Thank you terror
Thank you disillusionment
Thank you frailty
Thank you consequence
Thank you thank you silence
— Alanis Morissette, Thank You
Today’s Writing Group prompt: Gratitude. Write a thank you note you’ve never sent, can’t send or can’t express.
Dear Dr. Ditto,
I don’t know if you remember me. I came to you nearly 11 years ago only a few days after the worst day of my life. I was 25 and terrified. My world was upside down and I desperately wanted you to tell me it could be set right side up again. You didn’t, of course; you couldn’t. There’s no cure for the thing – there’s still no name, no one knows what happened – that stole into my room that night while I slept. I don’t remember your exact words, but the bottom line was: “You might get a little better but, for the most part, this is permanent. I’m sorry.” Ten months later, I got even worse, and your office was the first place I went, terrified again. You told me the truth of just how much worse I was and, again, you said, “I’m sorry.”
I want to thank you. For your expertise, certainly, but mostly for your kindness and your patience. My parents and I were so scared and had so many questions, and I often spent large amounts of my time in your exam room in tears. You told me I’d never get better in the gentlest way possible, but also made sure I knew that you and your staff – Kim was my angel, you know – would help me navigate my new life. You made sure I knew that this wasn’t the end, even if I was sure it was. When we wanted second and third opinions, you pointed us to the best places – UVA and Johns Hopkins – and called ahead for us. When I decided to go ahead with my surgery, you gave me your blessing and a recommendation for one of the best implant centers in the country. You gave me the map, but you let me chart my own course. And I always knew you were rooting for me.
I should actually send this letter, or a less flowery version of it. I think you’d be so pleased to see where I am now. Nearly 36 and so different from the sad, broken girl in your office all those years ago. I finished law school, you know. You helped; you wrote the letter that made them get the best accommodations for me, that made it possible for me not just to attend, but to kind of kick ass, too. Thanks for having my back.
I Googled you just now. You’re still practicing, and I’m glad. I think the world’s a better place for it. I hope you’re well.