“So exactly how long is this grief thing going to take me?” I ask my therapist.
There’s a pause. And then “How long do you think it will take you, Catherine?”
Dam. A fu$&ing question to answer a question. Classic. Well positioned. And I should know because I am both a patient and a therapist. Note to self: that’s a really annoying response. But I’ll probably keeping asking it. Because in counselling training, regardless of the modality, the bedrock for us all is person centred. Listen. Empathy. Accept. Non judgement. Provide reflection. Ask open questions. Immediacy. Listen some more.
There’s a long pause. A really loooong pause. We are holding space for emotions and silence. And I know this trick, too. So I’m quiet and reflective. Each of us playing this unspoken game of therapeutic chicken. Who’s gonna break the silence first? Finally she says “I’m holding space for you Catherine, I’m right here”. And despite myself it actually feels good. Just to hold space. I suddenly don’t need to fill it up with words. I take a breath.
And then it hits me. A hard truth:
💡Healing is not linear and grief is not a program.
💡I’ve got a ways to go.
This is value of counselling. The moments of clarity that belong to you, the awareness that leads to a new perspective.
Regardless if you dive into deep end of grief forced or by choice, it’s a hard swim. Exploring it and taking it out of the box, looking at the various sides of it takes both courage and tenacity. Touching the edges that left the scars.
I say take a victory lap just for stepping into the arena. I’m doing exactly that.