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To the Teacher Who Reached Past My Abandonment Issues

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You came into my life during a time when I swore to myself I wouldn’t get attached to anyone else. See, I have severe abandonment issues, and several people working with me at my boarding school were moving on with their professional lives and finding new careers, leaving me behind. I had said so many difficult goodbyes, and anticipated saying more to the few remaining people who stuck around. I was grieving the people I had lost, my foundation was shaken and I found myself crying myself to sleep most

Then, your arrival was announced. I thought I could keep my distance. However, you became the one person I needed more than anyone. You played so many roles; you were a mentor to me, my teacher and an older sister figure. You taught me when I needed to learn, you taught me life lessons and you knew exactly how to help me at any given moment. Your presence felt too good to be true. So, true to my character, sometimes I pushed you away with everyone else. For some reason, I always came crawling back quickly. That set you apart. I could find myself frustrated with you, but I got over those feelings abruptly, and just as quickly as I found myself frustrated, our relationship fell back exactly as it was.

You taught me so much. You taught me to let others in. You taught me that sometimes you just know when the time is right. You taught me that one day, I would be able to be OK with myself and my body, and in the meantime, my feelings, whatever they were, were OK. You were there through my many triumphs, and there when rock bottom hit so hard I thought I could never be OK.

Our goodbye was different. I was the one who moved on. I left the school. Our goodbye also wasn’t, and still isn’t, a goodbye — it’s an “I’ll see you later.” For my first six months out of the school, we couldn’t talk. Those six months were the hardest for me. However, even in your direct absence, you still taught me. I learned how to stand on my own two feet. I learned how to help myself. More importantly, I learned I am not as fragile as I seemed.

You are back in my life again. I got to see you back in March. We email each other. I am visiting again in June. I tell you when things go wonderfully, and I tell you when things go terribly wrong. I still miss seeing you every day. Sometimes I do cry because I wish you could be there to see my successes, but I know you are just an email away. I want to thank you for sticking by my side and being so inspirational to me. Thank you for helping me grow into my best self.

The Mighty is asking the following: Write a thank-you letter to someone you never expected you’d thank. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: June 10, 2016
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