Today, one of the first clients to come into my life through this job passed away. It's hard to describe how I feel about this. I heard about it while I was getting on the bus (literally, I came into work and J.'s 1:1 pulled me aside and said "hey, I need to tell you something. Eddie died today." That was followed by a little bit more information, but I got overwhelmed and maybe wasn't quite listening. I then had to get on the bus and just continue working while I tried to process that). When I got to J.'s house I closed myself in his bedroom and called Noah, and even though I was trying to keep it together until I got home I cried for a few minutes after I got off the phone. Then I didn't feel like crying anymore, but I was extremely preoccupied. I would do something like pick up the freezer packs from J.'s lunch box and start carrying them over to the freezer, but would be so lost in thought that I would drop them all on the floor. When I was setting J.'s room up for him to get changed, I put multiple boxes of wipes on the bed even though we only needed one, because I was so out of it that I didn't realize I'd already put the wipes on the bed and just kept getting more boxes. Then I looked down and had no idea where all the wipes had come from. Now I feel all emotioned out and exhausted, and I just want to sit and deal with things and not have to go and do all the stuff I need to do. But I know I will, because I have work tomorrow and clients to take care of and the world doesn't stop for me.
One thing I am so grateful for, though, is that in the year or so that I knew Eddie (I was his pool 1:1 for my first 6 months at my job), I did not waste one moment of our time together. I approached him every day with love and did not spend any time mired in bad feelings or annoyances toward him. Sometimes when someone is lost it is easy to get caught up in feeling guilty about how you spent your time with them, but I have no regrets. Our friendship wasn't perfect, but no matter what I always felt good towards him, and that makes the grieving process easier.
My subconscious/the universe/Eddie did give me a little wink and a nod today, though. During work today, J. asked me if I would read to him from a book. We'd just finished Alice in Wonderland, and I hadn't picked out a new book yet, so I went into his room to find something that looked good. I chose a book I'd heard was good, and was in the middle of the first chapter before I realized the subconscious reference. The book that I'd picked, without thinking about it? The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. :-)
So goodbye, Eddie. It has been an honor to be your friend and to be a part of your life. Loss is hard to deal with, and it may take me a little while to feel 100% okay, but I know that you are no longer in pain and experiencing all the things that held you back when you were alive. Here's to you, sir.
White Shoulders, White Wings