I just learned tonight that an amazing woman that I was fortunate enough to have had touch my life passed away on October 30th. She wasn't a family member or even a friend. But she probably, no she definitely, knew more about me that anyone else. And she helped me through the most intense, painful times of my life.
She worked at a place called Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC (LTLC). I was referred to the organization, and specifically this woman, by someone at the BC Cancer Agency after I made a tearful call to their info line wondering where I could get some support one particularly tough afternoon about 3 months after my mom passed away. I called LTLC and left a message. She called me back later that day and offered to meet me right away even though her office was closed already. I ended up meeting her a few days later. It was a tough meeting for me and there were LOTS of tears. She suggested I attend her weekly group meetings for people dealing with loss through death. I went twice and found it way, way too intense. So much grief. So much sadness. I felt like I absorbed it all and was crippled with it by the time I left the sessions. I didn't go back and decided to 'suck it up' and move on. I was strong, I could handle it, right?
Fast forward 3 years later and another huge loss in my life sent me off the deep end and I realized I needed to go through the grief process and deal with the profound loss of my mom. Even after only meeting this woman 3 times 3 years ago I remembered her and decided to call her. She called me back immediately again and I went in to see her the next day. This was the beginning of my weekly sessions with her that went on for a year. Towards the end of that year I only went every 2 weeks. She was amazing. She listened without judgement, was unbelievably calm, funny, compassionate, intelligent and had such a profound effect on me and my life. I honestly feel like in some ways she helped me save my life.
I feel like I've lost a great friend. Even though, as I said, we weren't friends. I feel like a part of me is gone. I feel so much sadness that someone who devoted their life to helping others deal with death and grief and loss has lost their life so early. I hope she died with love around her. I know that she, more than most people, would have met death with wisdom and grace.
I'm so unbelievably fortunate that she touched my life. I'll miss her.