The counselor, Vicky had helped me many years ago when my son was little. We had many huge issues to work through and she was a strong and steady beacon, both directing me and protecting me from the jagged rocks. I was hoping she could do the same for me now.
Somehow I managed to ‘hold on’ for the three days until my scheduled appointment. I arrived at her office a few minutes early. Once I checked in, I was seated in a bright and welcoming waiting area. When Vicky appeared at the doorway, I barely recognized her. In the twenty years that had passed by, Vicky had of course aged. She appeared thin and frail, as if life had taken their toll on her too. But needing any ray of hope she could possibly throw in my direction seemed critical at the moment. I walked two steps behind her down the hall to her office.
From the doorway, it seems like any other counseling office. It seemed like MY counseling office. Comfortably lit.. not to bright not too dim. Comfortable furniture, a long fabric sofa with throw pillows and a quilt. Bookshelves filled with the expected psycho-babble. I have the same books in my own office.
She didn’t mince any words. “It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen you.” “You look terribly sad.”
That of course was the moment the flood gates opened and tears obligingly trickled down my cheeks. She handed me the half empty box of tissues from the coffee table.
She sat across from me in an easy chair with her yellow note pad and pen busily scribbling away. I knew what she was writing.. behavioral observations.. but I didn’t care. I just wanted her to work her miracle. I wanted her to make the pain stop. I wanted to skip to the part where it doesn’t hurt anymore. I didn’t want to do the grief steps. I really couldn’t tolerate one more drop of pain.
Before I spoke a single word, she knew. Quietly, she said, “tell me.”
And I did.
I told her about the park and our first kiss. I told her about the wine and the quilt, and I told her about the eagles.
I told her about my birthday and the stained glass.
Then I told her about Chicago.
When a tear leaked from the corner of her eye.. I knew we were in trouble. This was big pain. BIG.
You see, therapists don’t cry. Not in front of a patient. They can sob like a baby when the session is over. But professionally speaking.. you don’t cry in front of a patient.
Vicky had walked with me through some pretty tough stuff 20 years ago. And we got through it. I couldn’t walk this path alone. It was too hard. And no one seemed to understand. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were falling in love. We were finding our way, individually and together. This wasn’t supposed to happen. But it did.
I told Vicky that I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to let go or hold on. If I was supposed to turn away or to be a loving support for him?
Her answer was: Let it Be.