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... You were thirty years old, and your mother was also my patient? What if she said you wouldn’t speak to her? What if she said you told her your grandfather sexually abused you? What if she said, “My father was a lot of things, but he was not a sexual predator”? What if she called you “a liar”? What if she didn’t believe you because your sister denied it happened to her? What if you knew that she knew? What if I couldn’t convince her to validate you? What if you cut off all family ties and turned to drugs? What if you killed yourself?

What if I couldn’t relieve your mother's suffering? What if I had twelve more patients to see after her? What if I weren’t capable of going on, and I cried?

Would it be okay?

What if I found my strength in my expression of vulnerability? What if I let go of perfection to just be me: to live authentically, build relationships and learn from others? And, to give my students, patients and children permission to do the same.

Would that be okay?

Catherine Pipas
Lebanon, New Hampshire