The Day My Therapist Died

On a recent Friday, my husband and I got the news that our therapist had been in a bad car wreck, but she was in stable condition. We assumed she would make it through because she is tough, so we went on with our day. I was out shopping with my mom for my sister’s baby shower when my husband called me. I could hear in his voice that something was wrong, but he told me he wanted to tell me in person. I looked at my mom and said, “Why do people do that?”

So, we rushed through the rest of our shopping, and I headed toward my husband. He was standing in the parking lot outside of the university he attends. I got out of the car, and he looked at me, and I knew. He said, “She died this afternoon.” I lost my footing and was hanging on to him, sobbing into his shoulder. He held me tight until finally I was able to stand again.

You never think about your therapist dying, you know? It was surreal. This was the person I told everything to – my deepest thoughts, feelings, secrets. Someone I was completely transparent with. Someone who knew more about me than anyone else.

We went home that night and ordered pizza, both too upset to cook. One of our friends even came over to keep us company for a while. The grief hit me in waves. Every time I thought about her, I felt like I was punched in the stomach and could not breathe. My therapist was so special to my husband and me. She saw us individually and as a couple, so she knew the ins and outs of our relationships. She had been with us through the best and the worst times. She constantly bragged about us to her partner.

The next week was almost normal except she was gone. My husband and I got into an argument, and I found myself scrubbing dishes in the sink, crying. Who was I going to talk to about this? The only person I knew who would understand was gone. I thought about her every day and still do. The next Saturday was her memorial service. It was short and sweet, just the way she would like. Afterwards, we felt at peace. We had accepted our loss and knew she was not suffering anymore.

I have not found a new therapist yet. She was someone so special and unique. There is no one who could replace her. She was the first therapist I was comfortable with. She was the first therapist I told about my suicide attempt, my bad thoughts and problems with my marriage. She always believed in me. Like I said, you never think of your therapist passing. It is almost as if they are someone who cannot die, if that makes sense. They seem invincible until they are not.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

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