I said that at the beginning of the New Year after my sister-in-law lost her unborn child of 20 weeks. Around that same time my yia yia got sick, and she just died in August. Now, yet another core member of my inner circle has passed on...my shrink of 6 years.
When most people hear the word shrink, they get a nasty smirk on their face, an unintentional judgment of insanity or better yet, weakness. They look at you with pity, disgust, and superiority. My shrink was the antithesis to all that is stereotypical about the Dr./patient relationship. She was never condescending, overanalytical, stuffy, or...shrinky. She was honest, vulnerable, humorous, affectionate, sassy, and real. She was all I could hope to be one day. My Green-Eyed Mexican Shrink was not only mine, but also belonged to 3 other women within my immediate friend circle. We would often get together and ask "What would our GEMS say?" We would laugh and repeat things she had told us, ways she encouraged us, and ultimately how she was the primary catalyst in us realizing our potential as our true selves. I started seeing her in 2001 or 2002 when I was at an extremely low point in my life. I must have been 24 or 25, and I had been married for about 2 years. She and I hit it off immediately. She got my sense of humor, didn't balk at my sarcasm, and taught me to embrace my faults as well as my strengths. She taught me to forgive myself in the face of adversity, and to believe in my dreams...follow my heart.
Ultimately she never judged me for my weakness, yet she taught me how to be stronger.
This year has been one of the worst in my life, but I am coming through it one step at a time. my GEMS moved to California in July for "health reasons" according to her office, but would be back in early August. I called in mid-August when I returned from the east coast after 2 weeks of watching my grandmothers slip away, having my marriage practically dissolve, and dealing with generalized borderline family disorder. I called her office and was told that my GEMS had closed her practice in Washington State and moved to California permanently for health reasons. I was beside myself...could it be cancer? A heart attack? Lupus? I wanted so badly to contact her, to let her know I was thinking about her and I hoped she was ok.
Yesterday I got the call that she. had. committed. suicide. . . . . . .
What? How can a shrink commit suicide? Aren't they supposed to be the ones helping people? Aren't they supposed to be introspective and omnipotent? This sole tragedy tells me otherwise. She left behind a son, about 11 or 12 years old and an ex-husband. I could not for the life of me figure out how she could do that to her family, but my good friend's father who used to share an office with her told me about his friend who eventually ended up taking his life who said that "when you're in that state it's as if you're a fox with your leg caught in a trap and all you can think about it escaping to relieve the pain." When put in those words...I can understand.
I loved her. I will miss her. I will have to dig back into 6 years of therapy and recall all the lessons she taught me...I'm on my own now.
Thank you, Silvia. May your memory be eternal.