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I’m going to sit on this letter for a couple of weeks… Not sure if where I am now is a temporary state of peace and ease, or if it is a sign of more permanent growth and change. So I don’t want to do anything rash, but also – this feels like the only way.

Dear K,

Something has shifted in me over the past weeks and months and has left me feeling that returning to psychotherapy is not right for me at the moment. Imagining ending our work after all this time, without even seeing each other in-person, is incredibly triggering and sad, so I am choosing to write a letter instead. I hope one day we will be able to meet again, to reconnect or say our goodbyes, but for now this feels like the right way forward. I have felt into what I need and I know this is right for me, even though the thought of not working with you again breaks my heart. This is not how I thought our story would end, but I have changed and grown and I am ready to fly away from you now.

I think this decision comes from a combination of finances and online work and the place I have reached inside of myself. If money were no object, I would return to online therapy now because I can see it would be helpful and supportive in some ways even if not essential, but knowing that I could afford to work with you each week but not to see any other healing professionals has left me feeling it wouldn’t be the best use of my resources. I need regular in-person work in some form, because the most important thing I need now is nervous system regulation and relational healing. So it is these factors, and the place I have reached inside myself, that mean it no longer feels like the best way forward for me to come back to online therapy.

I want so much to tell you all the ways I’ve grown and changed and expanded these past 18 months. Metamorphosis is the word that comes to mind. I want to tell you everything about this journey, but I don’t have the words and somehow it feels as though living my life is more important than explaining it to you now.

Leaving our time intact also feels so important – that messy, intense chaotic, raw, beautiful time when you were the centre of the universe for my system is left in a contained state by this decision. I’ve drawn a circle around our 5 years together and everything in it is sacred and magical and unchanging now. Alchemy took place in the therapy room. We both know that. I reached a place you never thought I would, a place where I could take in relationship after so much pain. The possibilities for me seem endless now. The sky feels wide open. I feel like I have come home to myself over the past few months, arrived in the place that existed in me all along, and it was you who made it all possible, led me back to myself even though I had no idea that was where we were going together.

I know there will be challenges ahead for me and times I wish I could talk to you about something big and stressful and overwhelming. I still have attachment trauma, I still have split off parts, I still struggle with so many things and have thoughts I wish I didn’t have. I also know our work will never truly be over because it is the foundation for all that will come in my life. You once told me what we had couldn’t be broken – no matter what. I know this is true. I know it is inside both of us. I know I will carry you with me forever and that the seeds of what we planted together are really only just beginning to take root and blossom for me.

You are formational to who I am and will become, just as my mum is. So much of how I live and feel about myself now is built on the foundations of our work. You are a part of me and your presence and voice live inside me even when I am not aware you are there. Yours is the voice I hear when I am trying to work out what to do, the voice whispering to me to be kind to myself, the voice telling me to breathe lower down when I meditate and to ‘slow things down’ when everything is overwhelming and my mind is racing. When I am distressed I hear you saying ‘soup and blankets’, when I am excited I imagine sharing it with you, when I am sad or lost I feel your gentleness and I find a way to be gentle with all the parts of me.

There are no words to express my appreciation and gratitude for all you have given me. Safety. Stability. Reassurance. Patience. Presence. Deep understanding. Empathy. Joy. Light. Laughter. A different way to be in the world. 351 times I drove to see you and, whatever state I was in, whoever was fronting, you opened the door and were the same. You offered me the possibility of a different story and together we wrote the pages that changed the ending. You sat across from me for 550 hours, holding my story, my tears, my shame. Then you held me from afar when the pandemic began and my world fell apart and you watched as I rebuilt myself that summer and took some tentative steps away from you.

If I send this letter please know it is one of the hardest things I have had to do. I wish so much that we could have had the past 18 months together and that I had reached this place with you instead of by myself. I wish we could have transitioned into less frequent therapy the way we talked about, so I didn’t have to live my life completely without you. I wish we could have spent time reflecting on our journey, remembering how it used to be, talking about the cosy times and laughter that we somehow found together despite the darkness. I wish we could have created something beautiful together to mark the end of our work. I wish we could have exchanged gifts and made cards together one last time. I wish, I wish, I wish… The reality is, the pandemic became the path, and it has taken me to where I am now and, even though it has taken me away from you, I have found myself.

It is funny how you always talked about us needing to do a lot of work around endings and then here we are, side-stepping this one which is probably the hardest ending of my life. You’re the person who has had the greatest impact on all of us and saying goodbye to you has always been unthinkable. In some ways it feels like we will never really have to now and maybe it is okay that I’ve avoided the full force of that pain. Maybe our relationship has caused me enough pain and it is okay to do things this way.

I love you K, with all my heart. We all do and always will. There will never be anyone like you in our lives again, I hope you know that. You will forever be the closest to a mum I will ever have had. I hope you know what a huge gift you have given me and that there is not a day that goes by when our work isn’t the force that is guiding me to become who I am and live the life I want to live. I am not healed in the way I thought I would be when our time was done, but I have already healed at a deeper level than I ever thought possible and that healing is only just beginning I think.

I do miss you – we all do. It is deeply painful that our time of working together ended without either of us knowing it was happening. I hope that one day we will meet again and, until then, I wish you well.