Sometimes it just hits you. Right between the eyes. Or in the gut. Or in your throat as you are trying to speak. It comes from nowhere without warning and it laughs as you struggle to act like the world is normal. While you try to keep putting one foot in front of the other or one word next to the next.
I had a case today with a young man who suffers from schizophrenia. I watched as he listened to his inner voices and as he struggled to hide his conversation from me. Then he gave up and tried to include me in the discussion with his devils. He had no way of knowing that grief was doing the same to me today.
He had no way of knowing that Dan stood in that interview room and reminded me of the times I had talked him off ledges and the times he had talked me off ledges.
That young man's mother had no way of knowing that as I sat and talked to her and her daughter about mental illness and the criminal justice system that my heart was breaking. That my mind was remembering the times that Dan helped me through bouts of depression. The words that he said to me. The words that I said to him. That on this day I said those words to this young man and his mother.
As I drove home, my heart ached as I watched semi-trucks traveling to places unknown to deliver products for each of us. I realized, again, that I could not call him and ask where he was or where he was going or what he was carrying. I could not tell him that I would be singing tomorrow or that I felt that I had gotten through to a very ill young man today. I couldn't tell him that I had a little success today. I couldn't tell him that I had save the world again.
He always told me that someday I would have to stop saving the world, one client at a time. That day was not today. He was with me today when I save someone. He was with me when I comforted a mother. He was with me. In my mind. He is the voice in my mind. But the devil Grief still lurks.