't difficult to mourn and process her passing.
I have felt and at time still feel lost, confused, numb. Some anger, but I have problems with feeling I have permission to. I was working on that with him when he first got sick.
Disbelief. I am having a hard time even comprehending that he died, because of several things. I had pictured that there'd be somewhere to go, a grave perhaps, where I could go now and then and work on getting closer to, and eventually, saying goodbye.
That still feels wierd and wrong to me. But while I understand that people die, and in some ways understand that he's gone, there's partso f me that don't understand it at all. How all that beauty and light could just be here, and then not be here.
Even though I believe in life after death. That he's up there, doing the kindest things they'll let him do. Because he was kindness. His face should be by kindness in the dictionary. His sincerity, his honesty, his encouragement, his support, his patience . . . his unwavering faith and hope in you and your potential and capacity to learn, to grow, to be effective and effect change, to work, to learn to feel kinder towards yourself.
So many things that are too numerous. I keep trying to describe him, as if maybe there's a way I can capture what he was, who he was. Part of it is that fear of the fading and the distance that will happen and some detail will be forgotten, though some won't.
I think I'm also trying to find him, like a pet who keeps sitting at the window every day when it's time for his friend to come home. Not that I'm a pet, it's just that's the feeling of not undersetanding. I keep feeling like a small child, banging on his office door, crying, and not understanding why he won't open it up and let me in and help me with the bad stuff anymore.
That is one of the difficult things, is being in the middle of that kind of work. I need to say the most difficult thing is that he, his light, the beautiful, kind person that he is, is not here anymore. But it is also difficult to interrupt tht kind of work, but that's partly what that big question he asked me was about. I have no doubt that my answer then was the right one, the truth, for me. That I learned things that were not able to be learned by study and intellect alone, but that I'd learned that there could be someone so safe, so concerned for my welfare and what had happened to me, that I didn't have to be scared, that Ifelt as though I'd learned what it was like to have a caring father figure. I'd never known that before. And the last 7 months before he passed, taught me so much that feels immeasurable.
The benefits outweighed the risks, so he decided, with some input and feedback to his questions from me, and so we had another 5 or 6 appointments. Even though his loss has been much harder than I could have anticipated, it was still worth it.
This has gone on so long. I find myself able to process and make progress, sometimes, through this kind of blog writing. I don't know if I should publish it, though.
If I do, know that this man had a gift that helped so many people, and the effects of his presence here will be felt for a long time to come.
He had a framed saying in his office that read, "A life that touches the hearts of others lives on forever."
He lives on forever, and I do my best to remember him every day, and be kind to myself throughout this grieving. I'm establishing a habit of looking for positive things and activities, even when I don't feel like it, especially when I feel most depressed, which is challenging and a work in progress, but I feel like it's the best daily thing I can do to honor him and how he gave so much of himself to our work together.
I miss you. More than I ever could have expressed. I miss leaning on your strength and quiet confidence, leaning on your hope. In reflecting on our work, I realized you knew I had hope all along, because I was showing up every week and working, even though I thought I didn't have any. You KNEW. I miss your confidence, hope, and caring, and celebrating, that you knew I'd figure out what I needed eventually (with help from you, quite often, but the insight was from me), and that we'd celebrate it, practice it, and build on it.
I think I am struggling with the idea that we aren't going to build together anymore. Except I've still been learning from you even after your death. We're still building. Your love for me helps me have a place to go inside that helps me have the strength to build. Even with the grief. I am using my love for you to help me build now, as I used it last year when you got sick. I figure it's the best I can do with what you've given me. It's the most honor I can give you, and myself, and a memorial to the trust I placed in you.
I just . . .I still can't say goodbye yet. We didn't discuss loss or grief that much; I probably should have, more, though I know what you would say about that "should". I know you would say it's okay for me to be feeling whatever I am feeling. I just can't say goodbye yet.
Although this blog post is a step towards that, I suppose.
I don't know if I'll post anything else here or not. I am in some ways embarrassed by much of what I read when I went through the blog posts here recently. Because I've learned a lot since then. And yet, I was brave then in some ways, in ways I've forgotten. I see some beauty in the person I see there, despite the messiness and the neediness. I see a pereson who didn't know she was on the autism spectrum, which is the biggest why behind so much of me, so much more so than having bipolar, anxiety disorders, etc. The fibro brain fog messes with things too, but the spectrum stuff . . . I have to have compassion for someone who was doing the best she could with what she knew.
I was brave to put what I did out there. I've taken some of it down that I'm not comfortable with having out there, but I've left up the things, some of them might have some use for people, and I left up much of the things that touched on therapy with him, and some adjacent things, and a few other life things.
I'd taken this blog down some years ago, so I republished it recently and went through, culling. I apologize if it blasted anyone's feeds, but I don't even know if feed readers exist anymore.
I am not sure how long I will leave the blog up. I know I need it for awhile, though I can always access the drafts of things.
I am taking things one day at a time, and on the days the grief and/or depression get bad, one minute at a time if I have to.
Thank you so much for being you, and sharing your kindness, wisdom, and everything else that you thought would add to therapy, with me. Thank you for what you did for me, somehow requested of her, when you were first diagnosed and possibly dying, and not able to communicate. You still somehow did, and that has had an impact on me that I struggle to describe. Thank you for believing in me, having patience with me, seeing me, hearing me, loving me, listening, helping, being there with me through all the ups and downs and surgeries and diagnoses that kept piling on . .. .thank you for your determination, honesty, integrity . . thank you for the stories, for the faith and hope and belief. Thank you for seeing who I could be, and reflecting that in how you treated me, even though it took me so very long to be able to take that in. Thank you for doing it anyway, even during times when you may have wondered if I'd ever trust you or make progress.
Thank you for being you, and for your bravery in giving your light to those who needed it, to anyonee who could benefit.
I don't even know how to . ... cope with that loss. The loss of you. It feels too big. I guess that's why I'm doing it in steps . . .
I love you. I trust you. It took much longer for that latter. Thank you for being safe, and giving me safety of a kind I couldn't imagine, which is probably one reason it took me so long. Thank you for being a sanctuary. Thank you for holding a faith and belief in me, even when I kept falling down.
You are a safe man. That's not something I ever thought I could say. Or feel.
Thank you for being an example of kindness that kindles the flames of the kindness inside me that much higher. I want to learn to be brave enough to let that out more.
Therapy with you was like flying with an eagle. Thank you for the gift of you.
I will try to remember our work, what I learned, and try to continue to learn from what you showed me.