So, this broken record thinking of mine, is a very typical autistic thinking style. In psychology and psychiatry, this fixated repetitive thinking is called perseveration. It is not thought of as a good thing. And yet, despite this being my default thinking style, I would not dream of phoning someone five times in one day, especially when the voicemail says that the phone owner is dead. This week, an unnamed streaming service provider phoned Jane twice on one day and five times the next. Obviously, her credit cards have been cancelled, the banks do not offer credit to people who are dead.

I did not listen to the messages, I couldn’t bring myself to. The reason her voicemail says she is dead was that I knew her patients would be calling her when she didn’t show up for appointments or call them with blood test results and I didn’t know how to tell them of our loss, her death. It may not have been the most sensitive thing to do, but it was the only logical thing I could think of to do. I could not bring myself to answer her phone and that anxiety was bigger than the loss of hearing her voice if I called her phone. I wish I had been braver.

Anyway, the streaming service had a serious case of broken record, once I found out that was who it was by googling the phone number. I called them to cancel the service, which I had planned to take over. They don’t deserve my custom, insensitive to the last second of the call. I have hardware that needs returning, but no way to return it as they wanted the account number to provide the return label and I don’t have the account number, which I did explain. In their incredibly obtuse manner, they explained that Jane would be fined if she did not return the box within a week. Good luck with that!

I am finally fixating once again on my interoception thesis, holding my love for, and memories of, Jane in my heart as I type away. She spent an inordinate amount of time telling me to keep doing what I do, keep working on making the world a better place, being kind and caring. So, I shall do as I was told, which for those of you who know me personally, know is a rare thing indeed. My broken record thinking is at the heart of my interoception research, the core of my ability to work through all the threads of an issue to problem solve the insolvable. Jane worked through the medical issues of her patients in the same way, going over and over all the details until she could see how they linked.

Perhaps in time, it will be understood that most ways of being have pluses and minuses, strengths and support needs. Both of our thinking styles caused problems for us, separately and as a couple, at times. But we both made careers out of our problem solving strengths, held tightly in a grip of kindness and valuing of the people that we worked with.

When you are interacting with others, or even yourself, this week, be patient and thoughtful. If the way they do something annoys you, pause and see the strengths as well as the support needs, the pluses as well as the minuses. One of the earliest lessons that Jane gifted to me was; “seek to understand.” She was right, behind every action, or lack thereof, word or moment of being ignored, there is at least one story. When we understand the story it may not excuse what happened, but it may well explain it.

The picture is a single white rose seen today, blooming alone in a winter scorched bush, arohanui Jane.