Time moves slow, when you’re missing a friend.

I received a phone call yesterday with some terrible news. My therapist, who I had been seeing for the past three years, passed away from lung cancer. I went numb when I received the news over the phone. The relationship between a therapist and their client is an interesting one. As the patient, it is up to you to tell your therapist everything that is going on with you; your present situation, your future hopes and dreams, and how your past has an effect on your mental state and well-being. It can be an emotional experience. Secrets that you would never share with anyone else you are revealing to a complete stranger. And generally speaking, the therapist does not open up to you. They are trained to not view their relationships with their clients as a friendship.

Time moves slow, when you come to the end.

With the passing of my therapist, I felt like I lost a dear friend and confidant. When I first started visiting her I was a wreck: I had recently quit my job, I applied to virtually every film production company around the city with no luck, and I had just lost a young lady who at one point I contemplated spending the rest of my life with. Her voice and the exercises she put me through really alleviated a lot of my anxiety and depression. But now that voice is gone. She had been in and out of the hospital for some time but she never gave off the impression that she was dealing with something fatal.

Time moves slow, when you’re all alone.

I’m a black male who was born and raised in the heart of the South. I grew up in an environment where public discrimination was no longer the law of the land. I have lived in a completely integrated society from kindergarten through college. Along the way, I learned about racism, sexism, classism, and other “isms” that plague our society, but not in a way that is honest and frank about how these ills affect us. I believe a vast majority of grade schools only scratch the surface, but racism and white supremacy have an effect on every aspect of our existence. Our names, the neighborhood we live in, the clothes we wear, the food we eat, the television and movies we watch; they all have a profound effect on how we interpret the world and vice versa. And I have many, many opinions about all of these things that we do not have time to digress into, but that’s where a good therapist comes in: for you to rant and quibble about your troubles so you can get whatever is weighing on your mind out of your head.

Time moves slow, when you’re out on your own.

The first three paragraphs took me approximately thirty minutes to write, but then I had to stop because my eyes started to well up. Death is so final, so abrupt, there’s almost nothing you can do to prepare for the loss of someone close to you. All the wonderful conversations that we had, the laughs, the advice, are now just sounds to the wind. But despite my morbid state of mind right now, I would like to leave you with some advice: if you are going through any level of trauma and stress and feel as though you have no one to talk to, seek out a therapist. I know within the black community there is still some level of stigma around the idea of therapy but leave your premonitions at the door.  Going to church or praying your troubles away may help for some people, but the rest of us who are not religious still need guidance. I will forever be thankful to my therapist, she entered my life at a time when I needed someone the most. I just hope that I was in some capacity a light that brightened her day, even in her final days.