To My Therapist (Who Left Earth, and Me)

You told me once that I was extremely articulate and great at describing the way I feel, but I’m not sure that compliment applies now. The grief I have is all-encompassing. I can’t stop thinking about what has happened. Perhaps more importantly, I cannot stop thinking about all of the time we have shared talking.

I suppose the easiest truth is that the loss of you has hit me hard. I feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to my knees and beaten me until I cannot walk. My legs feel bruised, broken, and bloodied. Each day and moment feels as if I am attacked again, and again, and even when I scream at it to stop, the grief continues to hit.

Again.

Again.

Again.

Harder.

Again.

My kneecaps feel bruised, my shins feel broken, my feet feel numb. Moving feels impossible, and in this dark space where grief attacks, I am held down to the ground and water begins to rise. I call out for you, thinking it is all some kind of sick dream, but you do not come.

You are gone.

I am alone.

I. Am. Drowning.

My grief is overwhelming, but I want to make clear that I do not mourn the job you did, the service you provided, or the exchange of knowledge for cost. I mourn the person that I knew. I mourn the human being I felt understood by. I mourn the woman that assured me of my worth, the one that I laughed with so often, the person in front of me with glasses on her face, a cat crawling across the keyboard of her computer, the one with a home, a wife, and a story of her own.

I mourn the woman that attempted to convince me and my declining mental health that not everyone is out to abandon me. The one that took on what seemed like a pointless and impossible fight to tell the voice in my head that I was worth something, that I was valuable, that I should be here, should live, should stay.

I don’t know if I should laugh or vomit at the pit in my stomach and the whisper in my head that I have stayed, I have lived, and you have not.

That being said, you are not someone that ever abandoned me. I am no novice at the experience of being left, but with you, even now, abandoned is something that feels so foreign. Simply, it does not fit, because it is not true. I do not feel left behind, dropped, or forgotten.

Perhaps someone in my situation would be upset or even angry with you. Perhaps they would feel you have left them here, alone, by themselves, trying to sort through things. Someone in your line of work is well aware that people are complex, and most of the ones you interact with have ninety-nine things to deal with, and it would be fair to say that your death has made that number an even one hundred.

While I would describe my grief over the loss of you as something most definitely under the category of Traumatic, and while I am angry and I am upset and I am near-inconsolable even months later, I feel none of those things in your direction. I simply feel them at the world, the circumstances, the situation.

At the risk of sounding like a petulant child that has lost their favorite toy, everything just feels so unfair.

I keep replaying our conversations over and over in my head like a CD that is skipping. I hear you telling me I crack you up, saying, “what the f*ck,” in response to a story I have told, or assuring me that I should stay on the earth because I am worth something. I hear you laughing at the blasé and joking way I have described my darkest thoughts, telling me my facial expressions are your favorite part of my storytelling, or assuring me that you cannot imagine that I have yet or will ever live my life without anyone loving me.

The loss of that, the reminder that they are now just memories and will stay that way, fills me with anger and overwhelms me with sadness. I sit on this information I have about you that I don’t have a spot for. It is true that we were together for me to talk and you to listen, but it is impossible to tell your most vulnerable thoughts to someone if they do not share a single thing in return. Admittedly, it is one of the things I loved most about our time together. Therapy that I needed so desperately and so often mostly felt like a few hours a week just spent talking to you. It felt friendly, even though we were, of course, not friends.

I often think of the things you shared with me during our time together. I think about your personal assurances that while yes, my life could be “different,” different does not always mean better. I think about your willingness to answer any question I had about you, and I think of the fact that you created a space in which I felt comfortable to ask them in the first place.

Selfishly, I think about your constant support of me. I think about how I trusted you and while not my first time in therapy, I got to a place with you I have never gotten with anyone else. I think about the way you looked at me and sat with me virtually for over six hours in August when I was sure I would be better off dead. I think about your willingness to tell me that you would come, you would help me to the emergency room yourself, you would sit with me while I waited.

I believed you would have. I still do.

As the saying goes, to know you is to love you, and that means to lose you is painful.

It has been months, and yet I still have the impulse to send you a text message, tell you about something that has happened to me, or ask you a question I have. The grief I feel is overwhelming, and I cannot imagine that with which your family and friends must be feeling. While it is fair to say that I fall into this weird category where I am not a stranger, but not family or a friend, the loss of you feels so great. It feels suffocating. It feels all-encompassing. It feels like too much.

Sometimes I feel perhaps I am overreacting, that my grief is misplaced, that I do not have a right to feel the pain in which I do.

These thoughts are immediately followed by hearing your voice in my head telling me to stop invalidating my own feelings, telling me that I have value and worth, and even though sometimes I believe it, I am not actually the worst. I hear you telling me how I perceive the world in a unique and different way, but that does not mean it is a weakness. I hear myself saying, “I’m about to therapize myself again,” and you laughing good-heartedly and telling me once again that I am intuitive.

I remember parts of our time together—so many, all at once, that they cannot possibly fit here—and I no longer have space in my heart to feel that my feelings are not valid because I only have space for the pain.

I have put-off this post for weeks. I have written it over and over, never feeling it was good enough, and feeling as though if I wrote it, I would have to truly say goodbye.

You asked me if I was okay once, and I asked if you wanted the real answer. You responded, “No, please, lie to your therapist.” That was funny, but this is not.

The truth is that I miss you.

The truth is that I don’t know what I’m going to do.

The truth is that this loss feels so great, too great, and I feel a lack of ending or closure.

The truth is that I don’t want one.

The truth is that an ending means goodbye, and I can think of few things I’ve ever wanted less.

While it has ended much too early, you must know that there is something about our time together that has changed and shaped my life in a way that I cannot accurately articulate, and while I don’t know how I will ever move on with another therapist, I do know that for the rest of my life, the part of my story that includes you will continue to radiate out of me in ways that will forever change how I perceive the world, do things, make choices, support and care about others, and live. It will move me in all aspects of life and continue to reside within me some place where the people and experiences that matter enough alter your very being.

You once asked me if things were going okay in therapy between the two of us. I said yes, if they weren’t you would know. You chuckled—both of us knowing how blunt I am—and agreed. I’ll tell you the truth yet again: yes. Things with us are fine.

When I was once particularly struggling, you asked me if I wanted to be referred to someone else. I laughed and told you that I would talk to someone else only if they were this, that, that, and essentially you. I still feel that way. I don’t want to talk to anyone but you, yet I am in a situation where I must. 

The thought of speaking to someone new at this point turns my stomach, and I know I am not ready. However, when I am, I know that you’d want me to stand up for myself. You’d want me to see my worth. You’d want me to fight the demons I live with. You’d want me to move forward and see someone else, to trust them, tell them my story, allow them to help me.

That’s what I will try to do.

However, you must know that the grief that I feel I will feel for forever—because as we once agreed, grief is the absolute worst emotion to ever exist—and as cliché as it may sound, you saved my life.

You changed my life.

That change does not stop now that we are in two different places. 

I am so glad and feel so blessed to have had you in such a dark time—the darkest of my life—and there is nothing that will ever change that feeling. If I had to have such a short amount of time of knowing you, I suppose that’s how the ball bounces and the cookie crumbles, so they say.

I can accept reality, validate my feelings, allow myself to cry, and eventually move forward and speak to someone else, but know that I will continue to think that this is absolute straight bullshit and it is not fair. It is not fair to you, to your family, to me, to those that have known and loved you.

I suppose, in summary, Georgia, thank you for everything you have done for me, for what you will continue to do for me as time goes on, and for allowing me to be a part—no matter how small—of your story. Thank you so much for being a part of mine.

(Be assured, this is not a goodbye, because gross! Besides, I have a lot to tell you later. I hope you’re listening.)

Unfortunately, Georgia’s unexpected death has brought about some financial hardship for her family. If you are in a position where you are able to, please consider donating toward her GoFundMe, which can be found here.

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