Anxiety, nervousness, anticipation, fear, worry. Those are the feelings that usually come to mind when we think about the unknown. Our desire to know and piece together what happens next usually drives us to a place of increased anxiety, anticipating the outcome.
As we wait to hear the results of our biopsy, MRI or CT scan we are filled with nervousness and worry. With no understanding of what causes certain illnesses, we can’t even begin to wrap our minds around how to react when our friends and family are diagnosed. As we wait in singleness for the Lord to bring us a spouse our impatience manifests in feelings of anxiousness and sometimes fear that we will be alone forever. The unknown is scary.
But today, I found myself longing desperately for the unknown. In the field I work in, more often than not, we play a temporary role in someone’s life. Sometimes my clients circle back to me but many times that’s not the case. There have been many clients I have worked with over the years who I’ve often thought about, wondering how they were doing. I desire to know if they are still stable, if they’ve stayed on their medication, if they’ve stayed sober, if they’ve stayed out of jail. I want to know they are doing well, but the update never comes. I hope and pray for the best but that’s usually all I can do.
In my mind there are always happy endings because I never actually see or hear about life after I work with them. I get to stay in my happy place, a place full of rainbows and sunshine and healthy people. I know that’s not reality but it works for me, it helps bring brightness to the really ugly world I live in. But today a tornado of darkness trampled in and ruined my rainbow and sunshine filled happy place.
Two weeks ago I transitioned a client after spending 3 months working with him. 3 months of fighting desperately to keep him alive. 3 months of fighting desperately to keep him sober. 3 months of intense conversations trying to provide him with new coping skills to keep him from returning to old habits. 3 months of an intense emotional roller coaster that left me feeling emotionally and physically drained. After 3 months, we transitioned him knowing there was nothing more we could do, we had given him all the tools we could give him and it was up to him to put the tools to use.
Sometimes no amount of new coping skills and tools in the toolbox can help, and today I find myself longing for the unknown, because reality is depressing, ugly, sad and difficult to hear. I learned today that despite my best efforts to keep Chris alive, he reverted back to his old patterns of behavior, resulting in the loss of his life. My heart is breaking and I wish I didn’t know the truth. I want to return to my rainbow and sunshine filled happy place. I want to live my life thinking Chris is somewhere in the world, sober, happy and doing well and I can’t. That’s been forever taken away from me and it makes me so sad to know Chris’ life has come to an end.
My happy place has been torn down and it will never be the same but the memories I have of Chris will be filed away in that happy place because I am still so blessed to have had the chance to work with him.
Chris, I told you how proud I was of you the day you reached 100 days sober and I am still so incredibly proud of you. It hurts my heart to know you felt you needed an escape from your reality and I’m so sorry you couldn’t find the strength to fight this battle any longer. I know this battle was hard for you and I know every day was a struggle. I’m happy you aren’t hurting anymore. I’m happy you aren’t in pain. But I’m sad that you’re gone. You helped me grow in my therapeutic skills. You challenged me to become a better case manager, and you taught me so much. Thank you for helping me understand the ugly side of addiction. Thank you for being raw about your struggle and letting me in to the vulnerable side of you. Thank you for letting me know you. You will be missed.