I've seen stories from music therapists recently about losing people they have worked with, for many years in some cases.
For those music therapists among you who have never lost a client/ patient, it will happen. It happens to all of us...and there is absolutely nothing that can fully prepare you for when it happens to you.
Yes, you can gain intellectual knowledge about the grieving process and loss...you may have helped countless people work through their own grieving process.
It's different when it happens to you.
I was explaining to a patient recently what it's like from a provider standpoint. He was wondering, since he's had several inpatient stays for addiction, if people dread the sight of him being admitted for treatment again.
I told him for some of us, we do hate to see people that we know are struggling, have such a hard time. Sometimes the path of addiction ends in an early grave, and that hurts, as a provider, because we want the best for our clients/ patients. Otherwise, we would be doing something else.
What I didn't share with him, was a bit of solace I found in the lyrics for "Wash it Away" by Nahko and Medicine for the People:
The road will teach you how to love and let go, it can be lonely, but it's the only thing that we've ever known.
All providers, especially music therapists must find the wisdom in these words. We do what we do because we care. Yes, we have to maintain professional boundaries, but music itself fosters intimacy with those we serve. It's an art for expressing emotions...we get attached to our clients/ patients.
Our professional and our life journey, the road, will teach us how to be invested in the highest good for our clients/ patients, and when our paths part ways due to death, we experience our grief process, and gently, with love and light, we let them go.
We let them go and we move on to the next client/ patient who also needs our unique skills to help them along the road of their life.
When a client/ patient leaves you in this manner, draw from your support community and from the experience of others who've walked the path before.
This is how the road teaches us to love and let go.