A woman whom I credit as being one of my life savers passed away Thursday. At a time in my life when I thought I was drowning in a sea of emotions and teenage angst, "Maggie" tossed me a life preserver. She gave me a safe place to speak my truth, before I even knew I had a truth. But I had a voice. In Maggie's office I was given permission to speak without judgement or condemnation.
Doctor Maggie was a psychiatrist. Since this was the 60's I think she may have been a woman before her time. I really knew nothing about her other than \she was quite tall, and she was unafraid to wear "high" heels. Not quite Sex in the City stilettos, but shoes that put her well over 6 feet, especially if you count the few inches of teased up hair.
At a time when I simply wanted to fit in I was taller than most girls/women I knew. Slouching was a way of trying to shrink myself to a less noticeable height. Stand up straight was a mantra thrown at me by my parents. Perhaps Maggie was placed on my path as an example of how to be a woman of stature, one to look up to. The last time I saw her, in line at the grocery store, she appeared much smaller. Older and retired, there was probably no need for high heels. But her hair was still nicely coiffed and her lipstick still fire engine red.
Since there is not much opportunity to speak privately while groceries pile on top of each other as the conveyor belt moves them toward the cashier. We exchanged pleasantries, smiled at shared memories, then paid for our items and went our separate ways.
I should have told her she made a big difference in my life.
I should have said thank you.
Instead of words, my gratitude will have to take the shape of lessons learned:
Rest in peace, my friend.
Wishing for you a helping hand when you need it,