It has only been 4 days since I found out you went to Heaven 5 days ago.
The only time I stop thinking about missing you is when I’m sleeping. You are always in my head, guiding me to make choices good for my soul. I’d needed you less and less to make those choices, but I still needed you. We weren’t done yet. In fact, the last time we were together you looked me in the eyes and sternly but gently told me as much.
We were supposed to meet tomorrow, as usual, and my lungs collapse when I imagine coming home after dropping the kids off at summer camp, instead of coming straight to you. Even when my eating disorder hated you, I almost always showed up, because you taught me to fight hard against it and we did that together for almost three years. The healthy parts of me knew to fight and come to you—I always felt better after being with you. Selfishly, I am hurting because you were a light in my week that I cherished so much.
You invited all parts of me to show up with you. You let them all exist and you took such great care to create safety for me. You worked so hard for me, because, I was working hard, too. Something you expressed the last time we met was that you knew I’d struggle with working too hard when I begin getting my own clients, and I’m so glad I got that last piece of professional advice: you can’t work harder than your clients.
You hugged me when I sobbed in your office, always seated on the ground, offering me the softest brown faux fur blanket, and ordering me to take it with me for the week, tear soaked and all. You answered the phone one day when I left my therapists office in tears, needing continued support. I pulled over and parked my car in a park and we just breathed together. I avoided the panic attack I thought was coming and learned to reach out and lean in to help that’s been offered.
You were willing to quite literally jump out of a plane for me. I’m so sad I will never get to experience that with you.
My body gets hot and shaky when I automatically go to text you, before realizing you won’t be responding. I can no longer picture my professional life as a counselor—I was eagerly looking forward to having you in my corner, especially in the beginning of this new journey that starts in August.
The unrelenting depression that tried to take my life didn’t deter you from fighting for me. You dug in. You surrounded me. You never ever ever gave up.
You cried for me when you knew I was having a life-changing breakthrough, even though I couldn’t see it. And sometimes, you cried with me when something I told you was just too sad to not be in it with me. You always gave me the space I needed, in exactly the way I needed it. You just knew. You knew how to be with me in ways that taught my body how to start loving life again.
And now, I want so bad to show you as you watch from Heaven, that I can do it all without you because you taught me so well. I want to represent you, and give as many people as possible the things you gave me; trust, safety, compassion, connection, relationship, genuine care, and most of all, love. I know it’s only day 4, but K**, gosh I want you to come back and share the good parts with me. Every time I think about doing life without you, I become paralyzed. My brain can’t process it, it’s searching for you still…
This grief is undeniable. It is gut-wrenching and piercing. It feels wrong to keep living, to have moments where I smile, and to fill the time I would have been with you with something else. But I know that that is the last thing you would want. You would want me to let the waves of grief come. To keep reaching out to others who can meet me in my grief. And, you would want me to keep living. To find joy and beauty in the good memories and feel happiness alongside grief.
In the very first e-mail you ever wrote to me you said, “I am your co-pilot… it is going to be okay.” It is going to be okay, because you are in my heart forever.
I love you.