Long long time ago…

I was in Rome for a conference. May 2017, and I was alone.

At the end of the first day, the organisers had invited me to dinner at their table. During dinner, I had chatted with a very nice Canadian gentleman. I did not know who he was, except that his name was John, that next to him was his wife Sue, and that they were both fabulous. We had laughed and joked all evening, told stories, made irreverent jokes, talked about the world, travel, human relationships. About how we saw life, how we lived and had lived life.

The next day, he had seen John’s wife come on stage. She was Sue Johnson, the founder of EMOTIONALLY FOCUSED THERAPY!

Her speech had made a huge impression on me. Listening to her was like seeing a world opening up, indeed a whole universe! Listening to her was like finding my way home. She was talking about me, about us, about things I had felt in my belly since I was six years old. About things I read in books and found so right, but when I talked about them I was looked at strangely by my classmates.
Then, when I had found myself at the same round table at dinner as the night before, I had not been able to avoid telling her how I had felt hearing it. The words had come out of me.
“It would take someone to teach EFT in Italy,” I had told her.
“Why don’t you do it?” she had replied. Her, that’s right: Sue Johnson!

Dear, dear Sue,
It has been years since that moment, but the feeling is strong and the memory vivid, as if we were still in Rome, you laughing with that squeaky laugh and me fizzing with emotion.

It didn’t seem real to me. Was it possible that such a luminary was talking to me? That he had just said to me – so calm and yet so determined – ‘why don’t you do it? You will be the Italian Trainer.
“Can I cry?!” I had replied.
And she: “Absolutely not! You can say yes, you can start studying and make it real’.

So I had done: I had (immediately!) signed up for EFT training with her the following week, and had taken my first steps into what I already felt was my world. The door had opened during an ordinary conference. A lucky dinner.
By chance?
Perhaps, but if I listen to my soul, I can feel that it was not just chance….

The following week I had left again and met Sue Johnson again. We were in Florence for the Externship.
On the penultimate day a group dinner had been organised in one of those restaurants with a set menu, far from the hotel. Too bad that night, the city was paralysed by a taxi strike.

The minutes ticked by, and anxiety rose like a soufflé. In the taxi, beside me, were all the worst thoughts that had crossed my mind over the previous weeks and months: ‘You are 45 minutes late. Everyone is waiting for you. How embarrassing… there, you see, you’ve messed up… surely Sue will change her mind about you.”

When I arrived, a good fifty minutes after the agreed time, and saw that everyone was waiting for me so I could start dinner, including Sue, I wanted to sink! But she smiled (more or less, but later she really smiled at me again when I told her how uncomfortable I felt about being late). And like her, the others. That was the first occasion when I felt the strength of the EFT community: a force that welcomes, understands and never judges, even those like me who arrive 50 minutes late!

At that time, I was over the moon, even though I often felt the pressure. Sue Johnson had chosen me! It was to me that she had offered that extraordinary chance. Will I be up to it? I asked myself. What if I can’t? Will I be good enough? Will I be the right person? What if I mess up?

And so she wrote to me in her emails: “In a way – afterwards – I thought of what happened – and thought – oh dear – she will feel pressured and will maybe want to back off – guess that didn’t happen!!!!!! I am glad I spoke my gut feeling about you TO you and look what you have done with it lady!!!”

Sue put me in touch with my mentor, Lieven Migerode, I went to do core skills in Bucharest followed by him and Simona Herb. In April 2018, I obtained my certification as a certified EFT therapist. In December of the same year, that of supervisor. At that time, I met Andrea who is my fabulous partner today. We were both “Helpers” at Zoya’s course, godmother of EFT ITALY, when she saw us and said “do it together”.
Andrea looked at me. I looked at him.
We were incredulous to say the least, and yet.

The following year, I started the trainer’s course, achieving certification in March 2020.

Sue: “I am impressed – I just made a suggestion and you just went off into the stars – I admire that!!!”

Sue, dearest,
Among the emotions I carry with me is the moment when we met again, in Ottawa, and you told me I was as straight as an arrow, and then you added: "how much pressure I am putting on this girl". Your sweet voice will never leave me.
Here I am in Ottawa again: I see you dancing with your beloved John. You are close, in love, beautiful… my heart melts, your tenderness moves me and the pain I feel today brings me closer to you and to what you have managed to be for thousands of people around the world.

Some time passed. And when Sue became ill, and started to attend less and less international events, my wonderful partner Andrea called me and said: let's go visit Sue at her home in Canada? my immediate response: YES WE DO!!! We immediately opened our diaries and made up a space to go and experience this wonderful trip.

We bought a plane ticket, arrived in Seattle, took a boat to Victoria. As we were at the harbour in the morning, we were not looking forward to it anymore!
"We are going to Sue's house!"
We were thrilled, still in disbelief of what we were experiencing! When we arrived in Victoria, John picked us up and took us to Sue who was doing the exercise bike. She was in her tracksuit, and she was fit.
That evening we went to a special restaurant, a wonderful place. But what was special, apart from the place, was the parterre: Andrea and I were in the company of the psychotherapist who had created the most revolutionary model in the world.
The next day, we had gone for a walk and Sue was helping me with birdwatching. She was holding onto my arm. On the beach in Victoria Sue was pointing out the islands and landscapes in front of us, of a place so distant in space from our home, but which with the meeting with Sue felt familiar.
I remember, dear Sue.
I can still feel you, here, leaning back not to slip on the rocks and smiling and talking to me… I can see you munching on the Krumiri I brought you from Italy. You laugh. It's you, always you…

The memory goes back to our farewell, a farewell made up of smiles and tears of joy of emotion and already of lack, exchanged with Sue in a deep embrace. Which relived today has a completely different meaning.

There is more.
It has been weeks, since 23 April 2024, since Sue Johnson closed her eyes on this world that she left better than it was when she arrived. They seem like days, these weeks. Minutes. They don’t seem real. Time blurs into a cloud that is small one minute, and gigantic the next.

Two days later, I was writing these lines:

Yesterday was the day of pain, hard and pure. Today is still the day of pain. And it will still be tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.
I know Sue, you left us something beyond time, something that will allow us to feel you beside us in all the sessions and beyond.
But I just miss you now, mixed with gratitude, mixed with the many words you’ve said to me over the years, but mixed also with the feeling of… I haven’t told you this yet Sue… and now how do I tell you?
To you, Sue I owe almost everything professionally, I have had the immense good fortune to be chosen by you and accompanied by you on this journey, along with many others, and entrusted with other wonderful colleagues who have been fortunate enough to share many more years with you, and through whom you will live on.
I will cherish the many times when tiredness would set in and you would encourage me with your “Go girl go!!!!!!!” And I would regain energy and strength, and how much it took, Sue… and how much it will take!
And even now I just want to hear inside of me “Go girl go!!!!!” because it’s so much needed.
But I’m grateful for it, because I’ve had this huge fortune to be connected with you, and that is something that has enriched my life immensely, and these seconds of memories and connection soothe the hurt.
In this photo one of my fondest memories after my first meeting with Sue! Where after many challenges I was finally at my first “Trainer Retreat” and Sue took my face in her hands and said “Well done Lady!!! I made a suggestion and you made it! Straight as an arrow – speedy and on target – you have done this!!!”
My heart exploded with joy as it now explodes with sadness.
And I wanted to keep it to myself, but then other words resonated in me: “Alone we can do nothing, together we can do everything” And perhaps mourning her together and remembering her together will help more than the loneliness I feel in so many moments.
If you have memories of Sue, moments of gratitude for her, please share them.
It will be like having her a little closer still.

How long has it been since I heard Sue’s voice? How long has it been since I’ve read her emails?
…Recently, just a couple of nights.

I needed that, Sue.
It happens… and more importantly, we need to get back in touch with the personal.
I opened my mail and reread your e-mails and found one from a few months ago that I had forgotten about. You wrote that you had dreamt about me.
"I dreamt of you.
You wrote me that in your dream, after the summit in Holland, we would meet again in Italy, in Gubbio, drinking a glass of wine and hugging, laughing joking and chatting.
'I wonder if I will be able to be there…' you wrote. Do you know where Sue sent me, exactly 15 days after the Summit in Holland? To take an EFT class in Gubbio…

I didn’t just meet the professor.

Before the luminary I met Sue, her sweet eyes, her vocal timbre, her manner. A ‘chance’ meeting that was not at all chance changed my life: I felt ‘seen’ and then chosen, without having to prove anything. Invested with enormous trust. And then guided, embraced, helped. Just support, just love.

Just one month before he passed away, we recorded a video with Sue….
Life is short, she says in the video. Be brave and chase big goals.