“Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?”
It’s a Wonderful Life
That is my favorite quote, from my favorite Christmas movie. So, my daughter surprised me this Christmas with the above plaque. I didn’t know it would come to have special meaning this year. As most of you might have heard by now, Don Miller, our colleague, died on New Year’s Eve. He was 88.
Don Miller was a psychologist, therapist, author, Past President of Inland Empire CAMFT, and as I came to experience, a Psychodrama Master. He was so passionate about his trainings, which were free. I cherished the times watching him at work. Taking a group of strangers from awkward encounter to sharing intimately came from the sheer sincerity of his direction. There was no doubt he believed in his craft, and it drew others in. The artistry of the way he directed seemed to come so naturally to him. Emulating his methods helped me deepen the experience I am able to provide for my clients.
Something else which enabled intimate revelation and sharing was the way Don seemed to truly value people. Always willing to listen, he remembered your name and your story, and tried to help create a cathartic healing. Wanting to empower people with life skills and tools, he was always willing to share information. He was the eternal student himself.
Knowing his diagnosis and how he stayed so positive to the end, is a true inspiration to me. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for him in these last months, but he chose to spend some of his last moments with us at our Christmas Party. I am touched and grateful for his example.
On a personal note, having lost my father at four, I am sensitive to looking for men to be who they say they are. Don was someone who had earned my trust. I was able to do important work in his groups, because I believed he cared.
Yes, Don, your life touched so many others with its godly example; your passing will leave a hole in our group. We will miss you!
Janine Murray, MFT
President, Inland-Empire CAMFT
A memorial service for Donell will be held at the University United Methodist Church, 940 East Colton Avenue, Redlands, CA 92374 on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 11 a.m. Any CAMFT members who wish to attend are invited.