There’s this funny thing that happens as a counsellor. Often times, you get the privilege of meeting people in their hardest struggles, and helping them through the hard times – but you don’t always get to hear the end of the story. There are times when you leave jobs, or clients leave your care as they leave your place of work. For me, I have had to say goodbye to clients when I left Sheridan College to begin work at the University of Guelph. I have had clients at both institutions who have had to say goodbye to me as they graduated from post-secondary education. In my private practice, sometimes people move on, or time and circumstance drifts appointments apart or ends them. Goodbyes are a normal part of counselling – they are healthy, and important. But I want you to know – I think of you often.
The girl I worked with who brought me back a scarf from overseas. The boy I worked with in theatre who now is off living life large. The girl I helped through an abusive relationship separation. The man who was struggling with meaning and purpose. The people who I worked with for three sessions – the people I worked with for over four or five years. The artists. The poets. The thinkers. The feelers.
The ones who exploded into counselling in trauma and chaos and found their way with gusto and fervour. The ones who quietly and timidly have come through my door, unsure of where this journey would take them. The ones who have had to sit backwards in a chair with me until they could find their words. The ones who talked for an hour straight and could have kept going long into the night. The ones who have played with my fiddle toys as they managed their anxiety through the sessions. The ones who started out unsure, but eventually sent all their friends over to counselling as well.
The thank you cards still sitting in my office, making me smile every day. The check-in emails that warm my heart in my inbox when they arrive weeks, months, or even years after our work together. The ones who I still see on and off, but wonder about in between our sessions. The ones who are in the very crux of their struggle, and are fighting each and every day right now. And of course, the ones for whom I never got to know the end of their story.
Every time I file a client’s folder alphabetically in my cabinet at the end of each day, I flick past the names of people whom I have worked with here in Waterdown. I think of their story. I think of their journey. I think of how grateful I am that we got to share some time together in counselling, however long or short that may have been. And each time, I send a thought into the universe that they are doing well.
And if you are or have been a client and you ever read this, I hope life’s journey has been kind to you. I hope you have found your way, found yourself, and found your meaning. I hope you have learned to challenge yourself, push yourself, trust yourself, and sometimes even to step back from yourself and your thoughts when things get swirly. I hope you have learned to “lean in” (if you’ve done counselling – you know this one!) and to be vulnerable and authentic with those who have earned this place in your lives. I hope you listen to your heart, and step out of the “shoulds” that keep you from embracing your truth. I hope your journey takes you to incredible places, and that you have the love, support, and light in your life to weather the tough times when they come. And they will come. And you can get through those times, too.
I think of you often. Don’t ever forget that you mean something to someone, somewhere, always. You matter – your life matters. Always.