A month ago, I shared a very personal story and I wanted to write a quick follow up. After posting it, I received an outpouring of support as well as ideas and feedback on what they would do if that same scenario happened to them. Many of you also stated that this opened up conversations with your colleagues about “Ethics”, which I’m glad happened, since more of these conversations need to occur, especially in our Higher Education Graduate Programs.
Having said this, I wanted you all to know that I received a handwritten letter from Jodie. I’m still not sure if it is in response to or independent of my blog post, but needless to say, it came as a surprise. When I got back from my NYC trip two weeks ago, it was sitting in my work mailbox. The letter was forwarded to me from my friend who made the initial contact in person with Jodie last month in jail.
The letter was well written and gently tugging at my heart strings. She expressed complete remorse for her actions, recognized the fact that she needs help for her addictions, and is on her way to reaching out to some key people that she wanted to personally apologize to. I still have the letter and have read it over and over again to try and gain some perspective on my old Mentor’s state of being. It is all so surreal.
After all the advice and feedback I received, I was still on the fence of what to do and it wasn’t until I had an insightful conversation with a former student of mine that really cemented my plan. In that conversation, she told me that she was in Jodie’s corner because she understood how powerful addictions (gambling, alcohol and other drugs) can be, since she lived through it growing up. She hammered home that trying to “wrap my brain around the why’s” of her actions would do me no good. She encouraged me to reach out to Jodie, forgive her, and move on. She made me realize that no matter what I did, Jodie would still have to live with her decisions and spend the rest of her life making amends. For those of you who may have experienced addictions first or second hand, I’m sure you can empathize with this train of thought.
So,I’ve decided to practice what I often preach and that is to “Build a Bridge and Get Over It”. I’m writing her a response letter and get everything off my chest. I’m using this as a cathartic process so I can move on. I’ve already started the letter and feel better. I can’t even begin to imagine what she is going through daily. However, I do believe that pieces of my old mentor are still in there, and I hope that someday, she can rise above all this and live the life I know she can.
Who in your life do you need to “build a bridge” for in order to “get over it?”
I appreciate the support and feedback you all have given me with all this. Thank you!
(This is a cross post with On the Go!)