Coming Out of The Dark


I am approaching a VERY BIG birthday that I was not at all expecting to reach. This past year and a half I was “tested” beyond my imagining. I had one major health problem after another, and gave an eulogy for my mother from a wheelchair.

I didn’t feel a fear of dying. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling physically well and steady on my feet. However, the healing work I do for others keeps me so grateful and rewarded that it kept me going. Of course, I would miss the many people, as well as the many experiences I treasure, such as music, theater, literature, and entertaining.

I had lost my zest for cooking, which was a clear indicator that I was not the me I have enjoyed being. And, I kept having other problems, one after another; a few were quite serious and life threatening.
Typical me, I just plugged on relishing the wonderful people in my life. I made my Will and left items to special people and felt complete about it.

And, here I am today, feeling absolutely wonderful. I must say that I never felt despondent. I was not morbid about approaching the end of my life. I was actually accepting, thinking “I may not get to do this or to see that person again.” And, as I am known to say, I have the skill – art – of “living in the present.” I do that well. I enjoy, savor my experiences and the people I meet, the people I love, the people whose lives I am privileged to heal.

Here I am a year and a half later, feeling really good. I am looking forward! I am anticipating this next piece of my life to be as beautiful as I feel it to be right now.
My partner, who has been with me loyally throughout, shares with me a peaceful, loving, laughing relationship – something I longed for in my life. Now I have it. My friends are absolutely fabulous people, and I am having a great time cooking and entertaining and being with them. And, my work continues to be a gratifying passion of mine.

My message: be grateful for each moment, and stay in the present looking forward to the sun shining again for you – no matter how bad things are. Live your experience and know that whatever comes, you will face that, too.
When I think of all the suicides of young people, it breaks my heart, knowing that life does change, and opportunities do open up, and loving someone else is all possible. We are ever evolving as human beings and when you are open to what comes next, something will – and after that, and after that, until it stops. And, then you will have lived fully.

So, here comes another year and however long I have left, it is with gratitude that I experience my experiences – every one of them. We learn, we grow, we are humbled.

So when the cloud over you is dark and seemingly immovable, feel your feelings and know that they will not last. Life offers many wonderful surprises (including for me, the birthday I will be celebrating).

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About Paula Susan

Paula Susan, MSW, LCSW, Masters in Clinical Social Work & Psychology; specialist in Trauma and Relationships since 1982. In 1991, I integrated the powerfully transformative process of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). Research demonstrates that it facilitates life-altering changes more efficiently and effectively than talk therapy alone. I teach skills such as communication and anxiety relief to improve connection with others. Over the decades, I’ve come to respect how much damage even small traumatic experiences inflict on our core beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. I consider it a privilege to help my clients understand and change what has undermined their happiness and their relationships. I do it with warmth, integrity, humor, and profound respect for those who care about the quality of this small piece of time we have on

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