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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Changed

I'm not myself these days. I'm having trouble posting my typical venue, despite some cuteness from the kids over the long weekend. I'll get to that again soon. For now, I couldn't decide whether to acknowledge this in this setting or not. Not acknowledging it felt rather like a lie, while acknowledging it felt a bit like betrayal. However, I can't simply ignore it.

I knew it was quite possible that I would one day lose a client to suicide, given the instability of the persons I serve.

She was a child. A young teenager. Her whole life still ahead of her. She was in constant emotional agony. She was unpredictable. Impulsive. She was smart. She was funny.

I see her face in my mind's eye. Hear her voice, her laughter. I see her smile. I remember her jokes. There's something wrong, under the circumstances, about the fact that I won't be sitting face to face with her again, exploring with her the meaning of her life and how to live it.

Her appointment is still written in my book for next week. I can't bring myself to erase it, even though I know she won't be there. Her life cannot, and should not, simply be erased.

I am not unaffected by my clients' lives, and I don't want to be. I want to grow as a professional and as a person. While my services are focused on providing what my clients need, I don't go away empty handed. I most certainly don't go away unchanged.

The experience I had with this client has changed me as a professional and as a person in ways I do not yet completely know. While I couldn't save her, I will learn from her. I don't say that simply because she would have liked to have heard me say it, but it makes me smile to know that she would have.

I hope you are free now, sweet girl. I hope you are free.

6 comments:

wacquiejacquie said...

Ugh. MGM. What to say to a post like this? I'm so sorry. I've often wondered how you are able to do your job. God bless you for working with troubled teens as you do! Hang in there!

Maternal Mirth said...

Oh, sweetie ... you are a hero in my book and admire you greatly.

Again, (hugs!)

smiles4u said...

Up until now I have never thought about how a persons suicide would affect their therepist, should they have one. I have lost people in this way and it hurts because I wasn't able to stop them...somehow it always left me feeling like, I should have known, or I should have done something more to help and yet on the other hand angry at them.
Thank you for sharing your side of suicide. I am sorry that this has happened and I too, hope that she is now free.

CaraBee said...

Wow. An old friend of mine committed suicide a few weeks ago and I've really been struggling to get my head around it. I know there is nothing I could have done but that doesn't make it any easier. I can't imagine being in your position. This post was a beautiful and touching tribute. Thanks for sharing. Truly.

Ed (zoesdad) said...

My thoughts are with you.

When I was nursing I experineced many disappointing outcomes with the patients I treated. My only solice was in knowing that I had done my level best to provide them the care they so desperately needed. Ultimately, though, their outcome was not up to me.

MGM said...

Thanks for the supportive words. I made it through another 11 hour day that included individual sessions with eight of this girls' peers (she lived in a group home), a therapy group of 11 of the peers, a staffing, a meeting with the state children's division investigator (who will be combing my treatment file--I submitted a photo copy to him of its entirety today), and a couple last minute crisis interventions before I could manage to get out the door tonight to go home and squeeze my own babies on their way to bed. Feeling those little arms around me never felt so good.