It was the last day in the office except that one patient and then another could not make it today and are coming tomorrow. I try to be calm and supportive but inside I am agitated and find it painful to say goodbye, to firmly end the relationships, at least for now. I have to fight the urge to offer an appointment next week, a final visit when I am no longer here. I have to terminate, say my final goodbye, let go.
The office is spare, some of the plants are at Daphne's house. There are pesky gnats that appear and one of my patients informs me that I need to use a non toxic pesticide, but I don't remember the name. She has been unemployed for a year and I do not have the heart to ask her to pay for her session. She has not paid her mortgage for a year and may lose her house and she is almost the last person I see today, in my practice, in this chapter of my career, my life.
I avoid sending people to collections. Most patients pay their bills regularly. I add up the $6825 of unpaid bills and look at the contract for the collections company and I hesitate to sign. They get 40% of what they collect. It feels hostile to send people to collections. I have one patient who has oodles of money but has not paid his bill. He avoids his appt today and I see his boss, and I want to mention that his employee whom he referred to me has not paid his bill, but that is not ethical and I wait to sign the collections contract. Perhaps tomorrow.
I meet with Rina, who will be taking care of my practice while I am gone, and I am so relieved to have someone who is warm and attentive and competent.
It rains furiously outside my office window after a hot muggy morning and I wonder how Maya is doing at the swimming pool with her friend. It is her last violin lesson today but her teacher is late getting t0 Baltimore from New York and the lesson is a short 20 minutes during which Maya's teacher gets upset because Maya's bowhold has changed in the past two weeks and Maya cries and I realize that it is my fault because I have been lazy and have not practiced regularly with Maya and she has taken on new habits. It is her concert tomorrow and if she is this upset it will not work out and she may not be able to change her bowhold by then. When she plays for my parents on Skype, she is frustrated with her performance and cries again.
Tara is angry because I wake her up at 7 to get me to the office and then she has to drive and pick up Maya to and from her friend's house and then pick me up from work. She complains that she has to drive three hours just for us today and I remind her of all the driving I have done for her in her lifetime and that the point was for her to have a car today to see her therapist. She tells me I have abandoned and neglected her all of her life and when I tell her that she hurts me, she responds that I hurt her all the time and that she hates Baltimore and hates being here. I cry and then later when I cry again when Maya is brushing her teeth, Maya stops to comfort me and explains that Tara is just being a 'teenager'.
Maya is happy when we meet her friends at Loco Hombre for a going away party. What fun to watch five pre adolescent girls I have known for years communing and carousing. When I first told Maya we would be meeting her friends for a get together, she objected, insisting that we have a party at our house, our rented house that is no longer ours. After the party tonight she thanked me and told me she had a great time.
I cannot say goodbye, I cannot manage more tears. It is just a year, it is not good bye anyway. Sarah cries and her mother Sandi and I just push our children to the car and go.
I talk at length with my parents on Skype and my mother cries when she remembers that we will be gone for a year. I reassure her that we will talk regularly over the internet and that we plan to join them to celebrate Christmas. We are also trying to arrange a 90th birthday party in Cuba. Canadians go to Cuba regularly, and the flights from Ecuador are reasonable. And I have always wanted to go to Cuba. I hope it happens.
I had planned to finally pack with my new suitcases. Eric ordered rolling duffel bags online and I must fit everything that is scattered and in random piles all over my room in four rather small bags. I think I can make it but I move the piles on the bed so that I have a fort of clothing along the side of the room and I crawl into bed next to Maya's mattress on the floor and I cannot cry anymore except that inside I am crying and it hurts.
Eric drove my car to Woods Hole last night after arriving early in the morning yesterday and driving to DC to get the visas. He taught today and is exhausted tonight. The renters want us to move all our stuff out of the garage so they have more room (will cost more for the storage unit and will be too much work for Eric) and have added two cats to the household despite the lease agreement specifying no pets. Eric is distraught and spent and at the edge of tears and I tell him to take an Ambien and sleep and we'll decide what to do in the morning. I am not accustomed to Eric being so distressed; that is usually my role.
It has been a tough day.