At seven years old my child walked into her office the way he walks into everything: his eyes full of life, questions, concerns, and the need to connect. She mirrored his soul and an immediate connection, something new and unexpected in his world, was forever set up as his foundation. On the outside she was a behavioral therapist, a retired teacher, a former pastor, and an eternal artist; but on the inside, behind a closed door, she was, for my son, so many words, so many smiles, so many moments of her soul-laughter, that she alone was able to change his path into one of possibility. Not only did she offer him possibility; she gave him the ability to see it for himself.
For so many years she was a support for our family as we struggled through the many issues which go along with mental health, giftedness, and learning disability. She was our advocate in all things and our resting place when exhaustion and frustration set in. Many things changed with out son’s needs; but her place of comfort was our constant.
When she received her cancer diagnosis, she couldn’t stop seeing “her kids”, as she called them. When she lost her hair and my son, as he is wont to do, said in his AS voice, “What happened to your head?!” She did what she always does and she laughed and said, “It is strange isn’t it!? But now I don’t have to worry about bad hair days!” He replied, “Well, that’s just weird,” and she loved him all the more.
When it was clear that her cancer journey was going to be difficult and she moved her office an hour away from us, we made the drive there and back once a week without complaint. And when that became difficult, she continued to help others, even as she was in a place to need her own support system, at her home office.
When she made the decision to stop altogether and spend her energy with her beautiful family, I found myself grateful. Yes, I was grateful that she was finally releasing herself from the connection to supporting others so that she could control her own pain, her own treatment, and live every moment for her own joy. No more whens, I thought, just nows.
There were other therapists along the way and we searched valiantly to find a good fit for our son. He liked some, disliked others; but they would always be an aspect of his treatment, rather than a real connection he would find within his heart and for his future. As parents, her guidance changed us forever and for all of our children. We still use Ms. B-isms and our son has quoted her on more occasions than he is aware. She wove her way into this family so indelibly and inextricably; that despite her absence, she is still very much here.
We kept in touch on social media, she sent gifts to my children of her whimsical and wonderfully gifted artwork, and she left me in awe- I marveled at how she was the most positive and enthusiastic person during what had to be too many years of unimaginable pain. She was truly thankful and happy every single day. That is a sentiment she gave to kids who struggled to feel that in their own lives. That first day when she looked at my son, my sweet son, who was intent on ending his pain at such a young age, of fighting the world by fighting himself, that first day is all that she needed. She alone lifted something off of his soul and forever left in its place a light, her light, her gift, both to our son and to the world; and it is that light, the love she gave “her kids” before she leaves this world, that will shine on for eternity.
Dear readers, appreciate all the joy you have in your children’s lives and be thankful for those people who matter. It does get better, it is already better, and keep it light and laugh often. We will miss you, Miss B!