Goodnight, America, How Are You? — Prologue: Every Journey Starts …

“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here… Every journey starts when some other journey ends” — Closing Time by Semisonic

Last night at 4 am I woke up from a sound sleep to finish the paperwork I owed River Valley Counseling before I got on the train.

I had been working on it before bed, but I fell asleep and lied to myself that I could finish it when I got up. At 4am, my brain did the math, knew it wouldn’t work and woke me up.

Emotions are harsh that early in the morning and you can’t protect yourself from them. As I sat there, I understood why I had procrastinated. — I didn’t want to say ” goodbye” to the place where I had worked for 8 years and the people that I had come to know during the longest job of my career.

Gone would be the complicated lives and the slow progress of people who skewed the statistics for the rest of us. At every mental health clinic that takes State Insurance in America, there are rooms full of people whose problem can’t be described by one sentence. Their problem is never stated in the singular, because there’s always more than one, and the five problems that are expressed often cover a few more underneath them. I like to congratulate these folks for making it safe for the rest of us. If one in 3 women are raped and this one has been raped 5 times, she’s done the statistical work of 15 other woman.

People in a clinic often lose everything when they lose their way. A teenage boy has sex once and gets HIV. He tries to cope by drinking. While drinking he gets a girl pregnant and gives her the illness. DCF gets involved and discover she’s been in a gang for years and ran away because her brother or father molested her. The boy and girl want to keep the baby against DCF’s better wishes and THEN they come to the clinic.

All of the clients I have in agency work at the agency now started off like that and have made progress enough that they really don’t need me anymore . I have spent an hour with these people every week for 3 – 5 years and we are now friends. So
Here I am in the hot house at 4am saying goodbye to my last client –an older woman who has uncovered at least three levels of crap in her life and worked it through and I will miss her.

Grieving sucks the life out of you and this is just a loss, not a death, and I’m exhausted. How people deal with death on a regular basis , I’ll never know.

It occurs to me that this is soul work and it proves that there’ s more to life than what we see. Loss isn’t a cut. It doesn’t leave blood, but we are injured anyway and our body must heal. I can’t imagine the feeling of MAJOR loss like a spouse or a child or a best friend. PETS are difficult enough.

Tomorrow (actually in two hours) I will wake up to a new world — a private practice client and begin a 2 1/2 week train trip with the people that ARE around — my wife and two daughters.

It will take a few days to readjust.


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