Saying “Goodbye” to Clients

Julie started coming to me regularly very early in my career.  She was one of those great clients who told everyone about my business and encouraged people in town to schedule a massage with me.   Julie had a genetic disorder that was diagnosed in childhood.   It was no secret that her life was going to be much shorter than most people’s.   As clear as this information was, it was still a shock when my mom called me during my maternity leave to tell me that Julie had passed away that morning.   I wrestled with a lot of emotions.   I really tried to focus on that I was happy and that every ache and pain that she bravely dealt with every single day of her life, was now gone.  Stress, fatigue, and worry were no longer issues for her.  Yet, I was sad that I would never get to see her again.   Rarely does one get to say “goodbye” to a client while they are living.  I wished I could have told her one more time how much I appreciated what she did for my business.

I have meant to write this blog for a long time, but never have gotten around to it.   Yesterday my parents came to tell me that another one of my wonderful clients had passed unexpectedly.  A client I assumed would live to see a very old age.  Over the years I have lost clients to heart attacks, complications of diabetes, genetic disorders, car accidents, old age, cancer, cancer, and more cancer.  They all suck in my opinion.  The space they leave in my life is much bigger than filling in their 4:30 appointment every four weeks on Thursday evening.

Maybe I think about these clients too much.  Maybe these emotions cross a boundary of some sort.  I do know I have found it helpful in my life and career to try to make it to the visitations of regular clients or to send a note to the family.    I know I am so thankful to have had them in my life and I find an odd amount of joy in the fact that I knew these people maybe in a way most others did not (What made them really feel good, what made them really relax).   I know death is part of life and this is not the last time I will lose a client.  In the mean time, I am going to try to be more diligent about letting my clients know how much I appreciate their business and the trust they put in me.

To those clients I have lost over the years.  I miss you.  I am so thankful for the time we were able to spend together and for your business over the years.

To my colleagues:  What has helped you over the years when you have had to say “goodbye” to clients?


Advanced Massage Techniques, NCBTMB Approved Continuing Education Provider


  1. says

    I am very sorry to hear that you have suffered the loss of some of your clients, especially Julie.

    I have only been practising again for a couple of years so I do not have any advice on how to deal with that situation, but I do not think your emotions have crossed a boundary as this is a caring profession, the same as nursing and I would find it difficult not to build close relationships with clients if they had been a regular visitor for as many years as Julie had been with you!

    You have to hold on to the fact that you helped to make Julie’s short life as comfortable as possible with your regular massage sessions and touch is such a powerful thing when dealing with illnesses.

    Big hugs


  2. says

    I believe losing a client should feel like losing a friend. Your feelings show how much you care. I have practiced massage for over 20 years, it’s never easy having to experience that kind of lose. To a degree, a client’s life is in your hands when you share that hour. As long as you were fully present and gave your best then be grateful for the time you could share with them.
    I am so glad to hear that you really put your heart out there.

    • says

      Thanks Abe!
      I just found your comment. Sometimes they get lost in my comments inbox. Sorry! Each loss truly is bittersweet. I am sad to lose them, but rejoice when there is no more physical suffering. It is that latter that I try to focus on.

  3. says

    It’s strange when people die around me, especially clients.

    Strange because usually I feel very good about it. Sometimes I’ve done housecalls for free when a client was unable to leave home any more, and so I get to have the very rare sense of doing something worthwhile at a time when hardly anything can be done.

    On the other hand, when I don’t know about it, and especially when it’s somebody I’ve almost forgotten about, I get very, very sad.

    So I often think that we suffer a loss most when there are chances we’ve missed–chances for being useful, chances for having a meaningful connection.

    • says

      Lovely thoughts and insights!

      My favorite part “very rare sense of doing something worthwhile at a time when hardly anything can be done”.

      Ahhh… A wonderful testament to our work and profession.


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