Saying Goodbye

Saturday 24 May, 2003

The common thread of this 3-day weekend was Ishwar’s letter to his dying father. We began early, in the first supervision. Ishwar needs to say goodbye but he was not sure how to. I told him he’ll find the words. Karaj added, as an aside, that I have not been in Adapted Child since I sorted things out with my dad.

During the garden work in the afternoon my legs felt shaky. I verbalised this to Karaj who acknowledged it, although, as I later found out, I needed to convey where I was a little more. He told me to wake up as I was clearly not focused on the job. I did not take it personally because I knew where I was: my focus was on following instructions in order to get through the day and survive, rather than getting cocky or emotional and really fucking things up for myself.

I was feeling weak as we took a break. I engaged Ishwar in discussion about his dad. He was blocked, saying: ‘How do you express the appreciation?’ There is no need. Just say what you want to say. It is for yourself after all. Later in the day, Michelle shared her own letter to her dying friend. It was very touching and brought tears to my eyes. There was more talk of fathers.

Throughout the evening phase of the garden work, I wondered where I was going to get the strength to finish the day. I got it from somewhere but it was tough. I felt absolutely fucked. At around 21:00 I took a rest, which was interrupted for two minutes while I helped Simran and Dev find the petrol cap on Arun‘s car. They had been looking for 40 minutes! In the ensuing supervision session, which went on until midnight, Simran was challenged heavily on the fiasco with Arun’s car. He had not consulted Karaj at all, isolating himself yet again.

Shona raised a question about the role of the Adult ego state. The Adult takes in the information and the Parent or Child reacts to it. Astronauts and fighter pilots take in a wealth of information in an emergency but their Parent handles it despite any fear their Child may have. This led onto a discussion about how to tell what ego state someone is in. The following five elements need to match:

  1. The reaction in myself.
  2. My observations of the person.
  3. My historical information on the person.
  4. My assumptions.
  5. The cultural context.

We also addressed Ishwar’s letter to his father. Shona began by saying, ‘I’d give anything for an hour with my father’. Simran was absent at this point (he was washing up), which sums his problem up: he was not there when someone was crying for their father. Ishwar started the process of his father’s letter and Karaj dictated the rest, with contributions from Dev and me at the end.

Summary: Kept myself safe today (things have been going well recently and I have felt weak and vulnerable today) and I have done so in the company of good people.


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