The beginning of the end Part 2

(see part 1 here)

On Tuesday 19th May I wrote a text for Anna in my notes that I planned to send that evening during our missed session time. In it I explained, ‘…texting you twice a week feels like a lot but the reality is that I think about talking to you hundreds of times a day and limiting it to just two texts a week is actually really hard. I feel a lot of shame around this longing for you but in my defense, my therapy isn’t finished yet. I still need support…and I miss the sound of your voice and the way you make me feel.’ I never got to finish or send the text because I received a message from Anna at half ten in the morning asking if she could phone me. As soon as I read her text I knew in the pit of my stomach what she was going to say. I almost wanted to ignore the text just to delay the inevitable. I knew that the minute the call started it would be the beginning of the end. And as she was speaking, I didn’t know what to say to her. I could hear in her voice and in the words she was saying that it was breaking her heart just like it was breaking mine.

She sounded ill and tired and emotional. She said, ‘I’m calling you today, Lucy, because as you know I am in a very high risk category and I have to do what is right for my health. So, I’ve made the very difficult decision to stop practicing as a therapist and not work with clients anymore.’ I felt the panic rising and I sat silently listening with tears slowly streaming down my cheeks. I wanted to beg her to change her mind, it didn’t feel real. Doesn’t she know I can’t live without her. That I don’t know how to mother without her mothering me. That I have so many more things I needed to talk to her about and process with her. WITH HER. Instead I just made listening noises, saying, ‘okay…’ quietly… and listened some more.

Anna explained that with things the way they were she wasn’t able to meet clients and it wasn’t fair to keep things going. I wanted to tell her that I would wait as long as it took but something silenced me. I just listened to her. She told me that I am strong and she reminded me of the toolbox I have made, things like mindfulness, meditation, journaling, drawing and that I am now able to ask for help. She said, ‘I will hold you in mind Lucy. I will always remember you. Little things like how we both love talking in analogies, every time I explain something in an analogy it makes me think of you and I smile. And when you’re working with another therapist. If they don’t get the analogies – you’re creative, you’ll find another way to be seen and heard, you’ll find a way with another therapist. You have a voice now. When you started working with me you didn’t have a voice and now you do. I want you to use that voice. Use that voice to get what you need out of the sessions and out of your therapy.’ She said, ‘this is not how I wanted things to end Lucy and I’m so sorry you’re not getting the ending that you wanted. You didn’t get it with Paul and now you’re not getting it with me.’ I couldn’t really speak because I was crying. She said, ‘don’t let this be the end of your process, this is an ending with me but it’s not the end for you – take this to Linda. Don’t just draw a line or put a lid on the box of our work, be honest with how you feel about us ending like this and talk it through with Linda, all of your feelings, don’t just leave it here…’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t be able to do that anyway…’ and I started to cry heavily.

It started to sink in and I felt like the air had been pulled from my lungs. I said, ‘So this is the last time I’ll speak to you and I’m never going to see you again?’ She said, ‘Yes that’s right. I’m closing the practice and won’t be counselling anymore. You will notice my details come off the psychology sites, I’m not going to be working with any clients. I am not rejecting you Lucy, I wish it could be different but there is no other way. I am making a decision for the good of my health.’ She sort of hesitated and there was a break in us talking then she said, ‘Lucy, I never planned any of this. This has been the hardest decision to make and one that I have thought very carefully about, Lucy this is coming from the heart, I am so sorry we are having to end this way… Please know that this is not your fault.’ I told her that I could hear it was hard for her too.

She had this deep gravity in her voice as she said, ‘I want you to listen very carefully… I want you to know that you are not too much Lucy, you are NOT too much and you were never too much. And if you are ever working with a therapist and you start to feel like you’re too much I want you to know that THAT is the work. That’s where the work is. Tell them. Tell the therapist everything that you’re thinking and feeling. Because you are not and you will never be too much, Lucy.’ There was some silence and then she said, ‘You know, because our work is ending, unfortunately that means…’ I interrupted and said through tears, ‘I know. I can’t message you again. I know I can’t message you if you’re no longer my therapist.’ She made agreeing noises. I took a breath and said, ‘I’m going to have so many things I want to say to you… as soon as you go I’m going to think of them all… Anna, I want you to know… (crying) I want you to know that you changed my life Anna, working with you has changed me. I want you to know that… and I’m thankful. So thankful for all your patience and your care. And I’m so sorry that you’re ill and that this has happened and that you’ve had to make this decision. Shit this is so awful.’ I cried a little more here. She told me she was so grateful for my words and she knew how hard this is and that it was hard for her too.

Anna’s voice was cracking. She sounded ill and emotional. She said, ‘If you remember nothing else from this phone call Lucy, I want you to remember that this is not me rejecting you. I am doing this for my health, not because of you. I am so very proud of you Lucy. And I want your child to hear this, I am so so proud of her. She’s done so well through all of this. I’ve watched you grow so much in two and a half years. Working with you… it’s a two way thing, I learned a lot from working with you and I know you can only ever have 100% but you always gave 100 plus percent… you’ve amazed me… it’s been inspirational to watch, you gave your all, every session, week in week out and between sessions.’

She continued, ‘Remember Lucy, be patient. This deep work takes time. I know you want to rush through it sometimes but be patient. It’s like building a house. We built strong foundations together. That doesn’t just disappear, it’s there inside you forever now. And I am always with you. Everything I’ve said and the patience I was able to give you. It doesn’t go away. It’s always with you. And you are with me. I want you to know that you changed my life too Lucy. Working with you changed me. It has been a privilege to work with you and watch you grow. I care deeply about you Lucy and I will never forget you.’

We told each other to take care and that was it. Goodbye. Forever.

And as the call ended, my heart was ripped out. The waves of grief kept punching me in the gut and drowning me all at once. I was just thinking, ‘how do I even get off this bed and walk downstairs to my family… my beloved therapist who I adore and who has been more of a mother to me than my own ever was is now gone forever. The only woman I ever learned to trust… my worst nightmare has come true… I hope she knows that I love her.’

36 thoughts on “The beginning of the end Part 2

  1. LovingSummer

    Oh. My. Life. This is beyond devastating. Lucy. There are no words. I just can’t believe this.

    Will you see this through with Linda do you think? Your therapy hasn’t finished even if you’ve had the baton passed to someone new(ish)? Oh man, I just don’t know what to say ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It has been completely devastating. There aren’t the words. I have been journaling all day today to try to help me process. The past few days have been an ocean of shock and grief. I will post again because more has happened since Tuesday. Thanks for ‘being here’ emotionally. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. LovingSummer

        It is a shock. And a real grief because Anna is such a loss. Lucy I wish I could reverse this for you somehow. I’m so sorry you’re going through this, I wish there was something I could do or say 🤗♥️

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you, I know there’s nothing to say. I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s a very real grief for both me and Anna. Her loss is enormous as her whole life has changed because of her ill health.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. LovingSummer

        It’s lovely that you’ve had each other for that 2½ years but such a tragic loss for both of you. My heart really goes out to you both. I know therapy can’t last forever for any of us but premature endings are particularly cruel.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Sirena

    I’m shocked and utterly heartbroken for both of you. 💔💔💔💔 I’ve been thinking about u every day since you told me. She does know u love her deeply, and she loves you too. I can’t imagine how desperately hard her decision was. I’m so sorry this has happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I know, it’s been my worst nightmare come true… worst nightmare for all of us in attachment therapy I reckon. Thank you. She knows I love her, we have spoken in email since and I know that she loves me. This has truly awful for us both.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m so sorry Lucy. I so wanted this all to blow over and Anna to come back to you. I can feel Anna’s pain as well as yours, and it sounds like the potential inconsistency caused by her physical health was behind that decision.
    I hope that you carry on with therapy because you have changed so much in the year that you have been blogging – but I imagine that your head is all over the place right now. 💔💔

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I am working on the grief with Linda and she is prepared to work with me thank goodness. I have some more to write… it has been utter hell. I also obviously hoped she would come back to me but I knew back in March that it was unlikely I would ever sit with her again. Just heartbreaking for us both.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I replied in the wrong place to your comment… don’t even know if I can delete it… I said, ‘Thanks Eliza, I know. It’s been a few days and I’m in a more manageable stage where I can function a bit without crying constantly. Still keeps hitting me though.’

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh god. I’m so so sorry you’re going though this L. This grief is absolutely without words. I know how hard it is to put on a brave face and be a wife and mother when all you want to do is howl and collapse. I’m so glad you have L to help navigate this with. I wish I could take this away. I know it won’t feel true or helpful right now, but it does get a little easier with time, but she’ll always be in your heart. Sending you so much love x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much RB. It is the worst pain right now. Tue and Wed were unbearable. And yes the hardest part is trying to swallow the gripping howling I feel compelled to fall into so I can be a half decent mother and wife. Today I hid all day in the bedroom journalling with one break as I drove into the middle of nowhere for an hour. I am failing at most things right now but I am committing to keeping myself alive. I know that sounds dramatic but to be honest this is how raw it feels. If I have to stay alive then this is how I’m living right now… bare minimum input. Thank you for your love x

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I get it. Honestly. It’s so so hard. It feels like that black abyss has opened up and you’re free falling down. It’s like all the agony of the motherwound is just ripped wide open. I think it’s especially hard as real life people probably would have no idea why you’re hurting so much. I know my wife struggled to understand why I was crying on the kitchen floor! The pain of losing Em was like losing my dad. It is real bereavement and there’ll be so much grief around this. Your relationship with Anna was special, significant, and meaningful. Working with her allowed you to open up and begin to be your authentic self. It’s massive. But she’s right. That work hadn’t just gone away. You’re not back at square one. You’ve come such a long way. For now though, the main thing is to just keep getting through minute by minute. Commit to life. And snuggle your teddies. It’s the young ones that need that holding more than ever. Huge hugs. X

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes I know you understand this pain on a very deep level and I’m so sorry about that. I was actively suicidal on Tuesday and Wednesday and THANK GOD I had a session with Linda on Wednesday which picked me off the floor. My husband doesn’t really get it. With other people I’ve had to tell them I’ve lost a very close family friend. I told my doctor that my therapist died (I was crying hysterically on the phone needing meds). I tried to tell my husband that it is a bigger loss than if one of my parents died and I have had to avoid everyone else. I haven’t told my friends, I’m still working…. but it has ripped me in two. There really aren’t the words. Thank you for understanding.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I can completely understand telling your doctor and others that you’ve lost someone. It makes sense to try and give them some sense of the gravity of it because otherwise it’s lost on them. I’m so glad you have Linda too. Having already established some sort of relationship is helpful – I was so glad I’d seen Anita before it all blew up with Em. Sending you so much love. Keep writing, drawing, crying, whatever you need to do to let it out xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: The beginning of the end – Finding Lucy King

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  7. slantgirl

    Oh my god, Lucy. You were right to warn me on insta! 🙂 I was sobbing as I read this — I can’t even imagine, this has been my greatest fear for as long as I’ve worked with my T as well. That said, WOW, was her final message to you ever beautiful. I feel so strongly here what I have always thought about your relationship — it was the goodness in you that cultivated the special relationship with Anna. And here is proof of how much you mean to her too! That’s a beautiful ending, even if the fact of an ending is just terrible. I can’t tell you how much I wish there had been a different outcome to all of this, but I am glad she left you with beautiful final words, both on the phone and in response to your letter. Sending you so much love! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you SG, I know, it’s been devastating. But alongside the pain has been such a strong sense of knowing deep inside that she loved me and that she knew I loved her. And that she didn’t want any of this. It’s just heartbreaking but I’m keeping going. And so grateful that I have Linda, who knows Anna. That helps.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so sorry Lucy, there are no words. I’ve been away from WP for weeks now and am shocked to come back and read this, and heartbroken for you. Your relationship with Anna was so beautiful and it will live within you forever. Two years ago to the week K announced she was taking 2019 off for her health and we needed to work towards an ending. I absolutely fell apart so I know something of what you are going through as I thought that would need to be a forever ending too (it was only 5 months later that her plans changed and we were able continue working). I am sending so much love to you. You will survive this (although actually I remember that being the hardest thing – knowing I would survive without K and just not wanting to have to). Hugs xx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, thank you, what insight… it really IS the hardest bit… when people around me say things like ‘oh things are going back to normal soon’ (regarding the lockdown) I want to scream, ‘nothing is normal anymore because she is not with me!’ Thank you for understanding 💕

      Liked by 2 people

      1. At the start of lockdown the few people I told about how hard being away from K was kept telling me I could survive this time apart, it’s strange because that is never in doubt for me, it’s the unbearable pain of having to survive that is so intolerable. I’m not comparing having to move to remote working to what has happened with Anna of course, just that there are so few people who really get this attachment agony. K helped me recently as I said I would rather die than not see her again and she pointed out that for me, because of what happened as a baby, lost attachment and abandonment ARE a bigger deal than death for me. It’s a horrible conclusion to reach but it really soothed me to have it articulated like that and I hope it might offer you some comfort too. Sending you more love and strength and support and I so wish you didn’t have to survive this but I love how open your heart is to all that Anna and you created together even in this time of agonising loss – that’s proof of the work and the strength of your connection right there ❤️

        Liked by 2 people

  9. oh my gosh i’m so glad i logged on and saw this. i am crying for you. how painful, lucy, i am so so sorry. like others have said, this is something i also feel tortured over- the possibility of something like this. i accidentally read your posts out of order so i know you’re seeing linda now. you are so resilient, though i know resilience is only borne of harshness and loss- these are unfortunate prerequisites.
    anyway, this is really sad lucy and i wish i could make you some coffee (this is my go to action of care 🥴) and i wish everyone could divide and absorb some pain to lessen the blow for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you for connecting to my grief but I’m sorry it made you cry. It would make me cry too I think if I read it on someone else’s blog. It’s been truly the hardest thing ever but things are feeling a bit more hopeful which I’m very grateful of. I’d love a cuppa… you inspired me to go grab a coffee right now. And thank you – that last sentence and sentiment is beautiful. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

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