Transcript of 55th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Anna Green, Thursday, September 4, 1997 at 4:00 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello, Anna. You're not looking well. Are you all right?
Ms. Green: Hello, Doctor Balis. I think I'm coming down with something.
Dr. Balis: I can hear it--your voice is going.
Ms. Green: Yes, my throat hurts and I have a bad headache.
Dr. Balis: I'm sorry. Do you want to go home?
Ms. Green: If you don't mind, I'd like to talk for a while. Unless you're worried about catching it from me.
Dr. Balis: I think it'll be all right. But let me know if you want to stop and go home.
Ms. Green: Have I ever been shy about that? Don't worry, if I need to vomit or pass out, you'll be the first to know.
Dr. Balis: Oh good. So what do you want to talk about?
Ms. Green: Princess Diana.
Dr. Balis: You mean her death?
Ms. Green: Sure.
Dr. Balis: Has the death of Diana affected you?
Ms. Green: I thought she was young, beautiful, trying to do good in this world. It seems very senseless. And she was beginning to find some happiness in her personal life. I've heard that Dodi had just given her a two hundred thousand dollar engagement ring that night. What a waste!
Dr. Balis: I didn't know it was an engagement ring.
Ms. Green: Who cares? And who really knows, anyway?
Dr. Balis: Hmm. Did you cry?
Ms. Green: No. I'm not fanatical like some people. But I think it is very sad. We did do a death party for her.
Dr. Balis: A death party?
Ms. Green: Party is a bad choice of words, I guess. Kathy is a Diana fan. She has all the books about her, and she's collected all the news media and magazines with stories and pictures about Diana. She's got boxes and boxes of that stuff. I think this week alone, she must have blown about five hundred bucks trying to buy everything that covered the Princess' death.
Dr. Balis: Do you think that's excessive?
Ms. Green: I've never understood people who are that fanatical about their hobbies.
Dr. Balis: So you think this is Kathy's hobby?
Ms. Green: What do you think? But I could see that Kathy was genuinely distressed over the death. She's been crying all week and even stopped eating.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: She's not starving herself, don't worry, Doctor. Her appetite is just low. She'll be okay in a few days. And I think the party really helped.
Dr. Balis: Tell me more about this party.
Ms. Green: It was actually Martin's idea. We heard about the car accident first and Kathy was glued to the television coverage. She got hysterical as she finally learned that Princess Di did not survive. Then I had to go out and gather newspapers and magazines that managed to get the story in print for her. Kathy stayed up a few nights in a row watching all she could on TV and surfing the web for the latest news--anything she could get her hands on. I was amazed. It seemed so irrational, so over the top to me.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: Kathy's so level-headed; I didn't expect this kind of reaction from her. But there she was--no shower for four days, hardly eating, wearing the same black t-shirt, face swollen from crying. Martin thought that if we could get some kind of closure on this tragedy for Kathy...well, that's how the idea for the death party came about. Last night, we had about fifty people crowded into Martin's two bedrooms, all dressed in black, holding candles, and singing Elton John's new version of "Candle in the Wind."
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: John, a guy I work with, managed to get the new words to the song somehow. Instead of "Norma Jean" it had "English Rose" describing the dead princess. The whole thing was actually very beautiful--almost church-like in its feel. People were holding hands and crying.
Dr. Balis: Hmm.
Ms. Green: I think it was a good idea--there was a lot of emotional release. I believe people really felt better. We had about thirty people from SII there. And I bet you thought that programmers were cold, unemotional types. I even heard that our CEO, Mr. Major, went to England to attend the funeral on Saturday. Amazing, isn't it?
Dr. Balis: Sounds like it was a good idea. Usually funerals have that kind of emotional release and achieve a certain degree of closure for the mourners.
Ms. Green: Well, if Kathy could afford to go to the funeral, I'm sure she'd have gone. But I think the party was the next best thing. And I'm sure that she'll be glued to the television watching the real funeral all day Saturday. Even I'm interested in watching it.
Dr. Balis: So you had an emotional week. I thought you were going to go up to see your parents for Labor Day.
Ms. Green: My mom got sick.
Dr. Balis: Oh, I'm sorry.
Ms. Green: It's nothing serious--just a bad summer cold. It seems to be going around. I probably got it from somebody at the party last night. I think when people are so emotionally stressed, their resistance is low and they get sick easier. Well, it's a theory.
Dr. Balis: I think that's true. Did you get a chance to think about your situation with Kathy and Martin some more?
Ms. Green: No, not really. The princess happened and...somehow that just moved to second place. It's not that I stopped thinking about it all together, it's just that I was worried about Kathy. And, frankly, I was pretty upset about the death myself. Her children are just so young. If I'd lost my mother at that age, I think I would have been pretty fucked-up for the rest of my life. I'm not even good at imagining it right now. Whenever I open myself up to imagine what that pain must feel like, I have to shut it down again quickly. It's just too much. Deep down inside, I hope my parents will live forever.
Dr. Balis: It's common to feel...
Ms. Green: Doctor, you told me to tell you if I needed to get going. Well, I think it's time for me.
Dr. Balis: Okay. Do you want me to call a cab for you?
Ms. Green: Yes, please. And I'll go downstairs and hang out in the pharmacy--maybe I'll find some good drugs to make me feel better.
Dr. Balis: Well, I hope you feel better soon, Anna. Have a good week.
Ms. Green: Thank you, Doctor Balis. See you next week. Oh no, actually I won't. I'm supposed to go to an offsite meeting for SII next week. Can I just skip a week and come back on the Thursday that follows?
Dr. Balis: Of course. Try to get an opportunity to get some perspective on your home situation, all right Anna? I'd like your relationship with Martin and Kathy to be a matter of choice and not just something you slip into because you didn't have time to think about it, okay Anna?
Ms. Green: Doctor, it's not really like that. I do think about it--a lot. I'll see you in two weeks.
Dr. Balis: All right, Anna. Feel better.
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