Some time ago, no matter how long precisely, I made a visit to a psychotherapist. She was a nice person, with several degrees in various psycho-social disciplines, and a well appointed office done up in soothing colors. During one of our first sessions, she asked me why I thought I needed help.
I told her I had recently lost a job. She nodded, her face a studied mask of empathy and psycho-therapeutic acumen.
I told her I was having great difficulty finding a new job, possibly because I was considered old and over-the-hill (I’m was, at that time, 52 years old) or because, being old, but not at all over-the-hill, I could command the salary of between three and five 20-somethings while doing more and better work than any seven of them. Or because the 20-something MBA wunderkind manager couldn’t handle the dynamics of hiring someone older and more experienced to be subordinate. The therapist nodded, sagely, and with a gravity that well encompassed the gravity of the situation.
She paused for a thoughtful silence, nodding gently and making notes, in pencil, on the sheet in her lap. Is that all, she asked, a model of earnest therapeutic comfort.
No, I answered. During this time, and unexpectedly, my wife’s older sister died, leaving two special-needs children to be cared for.
That’s a lot, the therapist said, again descending into an expectant silence. I didn’t speak for the longest time. Is there more, she asked.
Yes, I answered. During this time, searching for work, and after the sudden death of my sister-in-law, my wife of more than twenty years had become sick. She had, in fact, nearly died herself.
I’m sorry, that must have been difficult, she said, unruffled, without fluster or even so much as millimeter of eyebrow raised.
It was, I said. Then, just as my wife was almost fully back to health she had a heart attack and, again, almost died. They had done all kinds of tests the first time in the hospital and had concluded that she was, cardiovascularly speaking, in excellent health. Then, for no apparent reason, other than, perhaps, the perverse humor of a bored deity, the wall of an artery just collapsed. SCAD: Sudden Coronary Arterial…