Day 17: 30 letters in 30 days
I like to think that wherever you are, you can see this. See all of us, all the people you helped. I remember your office. Two pictures of cats on the wall, the uncomfortable blue chair, the tiny plastic figurines on your windowsill. Every week, for five years. I can’t begin to thank you enough. C called me last year, to tell me that you had died. I felt like I had no right to be upset, and maybe I don’t. But I’m grieving the idea that I wish you could know that I’m doing okay now, that I’m not that broken girl anymore. Perhaps it is irrelevant, but I just wish that I could go there, wherever you are, and say, thankyou for trying to help me, things were pretty shit then and they still get like that now but I’m here. I’m still alive. And I think that’s more than either of us imagined. I know I didn’t talk much to you, I know you tried so hard. You tried so hard & I fought back just as intensely, sitting staring at the floor, refusing to say a word. Thank you. Thank you, never enough.
I hope you can see things from where you are now. How much as changed. I hope you feel fulfilled to know all the people you helped, and all the people you tried to help, and maybe they didn’t let you, but a lot of them have probably turned out okay too. I hope you can see it all and I hope you are at peace. I think about you often. You were one of the first to see that anything was wrong. I was twelve, and called to your office. I don’t even remember what we talked about – I probably didn’t talk at all. But you knew. All through high school, all the outside therapy and medication and hospitals and doctors, you were always there as the constant. You always called me when I was in hospital. You went to my house and dropped off work to my parents because you knew I was going crazy in hospital having nothing to do. There’s so many things I wish I could say to you, but it all comes back to the same sentiment: thank you.
It still hurts. That someone who only ever tried to help me and my family, who only ever tried to help everyone that she came into contact with is gone from the world. That it was so sad that you came into my life when I was too unhappy to see how much of a beautifully positive and spiritual person you were and to let you help me in that way, especially because there must have been so many like me that you didn’t penetrate. I hope that didn’t trouble you too much. There is nothing that can be underestimated about the amount you impacted upon my life.
I want you to know that I’m doing okay. I don’t say this to be arrogant, I just want you to know. I know you cared, not just because it was your job, but that you genuinely cared. I didn’t realise it back then, but I do now. Everyone I spoke to at the funeral reminded me. Teachers, telling me how much you had genuinely been invested in my health. That you’d always be asking after me, how I was, was I okay in class? Because I wouldn’t talk about what was wrong. But you cared about my life. You cared that I stayed alive.
Thank you again, and again, and again. I’m sure there are people everywhere thinking the same things. People who have shared their hearts with you, confessions, secrets. I never told you mine. Where you are now, you can see. And I hope you never felt like you ‘failed’ me, because you didn’t. You kept me going when the threads of my life were coming apart.
Thank you. From a heart hurt, but healing…not ‘but’. And. From a heart hurt, and healing. It’s a long road, but I hope that I can be like you – that I can have that influence on the lives of children and young people. You were an amazing woman, and I will never forget that.