Monday, November 15, 2004

Someone Else's Therapy

The corner deli was crowded today, so when my cheese quesadilla came up, I still didn't have a place to sit. There were two women sitting (lingering) at a table for four in the front window, so I asked if I could perch on one of the empty seats. "I'm not rushing you, I'd just like to sit in one of these empty chairs," I said.

They took me at my word and continued to linger and chat. I now know all about their teenaged/20something children and their emotional problems. Lady # 1 apparently lost her husband about 5 years ago, and her two sons have dealt with it in very different ways. One stayed with his father and held his hand until he drew his last breath. The other said his goodbyes and went out with his cousins. Not right or wrong, just different. But the older one now seems to still have lingering issues with Dad's death. Mom has offered to pay for therapy (whatever his insurance won't cover) but he never seems to find the time for it.

Lady # 2 talked about her daughter. Always an over achiever (like her Mom) she seemed to be doing so well when she went off to college. But it all came crashing down the second semester of her sophomore year. She joined a Jewish sorority and so many of the other girls were just "so" and even though her daughter was always pretty and popular, she felt the need to be even more "so." And it culminated over the course of four days. Each day a more disturbing phone call from college. By the third day Mom and Dad had set up a counseling appointment for their daughter, but before the day finished out, they looked at each other and knew that one of them had to go there. She took a medical leave and seemed, on the surface, to be dealing well - getting a part-time job, signing up for summer school. Still, she wasn't dealing with whatever issues were bothering her.

These women were talking like being in therapy was simply a natural course of events in their lives. Maybe it is. Maybe it should be. I like Scooterdeb's version of therapy better - "at least you listen for free and you don't interrupt."

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