Sunday, May 23, 2010

Circle of Life

Life has a way of reminding you that it is a circle, not unlike water flowing up and down a fountain. It may trickle a bit, it may seem like it will actually stop flowing occasionally, and then it will start back up like a flood. But it keeps going and changing.

Today, our family went to the wedding of one of my husband's younger cousins, a darling girl named Kazia. Her new husband, Sharon (pronounced "Sha-row-n"), is clearly besotted with her and it was like watching electricity form between close-moving clouds whenever they were near each other. The love and the magic were palpable.

Between the wedding and the evening reception, we had a few hours to relax, so we went home. As we gathered our things and hustled the kids to get ready for the next event, my cell phone rang.

The voice said, Hello Erin, you don't know me, but I have some sad news to tell you. Do you have a moment?

The news was short: yesterday, my therapist had a heart attack and passed away. I thanked the caller and we ended the conversation quickly, me saying something about how I knew she'd been on vacation and that I was glad she had been somewhere she loved, blah blah.

You are in shock, I'm sure, the caller said. If you need some help processing this information, please don't hesitate to call me.

But I don't want to call her. I want Nancy, who has been my counselor/shaman/Buddhist teacher/Dalai Lama/surrogate mama/champion/no-bullshitter/holder of all my secrets and monsters/intellectual Gandhi for more than 12 years. When I started seeing Nancy, my mother had been hospitalized for schizophrenia; I felt broken, even though I had just met my husband and had so much going for me in other areas of my life. In the ensuing years, I had been in therapy on and off, learning from childhood hurts and reinventing myself as a strong, confident woman, wife and mother. Truth be told, even though I still got a lot out of my bi-weekly conversations with Nancy, I knew that our time together was coming to an end because her insight had led me to such a good place in my life. But I never imagined that she wouldn't be there, if I needed her.

And life goes on. Flowing up and then down again, a marriage here and a death there. The trick, I suppose, is to keep flowing as long as you can, acknowledging the reality that all of us must stop flowing one day.


  1. Thank you for always sharing the personal moments in your life, Erin - whether happy or sad. I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear it! I haven't seen my therapist in a few years (like you, she helped so much that I've been flying solo), but I would be devastated if I received such a phone call. And, no, I wouldn't be looking for a replacement any time soon.