A Twist In The Farewell

My therapist is going on a long vacation to Japan.

Two weeks ago in session, she told me she was leaving on Tuesday morning this week. She wasn’t seeing clients on Monday (May 9). She had a meeting with someone she supervises, however, at 9:00 on Monday, and she offered to see me at 10:00 if I wanted. It would shorten the amount of time between our last scheduled session (May 2) and our first one after her return (May 31).

Last Monday, we talked about it again, and we left it open about whether I would come. When I left at the end of last week’s session, I gave her a hug and wished her a good trip, “just in case” we didn’t see each other on May 9.

Then all week I went back and forth about whether to use the extra session E had offered. I came up with lots of reasons not to accept it. I’m pretty calm and centered now, after so much time at home on medical leave. I’ve already made an appointment with C this week, the mind/body therapist I have just recently started working with. I wouldn’t be able to get into anything deep because I wouldn’t want to leave it open for three weeks until we saw each other again. So what would we talk about anyway. And it will be my first day going to work that afternoon, so maybe it’s too tiring to have therapy and go to work a half day. Some of these were real reasons. Some were excuses for pulling away in anticipation of E’s physically going away from me.

Earlier today (Sunday), she sent me this text:

So I’ve still got availability tomorrow morning at 10am. I want to trust that you are well and not “desperate” to come in. However, if you are longing for supportive connection, encouragement and/or devising a clearer plan while I’m away, I’m totally available. And if you are “desperate,” I’m here to catch you, at least for one more day. Read this with warmth and support, not like I’m doubting your capacity. I’m feeling more and more confident in your ability to manage yourself with gentleness and compassion. Just want you to know I’m here if you need me.

I loved this text. I still do. I can feel her willingness to be there for me. It made me realize that all my list of reasons not to accept the extra session were just part of me denying myself the comfort and support I would take from getting to talk with her again before she leaves. So I thanked her and responded that I would see her on Monday at 10am.

It’s okay, I told myself. You don’t have to pretend you don’t want to see her. You often pretend you don’t want anything from anyone, so you won’t be disappointed. But it’s okay to accept this.

A couple of hours later, another text arrived from her:

OMG! I just got an email from Delta to check-in for our fight. We leave tomorrow, not Tuesday! I need to leave for the airport at 10:30 from my house. I could meet with you at 8am, but I definitely can’t do 10am. I’m so sorry. I just goofed due to the time/date difference in traveling to Japan. What would you like to do? I’m fine with meeting at 8am.

Well, surprise, ouch. I should have just said no the first time. I can’t do 8am. I have trouble sleeping at night and get my best sleep between 6 and 9 in the morning. Besides, she is going to be in a crazy rush to leave 24 hours earlier than she meant too, and she won’t be focused on our session, and I’ll feel that. Or at least I’ll be looking at her eyes and her body and scrutinizing her words for evidence that she just wants to be out of there. I know; I’ve done that before.

So I replied:

No, no that’s okay.

She apologized again, and I texted that I’d miss her a lot but wished her a wonderful trip. And she said we’ll talk again when she returns and told me to be well.

Deep breath. May 31 is pretty far away.

twist in the farewell to my therapist - laquemada.org - #therapist #vacation #attachment

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “A Twist In The Farewell

  1. A really perfect text, but a disappointing way to leave things before a long break. Misses like this always hurt more when you’ve deliberately overridden your instincts to pull away, and chosen to connect instead. I usually feel like it’s some undeniable sign from the universe that reaching out will always lead to pain. It sounds like you were able to hold onto warmth and connection with her, though, which will go a long way to making the next 4 weeks pass.

    Have been thinking about your return to work tomorrow, and am hoping your colleagues are warm and welcoming, your email inbox hasn’t exploded and whatever happens during the day, you’re able to leave it at the door when you come home. Failing that, I hope you will have a nice glass of wine and a caring husband waiting for you when you get inside.

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  2. This therapist just is amazing. Her true deep care for your healing and wellness and even trying to see you the day she went out of town must be so validating and comforting.
    I get my best sleep from 8-11 am so I completely understand and putting sleep first is so important and shows you know yourself and what you need to prioritize.

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  3. Ugh. I hate it when things I’m looking forward to get cancelled. I had a similar thing happen to me last week when I was supposed to go in an see S but realized that I was the one who goofed and had double booked the time. I was so disappointed because therapy to me is too important to miss. This is all to say, I feel you on that. It’s so painful. I know you will make it through well though because you’re strong and you’ve put a plan into place. You’ve come such a long way and you’re getting so much better at taking care of yourself! I know you’ll make it through this difficult time! HUGS

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  4. Dear Q: I’m pretty sure there’s a whole bunch of us here who will be reaching out extra extra for you through May. Don’t be shy to ask. Big Hug.TS

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  5. Ouch is right! I would have had a ouchie reaction too. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see her today, Q. And I know you understand her humanness on an adult level, but those little parts sure must have felt abandoned. And that hurts.
    Wishing you such a peaceful 3 weeks I look forward to updates and opportunities to support.

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