Losing Irma Lee

Losing Irma Lee
  a gestalt poem

her brown eyes were confusing
she was so much water
she was aquamarine amniotic
you could be a tadpole swimming
inside her grace
when you looked into her eyes
the earth looked back at you
when she closed her eyes at last
you cried and fell down
on the earth
that held you
gently
like she did
when you knew you
had to let go
and didn’t want to
completely

Franklin Abbott
11, 12 March 2010
Stone Mountain

Dr. Irma Lee Shepard died last week after a long decline into dementia.
She was an eminent psychologist who taught, wrote and practiced Gestalt Psychology
with her partner Dr.Joen Fagan.  She was part of the founding faculty of the clinical
psychology program at Georgia State University and served as President of the
American Academy of Psychotherapists.  I was privileged to know her as a therapist
and mentor in the context of a long term psychotherapy group she co-led with
the late Dr. Earl Brown.  She was an openly lesbian professional before it was safe
to be so.  Her courage opened the door for many gay and lesbian psychotherapists and
her compassion and patience were the matrix of many a rebirth into wholeness and healing.

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