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  • Josh Short MD

On the Loss of a Friend


The experience of grief is unique for each of us. With empathy we realize that, while we are all sharing in grief, we are also all experiencing it in our own way. I have included some of my journal entries to satisfy the piece of my heart that needs to be heard in a way that I would not typically speak as a business owner in a public forum. A loss of this magnitude requires reflection and community. But feel free to stop here and simply share the grief that is the loss of our dear friend and colleague Rob Jacoby and know that we are grieving with you. The world is a different place without him.

Journal entry 9/28

Suffering comes from the certainty that something is unnecessarily wrong with the universe. There are things that simply should not be allowed to be true. Suffering is the only time when denial is a form of courage; a uniquely human gift of refusing to acknowledge our own senses in order to preserve a better version of reality within ourselves.

Rob was our colleague and co-conspirator long before opening Asheville Integrative Psychiatry and if not for his tireless enthusiasm and curiosity about psychedelic therapies, we would have never existed as a place for these treatments. His work with Tiffany (Dr Sauls) doing ketamine assisted psychotherapy and MDMA research was a foundation of our practice. Our entire community has suffered a devastating loss of expertise and experience with his passing and we grieve as much for what could have been as we do for the loss of what was.

Journal entry 9/29

“Truth" is ultimately what we can convince ourselves of completely, and suffering can nearly bring us to the point of disbelieving our own eyes. But not completely. And, therein lies the exquisite torture of grief which is the nagging and unwanted reminder that what should never be, is. We slowly acquiesce to the fact that our senses have not deceived us and that the universe has indeed permitted another grievous error, leaving us to clean up the mess.

He brought his trickster energy to our medical practice and, suddenly, we were using didgeridoos and hand drums for medical work. His enthusiasm for this work made for powerful lectures and talks full of humor and love for others. His ability to be present for clients and bring his full self to healing was unmatched. His DJ skills kept us moving at parties and festivals. There is nothing that fills the uniquely shaped void left by his absence.

Journal entry 9/30

So many spiritual paths encourage us to find peace with the unexpected, to see it as part of the plan. I say give fate the finger every single day. There is nothing to be gained by conceding the match. At least give fate the gift of a worthy opponent. Go down swinging. It will keep your mind off of the suffering.”

Each day, we expect our friend and do not see him. The finality of his passing is so at odds with the sense of infinite possibility that he embodied that our grief has a confused uncertainty to it. Our hearts hurt with this loss and it is a little hard to keep our chins up right now. It’s even harder because we are so used to him being late for things that it just keeps seeming like he might show up any minute…


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