I wrote this piece in honor of my friend and colleague who was called home on 1/23/2023 for the Core Energetics Alumni Newsletter. But since many of my trainees who worked with Irene in RI are not members of that group, I am placing it here on my website.
Irene – Angel on Earth
Most of you know my friend and colleague, Irene Bryan, as an amazing professional which she was. But how do I describe such a multifaceted human being. All fire and light.
Professionally, a licensed psychologist in MA as well as a Core Energetics practitioner, she had an overfull practice. She worked hard, too much, even by my workaholic standards. She would tell me she was going to cut down, but that didn’t seem to happen. She lived to help people. The week of her death she thrice texted a friend in Columbia, concerned about this person’s safety. She helped me in the professional Core Energetics RI program, teaching whenever I needed her, no matter what else was going on in her life. She was the only therapist/psychologist I know, among both core practitioners and my traditional colleagues who remained in supervision when it was no longer required. There was always more to learn, she said. Sometimes her supervisors were Core Energetics practitioners and sometimes they were psychoanalysts.
I asked her to join myself and Charles Corley, as an assistant director of our institute in RI. In that role she accompanied me to the international directors’ meetings and developed the ethics code along with Kathleen Goldberg for the International Association of Core Energetics Institutes. She dedicated many hours of her life to administrative tasks such as that one. Earlier when we were all still strongly involved with the NY Institute, she spent hours creating the student handbook. She so loved Core Energetics, devoting her life and love to this work.
But it was as friend and companion she touched me most deeply. She brought sparkles of love and light into my life; there for me in a way no one else has ever been. This past summer I was ready to pull my hair out — having to move out my home in RI. I had so much stuff to get rid of. Doing a yard sale by myself was almost impossible. Irene drove down form MA and helped me sell stuff. Actually, I am a wuss when it comes to yard sales. I would have given it all away or at least taken pennies. She drove a hard bargain and the people paid up – who would have known.
Every year at New Years, my husband, myself, and Nicole, if she were available, were invited to an amazing dinner party, given by Joe and Irene for his friends and colleagues from when he worked for Conrail, a railroad company in Philadelphia. After Jack died, my attendance continued but now with Irv. What made these dinners special is that every dish and delicacy – and there were many — were made by Joe and Irene. I never saw Irene as happy and fulfilled as when she was helping Joe prepare food for this large group of hungry people.
The harmony Joe and Irene achieved as a married couple was special. If you were in Cancun, or in Italy before that, you may have noticed the way they communicated, sharing a private language, the small nuances that exist when two people get each other and are on the same wavelength. Sitting in the back seat of the car, I loved to watch them drive together. He drove and she navigated. He turned to her for directions and she relied on him to get them from point A to point B.
Irene’s daughters were super important to her. The loss of Eila was devastating. She supported Gisela through medical school and her first job in emergency medicine in Miami and was thrilled when Josephine got accepted into law school. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t have done for either one of them. When Eila died, she invited Eila’s boyfriend to live with them and heal within their family unit. Irene seemed to me — an angel on earth.
She also loved her dogs. I can’t keep track of them and won’t get their names right. The current one is named Fitzie and before that was Samson. Fitzie is the largest dog I have even seen, and the picture I will forever carry in mind’s eye is of Irene, this shortish woman in black coat and black hair flying behind her walking this huge black/brown dog with gusto.
When I think of Fitzie, Joe, Gisela, Josephine, her sisters, even her mother who is unwell and living in Venezuela, I can’t imagine the unbearable pain and heartbreak. It is a huge loss, yet they will always have her. Her spirit and her soul are so strong, and even now, as she moves toward total light and transition, she leaves a trail of love, compassion, and generosity. So many people have turned to me in the past few days to say “she saved my life.”
Written by Karyne B Wilner 1/27/2023