The last few weeks have been filled with many goodbyes, both with my clients and their families, and with my coworkers.
Goodbyes really suck.
Remember that Friends episode where Chandler goes on a couple of dates with Rachel’s boss who he’s just not into, but whenever he goes to break it off completely, he just can’t tell her bye? How he is constantly compelled to add, “I’ll call you soon!” Or “See you later!”?
Yah. Well, that’s me. Or at least I feel that pull. With clients, that is, who I will probably never see ever again in my life.
Which is weird.
Some clients were easier to say goodbye to. The ones who I just started with, the ones who recently transferred to me from their previous therapist, and let’s be honest, the ones who are unmotivated and have learned to abuse and milk the system for all it’s worth.
But then there were the clients who were my very first out of graduate school. The ones who have been with me from the very beginning. The ones who have opened up their homes to me, where even though it’s still therapy, somehow feels more personal. The ones who I have wrestled with and fought for, when no one else would fight for them, sometimes not even their parents, sometimes not even themselves. The ones who were written off as future sociopaths, who just needed someone to believe in them and have hope for them. The ones who I have had to entrust to God when I had no idea what to do, what to say, or where to go with them. The ones who I have had to entrust to God when I was scared as hell that they would take their lives or another’s over the weekend. The ones who have trusted me, though they didn’t have to, and grown tremendously, as I myself have grown in tremendous ways, clinically, but more importantly, personally.
As hard and heart-wrenching as some days are, those are the clients that are dear to my heart. And those are the goodbyes that have sucked the most.
Perhaps I feel protective over them, with all that we have endured. Or perhaps, I’m afraid that no one else will hope for these clients, care for them, or advocate for them. Whatever the reason may be, it just feels weird to endure so much just to shake their hand at the end and say, “Good luck in life.” My only peace and comfort comes from knowing that God cares for these children so much more than I do, and that He can continue the work of healing in their lives long after I’m gone.
My coworkers on the other hand! What a fun-loving family!
I’ve been so blessed to have amazing and amazingly normal coworkers, people who I wouldn’t think twice about hanging out with outside of work. I’ve heard horror stories of coworkers from hell, or just coworkers that are weird. What a huge blessing that I can call my coworkers friends.
But you know, there’s sadness in those goodbyes as well.
As always, my biggest regret has been not laying down more relational roots in my time at my clinic. Whether it was being paralyzed by my PWP syndrome and assuming they didn’t really want to be friends with me (which is probably most of it), or knowing that I would only be there for a year, it just really stinks that it takes me leaving to realize how much my coworkers cared about me and valued our friendship. I have been so spoiled in the past few weeks by so many farewell celebrations that I’m actually really sad to say goodbye and start all over again somewhere else, especially knowing my propensity to suck at keeping in touch.
But you know, I can choose to not suck at keeping in touch.
Yeah. I think I’ll do that.
It’s been an emotional couple of weeks.
I know this is the path God has called me to. And I know that learning the value of a friendship that can be formed in only 9 months will impact the way I approach friendships in my new clinic, even with popular white people.
But it doesn’t make the goodbyes suck any less.
Thanks for letting me vent.