March 2019: Sláinte!
Friday’s session with my trauma therapist ended on a bittersweet note. It was a celebration of not only my therapy journey but also the role he played. I could not have gotten this far without his gentle guidance. In return, he felt honoured to join me on my journey and to bear witness to my recovery and growth. As a therapist, I have also been privileged to bear witness to my clients’ success and be the recipient of their deep appreciation.
These conversations usually mark a transition from an ending to a beginning: the ending of counselling therapy overlapping with the beginning of the next phase of a person’s courageous journey of self-discovery and growth. What made Friday’s conversation different was the likelihood of a final good-bye.
You see, my therapist has been fighting cancer for a while now. And what seemed like effective treatment has taken a turn for the worse. Hence the bittersweet moment: a celebration of my success and the therapeutic alliance we formed coupled with a permanent ending—not just the usual “ext interview.”
Part of the ending process for therapy includes the reassurance that they can always re-access therapy if/when needed. I am glad that I am doing really well compared to when my therapy journey started and was steering toward the “exit” process anyway. Simply put, it is always hard to say such a weighted good-bye with the hint of finality—especially to someone who has had such a significant impact on your life.
In an interesting cosmic twist, my therapist’s legacy will endure in my counselling room as I continue to pass on to my clients what I learned under his guidance: to manage my anxiety, to dive deep, to come up for air, and to not only persevere but thrive. His influence has been present in many a session already. Now it will be with more poignancy.
As a trusted friend said to me, at least you had a chance to say good-bye. Which is very true, and for that I am extremely grateful. How many times to we say a final good-bye without knowing it? How often do we wish we could have said good-bye, but didn’t have the option or opportunity?
So in an effort to honour the legacy and the final journey we all must make, transitioning from this life to the next, may the words of this Irish blessing go with him.
May you see God’s light on the path ahead
when the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
even in your hour of sorrow,
the gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.
I also wish you all a Happy St Patrick’s Day this weekend. May you wholeheartedly celebrate the love of life, family, and friends! Sláinte!
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers—
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours—
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!