A Morning With The Shrink

Willy Armen kept looking at the comfortable settee across the room. He was sitting in a nice chair, but it was his understanding that in a Psychiatrist's office there was usually a couch that you lied down on, at least that's the way it was in the movies.

Dr. Jodi Weiss was very friendly and welcoming but Willy would have to talk from a sitting position. Dr. Weiss wasn't a hundred percent sure why Willy was there, and he had just started to explain. He had made the choice to talk with a professional because of a residual feeling that he couldn't shake.

''I can be doing something really enjoyable and then all of a sudden I will feel this sense of loss because I can't share it with my Mom and Dad. I know that at fifty nine I'm supposed to be a grown ass man, but I can't stop missing them.

Dr. Weiss looked at Willy through her glasses and smiled ''Tell me more about this feeling.'' Willy thought for a second and tried to explain ''It's like eating peanut butter without jam, a hot dog without ketchup, mustard, and relish. When things happen, good or bad I want to tell them about it. I want to call them, I want to share and they're not there. There's other people I can talk with, but it's not the same. I'm having trouble trying to figure out how to get over the feeling.'

Willy looked over at the painting hanging on the wall behind the Doctor, it was of an elephant smiling at a mouse.

''Have you ever had any suicidal thoughts, like you want to join them?'' Willy shot back to reality. He had heard ridiculous questions in his life, but that might have been the craziest, which coming from a Psychiatrist made it even more ludicrous.

''I love every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I love life with a passion. I have never and would never contemplate or commit any self harming act. I hate the idea of suicide and feel bad for those who can't see that better things could be coming around the corner. When I was a child my Mom taught me ''From the day that you're born, till you ride in a hearse, things are never so bad, that they couldn't be worse.'' I miss my parents, I however have no desire and I mean no desire, to die.''

Doctor Weiss looked down at the tablet that was on her lap ''Do you do any self medicating to help you with the feeling of loss?'' Again Willy looked at the Doctor thinking it might have been a mistake coming to her office. ''I have a very small brain, I don't like adding foreign substances into it. I hate drugs and I don't like drinking. As mentioned earlier, I love life and don't need artificial stimulants to help me make it through the day. I feel genuinely bad for people who are addicted to opioids. I hate that stuff. Doctor the reason I'm here is not to discuss death or inflicting booze or drugs into my system, I'm here because I have a huge gaping hole in my heart. I miss my parents and I'm trying to figure out the best way to move forward. I have no nefarious plans to do any harm to myself, that's the furthest thing on my mind.''

Willy found it strange that the Doctor didn't look at him, instead she was once again reviewing her tablet. ''When was the last time you spoke with a professional about these issues?'' It had become apparent to Willy the Doctor was following a script. She wasn't giving him answers just questions. He knew it was time to move on.

''Thanks Doctor Weiss for everything, you are the first professional I ever contacted about this feeling of emptiness, but I can see that I am going to have to resolve it all myself, and I'm sure I will. Thank You for your time and seeing me.''

Willy stood up and for the first time Dr. Weiss looked at him, in fact she really looked at him. ''Please sit down Willy, before you go, we still have eight minutes in our session, I want to tell you something.'' Willy sat back down and waited to hear what the Doctor was going to say. ''You are suffering from missing the true and genuine love a parent has for their child. It doesn't matter how old you are, six or sixty. Your parents are your supporters, their love is unconditional. When you accomplish something they are proud, when you have issues they have your back. They are genuine best friends who love you because you are part of who they are. The longer they are around the stronger the support is, when they age you are there for them. It is a love that can't be manufactured, it is one hundred percent organic, and it is part of your soul. You have this feeling of emptiness because the people you could rely on for anything at any time are not physically around. The most important thing a parent can do for a child is what your parents did for you. They allowed their love to be known. They showed their caring and support and when that's gone you feel it. There's nothing wrong with having the feelings you have Willy. Don't be in a rush to lose those emotions, that's what makes us humans. Over time you will find the edge isn't as sharp. The emptiness will always be there, it just won't be as pronounced.''

Willy could feel tears streaming down his face. The Doctor was right, his parents had given unconditional love and support for as long as he could remember. He missed them and that support more than words could ever describe.

As Willy stood up to leave, he re-evaluated the scene and realized he had underestimated the Doctor, she had been figuring him out while he was talking.

Doctor Weiss shook his hand and wished him well. ''Willy, it's my professional opinion you don't need a Psychiatrist, you just need time.'' He thanked her and left the office.

As he headed to his office, Willy kept thinking one thought, he was grateful he had the most incredible parents a son could ever have. He would honour their memories in different ways, and he would start by finding his smile, cause he knew they would much rather see him laughing than crying, especially when it came to thinking about them.

Alan Schwarz loves life. He is the founder of JAMS Productions, a television production company based in Toronto . His passion is writing.