Friday, May 27, 2011

It Takes Time

I have to admit that I was disappointed with my first counseling session.  I don't know exactly what I expected to get out of it (wishful thinking was that I would be "cured" after one visit), but I left thinking that I wouldn't go back.  Part of the problem was that I didn't feel comfortable with the counselor.  I'm sure he was good at what he did, but he wasn't right for me.  When I shared this with one of my friends she told me not to give up but to try someone else.  It never occured to me that I might have to look around for the right person.  I guess I just assumed that all counselors were basically the same.  I called the counseling center again and asked to see someone different.  I was more specific this time about what I had been through and what I was looking for.  I specifically asked for someone who had personal experience with death and grieving, though it didn't have to be suicide, and I requested a female.  If counseling is going to be beneficial, you have to be willing to be totally honest, to bare your heart and soul, and you can't do this with someone you aren't comfortable with.  Finding the right counselor is just like finding the right outfit or pair of shoes - you have to shop around and find the one that fits.

Thankfully the next time I went for a session I knew immediately I had found the right person.  She had lost her own husband in a tragic accident several years earlier, and I could tell right away that she understood how I was feeling.  I was very comfortable talking to her right from the start.  As expected our first session was filled with a lot of tears.  I did most of the talking while the counselor sat and listened.  I was surprised at how easy it was to tell her the whole story.  I realized that in some ways it was easier to talk to this stranger than it was to talk to my own family.  She didn't know Eddie or me so there were no opinions about either of us one way or the other.  I felt safe sitting in her office and was actually disappointed when our time ended.  I had barely begun to tell her everything I wanted to share.  This time there was no question that I would be going back.

In addition to the counselor I also started seeing the preacher around the same time.  I hadn't been comfortable with the male at the counseling center, but I was surprised to find that I was very comfortable with this man.  He was kind, caring, understanding, compassionate, yet objective at the same time.  Just like the counselor, he didn't know Eddie or me so I didn't have a problem being honest with him about everything. I could tell he was going to bring a different perspective to the situation than the counselor, but I felt that between the two of them I was going to get what I needed to help me through this process of grieving.  My only regret was that it wasn't going to happen faster.

I continued reading the books I had bought and found out one very important thing - contrary to what I thought, I wasn't going crazy!  I learned that exhaustion, distraction, denial, anger, physical symptoms, withdrawal, and fear (just to name a few) are all a part of grief.  Though I felt like I was alone, the only one to ever feel this way, I wasn't.  Everyone who loses a loved one, regardless of the circumstances, has these same feelings in varying degrees and for different lengths of time.  Grief isn't just something for us to get through, it is like an injury or a sickness - we have to take the time to heal.  There was that word again - TIME - I had to accept that I wasn't going to find a way to rsh through this.

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace." Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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