This week I lost a client to a drug overdose. He was 24. He had not been with our program for long but our connection was instant. I have experienced the passing of multiple clients during my time in this field, but this particular loss has impacted me differently. My rapport with this client was maternal in nature and I am feeling his loss deeply. This was a kid who had made some bad choices in his life, but he was trying. And I had a lot of hope his life could be different.
I spent the morning yesterday with his family, and it was one of the most painful experiences I have ever had as a counsellor. It was clear there are years of wounds that will make this family’s grief journey complicated. My heart is with them.
I am trying to process the significant transference feelings I am having about this experience related to my own thoughts around becoming a parent. Often, I focus my yearning around the immense joy and fulfilment that will come from building our family. This week reminds me of the insurmountable vulnerability and responsibility one takes on in parenthood. It rather seems like having a piece of your heart exist outside your body. I am stuck by how little control a parent can sometimes have over their child despite their overwhelming hope for that child to have the best life possible.
My client is any parent’s child. He could be my child.
When we are gifted with the opportunity of parenthood, I am reminded that with limitless joy will come multiple sorrows. But what I can control is me and the way that I love, honour, and encourage as a parent.
May the heavens wrap you in the love and light you so desperately wanted to feel on this earth. Sending comfort and peace to your precious family. Wishing all parents hug their children a little tighter today.