Good morning. I'm typing very quickly because I'd like to put up a blog post before the power company de-electrifies me for the day. This is the 5th attempt to take down our dying old oak tree, and it looks like it may actually happen today.
And there went the power..... 12 hours later, the power is back and now my house looks naked without it's oak tree. Not a person-- and it wasn't safe to leave it up any longer-- but I am feeling a bit of grief for both the tree and the shade and the way my house looked when I woke up today.
That said, I wanted to share an article with you that I read in the NYTimes Opinionator. Grieving my Patient's Friend is a heartwarming piece by Galit Atlas who is a therapist who comes to feel attached to his patient's friend, and then learns she is dying. I loved this piece because I identified with it so strongly -- I've listened to the stories of other people, imagined what they were like, and gone through their traumas, celebrations and, like the author, even their deaths. Oddly enough, I sometimes hear about the same people and their stories from several patients, or learn the fate of a friend or family member of one patient years later from another patient.
So Altas writes:
It isn’t unusual for therapists to feel that they know intimately their patients’ friends, lovers and family. In some ways, we get attached to these people, their stories, their successes and struggles. We accompany them at once closely and from far away, as if they are favorite characters in a beloved book.
She tells the story of her patient, Naomi, and of Naomi's dying friend Isabella.
Naomi had looked at me and then added, “Can you believe it really happened? I lost Isabella. She will never come back.”
It's a poignant piece so I hope you enjoy it.Oddly, I felt that I had lost something as well. But mine was an unusual, unrecognized loss. I grieved for a woman I had never really known, and no one could see or acknowledge my pain. I was alone with it.