Things We Will Never Do

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We will probably never stand in the sun together outside. Or the snow. We will talk about the clouds, you will tell me about the stars, but we will probably never stand together underneath the beauty that means so much to us, but separately. 

We will never send birthday cards. I probably won’t ever know when your birthday is – even knowing the month feels like I’ve intruded too far, sometimes.

We will never eat together. I have no idea what food you hate, what you love, what you choose when everything in life feels shit and you just need something comforting and easy. 

I will never call you mum. 

Our families will never meet. You might meet my children, cradle them when they are tiny and young enough not to understand what therapy is… but shortly after, I guess they will have to pull away from you too. 

You won’t come to my wedding. We are going to talk on the day but in some ways that makes you a ghost. Present but not really. Knowing you won’t give me a cuddle or a card on the day is heartbreaking.

You will never say “I love you” freely and easily to me. 

We will never watch crappy tv together. 

I will never see you in non-work clothes. 

You will never talk about me to anyone who isn’t another professional. I will always be one of your secrets. 

I will never know how to describe you to someone I meet for the first time. The word I want for you doesn’t exist. You will never need to describe me at all. 

I will not be able to grieve you when you are gone. I won’t know where to take flowers. I may not even be told. I may find out by googling. If I die, you will only find out if someone remembers to tell you. 

I won’t always know if you’re even in the country. I will always worry when I read of atrocities in the news because I will never be sure you aren’t there. 

You will never visit my home. I will never go further than your therapy room. 

You will never come to save me. Broken down car, stranded after the last tube, really poorly or just having a horrendous day… you will never drop everything and come get me, scoop me up and make it okay. 

I won’t ever know if you’re not okay, unless you are SO not okay that you cannot work. Your heart will break and your week will be shitty and you will always tell me that you are okay when I ask.  

We will never walk by the sea together. The waves connect my soul to you but we won’t ever stand watching them together.

I will never fall asleep knowing you’re close by. Even though sometimes all I want to do for my hour session is sleep listening to your heartbeat. 

You will never love me anywhere close to how much I love you. I will never be as important to you as you are to me. I will be forgotten when you are unforgettable. 

We are not permanent. We are both borrowing each other. The permanence my heart yearns for will never be. 

That is the worst of all. x 

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22 responses »

  1. Heartbreaking. Every word of this just hit me in this way….you’ve written the things I can’t even bring myself to speak about. Sending you hugs, support, understanding. Xx

    • Hey you. I’ve just written this below for someone else about sharing it. Sums it up really. What do you think? X

      Not sure about sharing it. I worry (even though I know T would NEVER be so blunt with me) that it’s a bit… well, yeah, and? This is therapy. Of course we can’t send cards etc……. I know she’d be beautiful about it because she’s beautiful with everything but I’m really coming up against this wall within myself, the feeling that I’ve been stupid enough to want this to be more and now I’ve reached the boundary wall and im just going to have to accept it. It’s not like she can say, oh yes I can see how much you’re hurting so of course you can come sleep here and I will tell you I love you before you fall asleep……… although that would be amazing! So if she’s not going to respond by changing these things (which she isn’t, of course) then maybe I don’t want to hear her answer. No matter how warm it is it is always going to be cold… if that makes sense.

      • Maybe the wall is the grief you’re yet to face. About your mother not being what you needed. Because all these things you want from your therapist are things Mothers should do. I know what I’m saying is totally obvious and that you know all this. But it just struck me as I read it, that those things are a Mother’s job and you’re really feeling the space not having that has created. I understand not wanting to show her this, not wanting the reality thrown over you like a bucket of ice, no matter how nicely it’s thrown. Some of the things, maybe she can do with you though? Sending you a card or walking outside with you for a session? That might not be out the realms of possibility. Maybe the little you just needs some reparative experiences… like real “doing things” experiences, outside of the office. We’ve never got around to it, but Sienna always says about us going to the each or doing something twice a year. And if she’s willing to do it, maybe yours is too cos they sound similar in the way they think about things.
        Anyway, I hope this pain becomes a bit easier to hold. x

      • Thank you. You’re right. I know I’m scared of the inevitable rejection, and showing myself as being so needy is awful. I think some of them might be possible but how am I ever meant to be brave enough to ask? They are things that feel like they should be offered and not asked for, which of course she isn’t going to offer because she’s my therapist and I’m a nobody. Sooooo hard, this therapy stuff.

        I have sent it to her. Not sure why really. I think because reading this back this morning made me realise how deeply sad whichever part of me is holding all this grief is… this is the work for therapy at the moment, this part who feels the loss so deeply.

      • Your not a nobody. And definitely not a nobody to her. She loves you. I’m glad you sent it to her. I think this is the work, you’re right. I hope she can accommodate some of it and help you grieve the rest.

  2. As always you write so beautifully and so honestly. Even if it is a bit close to home. The pain that is the therapeutic relationship is perhaps the worst kind of pain ever. A relationship so important on one side. I am sure your T loves you though as I’m sure my T loves me. Sending you love,light and a hug if it helps. Is this something you will share with your T?

    • Not sure about sharing it. I worry (even though I know T would NEVER be so blunt with me) that it’s a bit… well, yeah, and? This is therapy. Of course we can’t send cards etc……. I know she’d be beautiful about it because she’s beautiful with everything but I’m really coming up against this wall within myself, the feeling that I’ve been stupid enough to want this to be more and now I’ve reached the boundary wall and im just going to have to accept it. It’s not like she can say, oh yes I can see how much you’re hurting so of course you can come sleep here and I will tell you I love you before you fall asleep……… although that would be amazing! So if she’s not going to respond by changing these things (which she isn’t, of course) then maybe I don’t want to hear her answer. No matter how warm it is it is always going to be cold… if that makes sense. Thank you for commenting xxz

  3. The restrictions on the therapy relationship can bring up so much sadness.

    There is one line that I would question, though, “I will be forgotten and you will be unforgettable.” I suspect that she will always remember you (barring some medical issue that affects memory). When a therapist has as intense of a relationship as you two have had, the therapist remembers the client long after they have left. I recently had proof of that. I fairly recently contacted a therapist that I saw for 3 1/2 years almost 20 years ago. She immediately remembered me and was glad that I had contacted her because she had thought of me frequently over the years and wanted to say something to me.

    This is someone who specialized is trauma clients, so I would have thought that everyone would run together after 35 years of being in practice, but I guess that the ones that she really connected with stayed clear in her mind.

    And I’m as certain as I can be from what you have written about her that your therapist has strongly connected with you. She has invested herself in you in a way that most therapy relationships don’t require. And you have invested yourself in the relationship in a way that most clients don’t, because that don’t have to dive in that deeply.

    Yes, it is worth mourning all of those simple relationship joys that you yearn to share with her. But I strongly believe that she also values your relationship and she finds you unforgettable.

    • Thank you. That’s really kind and very reassuring. I think deep down somewhere I know that she’s immensely committed to this and there is no way that I could just leave and she’d forget about me instantly… But that feeling is linked into all the other feelings of inadequacy and irrelevancy. Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment x

      • I see that you sent this to her, which was an incredibly brave thing to do. I personally took it one piece at a time with my therapist. A few months ago I realized that I hated the thought of never being able to say more than the occasional passing word to her after she retires (we live in a small town, so we bump into each other on occasion). She is in her mid 60s and while she has assured me that she will see me for as long as she sees any client, it’s still looming. While it was a scary conversation, it also was one that in the end left me feeling more settled and sure of my place in her heart. I feel more secure simply because I risked sharing that vulnerability and need in an honest way and she responded with love and sensitivity, rather than rejecting me because I wanted and needed more than was convenient/ easy for her.

        I suspect that many of us who had mothers who weren’t able to respond to our needs tend to tie ourselves up in pretzels in an attempt to be “easy” and “acceptable”.

      • Thank you. Either brave or stupid! We have already had the ‘what happens when she retires’ question (my T is further away from that than yours) and I also felt relieved that she would consider what I needed and wouldn’t just dump me.

        Annoyingly it also opened up a million more questions! What if she dies, I won’t find out etc….

        And that’s the thing. I know it’s not really about watching the sea or sending cards or saying I love you. She could do all of these things and although I would be filled with so much love and I know it would feel amazing… but I know that part of me would need to be even closer, have even more of her.

        I would want to be easy and acceptable but I know I am the exact opposite.

  4. How beautifully you’ve expressed the depths and limits of the therapy relationship. It’s only today, when she called 911 on me after the I-didn’t-answer-her-text mishap, that I just thought, fuck all the nuances. I went ahead and told her I love her. It’s just true. It’s different than other loves in I have in my life, but it’s love.

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