03 November 2009

Passings ~ Susan Horwitz (1947-2009)

Over the past four years there has been a lot of mayhem in my life. Some of it was just, well, inexplicable; no one’s fault, not preventable, not foreseeable. Some of it is my own fault. And a pretty large amount of it has been sown by others - for reasons that they need to deal with but likely will not. No need to go into specifics, they are pretty ugly. And I’ll spare you, the names and the actions of the culpable. They know who they are.

In any case, it has taken considerable effort to deal with my own foibles but not to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of meanness and venality. I could not have done it on my own. I had love and support from my sweetheart. I also had help from an incredible therapist, Susan Horwitz, who worked here at the University.

Susan listened carefully, told me when I needed to cut the bullshit and take responsibility, pushed me to see the many points where responsibility rested elsewhere - usually places where I had neither any control nor hope of it, and helped me figure out how to deal with all that. She also laughed easily, talked about the travails of juggling research with seeing clients, bragged about her students, and gushed about her baby grandsons.

I had not seen Susan in a while - not because the onslaught had ceased, but because I’ve mostly been able to navigate it pretty well. But in the back of my mind I considered her part of my safety net in the event that things got really crazy. Late last week I tried to contact Susan to no avail. I didn't think much of it. Today I learned that she has died, of brain cancer. She was 62. This is crushingly sad news. My heart goes out to Susan’s family. She was smart and funny and genuine. I will miss her. I do already.

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