Something’s Missing

Tomorrow I have to go to the grief counselor again. The last time was six weeks ago. It should have been three weeks, but I canceled that. I told her I didn’t want to waste her time as I have not done my assignment, but also that it was too busy at work.

Both reasons were more or less true. More or less…

It would have been the absolute truth if I had told her that I needed to think deep and hard about the grief counseling as I doubted if this is what I need. Disconnecting from my feelings wasn’t the right way to work through my grief. When I had to read what I had written for the first counseling appointment, I did so without feeling. I literally switched off, read what I had to read and moved on.

Because of this, she decided to give me a totally different kind of assignment. She wanted to unlock my feelings. Wanted to unleash my grief. She wanted to trigger something so I could feel the pain and then work through it.

Her assignment for me was to find photos of my mom and look at them 2-3 times a week for at least half an hour. It took me a week to muster up the courage to move images to a separate folder. My mom was never one for photos so it really was a big search. I found some nice ones of her and after thinking about it for a bit (scared to look at those because they always brought tears), I included photos of her during her death struggle and shortly after she passed. Also one of her in her coffin.

There were no tears. No emotion.

I looked at the images again a day or two later. No emotion.

I didn’t look at the photos again. Not because I couldn’t, but because I was trying to figure out why I am emotionally disconnected. I’ve had my moments of tears and I still do, but why can’t I get to that deep emotion? Why do I keep on pushing it back to a darker corner? I started doubting that the counseling was for me. I needed to do a assessment of the counseling (this is standard procedure after 5 appointments) and I thought about telling her that I wanted to stop.

I still didn’t know what I wanted and therefore canceled the appointment of three weeks ago.

Time was what I needed. Time to think.

In the meantime, because of having one physical problem after the other, I made an appointment with our GP. I sent him a list (we make our appointments digitally through his website) and when I sat across from him, he started at the top of the list. On the list were things like constant headaches, tummy problems, problems with my eyes, pain in my body and more.

He started at the top of the list and worked through the things. Asked me if I was still seeing the psych, and I told him about my canceled appointment of the next day. He asked me two questions. Two. And then said that I should talk to the psych about treating me for trauma, as I am showing signs of a PTSD. My mom being ill and supporting mom throughout everything she went through was a traumatic experience, and according to him that had to be treated first.

Suddenly, all the puzzle pieces I had up in the air since before I canceled my appointment with the psych fell in place.

I knew what I missed. Deep down I knew already, but couldn’t put it in words.

I want to talk about what happened. Not the part of my mom passing away, but everything that happened before that. My mom being sick, my husband’s health, the care I had for mom, the care I had and still have for my husband and losing my brother. Two questions made me realize that I there are other things I have to work through before I could allow my grief for mom’s passing.

Grief doesn’t only come when someone has passed away, but one also griefs when a live has changed significantly from what it was before. I grief for the pain Master T is in, for him not being the same as he was before, for him currently not being able to control me, for him being in constant pain, for our lost sex life. I grief for the everything mom has gone through, for not being able to take her pain away. I grief for losing my brother, for him not wanting a bond with me the way I wanted with him. I grief for so many things that it’s blocking my grief for my mom’s passing.

Does that even make sense?

It does to me, but does it come across when I say it like that?

Will I be able to make it clear to the psych? Will she be able to help me.

According to the GP the practice I go to is very good with EMDR treatments, with treating one for trauma.

I have to tell her tomorrow.

Have to admit that I just cannot do her assignment.

Have to ask her to start six months prior to mom passing away.

This is what I missed all this time: talking about the things that led up to mom’s passing, because ever since the day we heard about the cancer (27 January 2017) until the day she passed (12 July 2017) I have switched off my feelings so I could take care of her.

When she passed, I had no idea how to get back to my own feelings.

I need help with that.

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© Rebel’s Notes

Wicked Wednesday

10 thoughts on “Something’s Missing

  1. This absolutely makes sense, Marie. If you’ve been suppressing your grief for ages, it’s no wonder that it’s going to take time to talk through / process each layer one at a time. It’s amazing that your GP redirected you and acknowledges the very real physical impacts of stress and grief! Sending you love and warm thoughts as you start to process all the things you need to. xx

  2. I am always touched by your posts that reference your Mum and your ongoing journey with your grief counselling, not least of all because I suspect it’s something I should have undertaken myself, but never did. I 100% identify with this post though. My Mum suffered from lung disease before her passing and it is the months leading up to her death that I find most upsetting to relive, it is also the memories no one else actually wants to hear, because ‘it’s too upsetting’ so I very much hope your counsellor is open to working through this with you, because I am certain unravelling the feelings you have surrounding the time before your Mum’s passing would be very beneficial. Much love and kindness being sent your way xxx

  3. Oh this made me cry… of course you need to go back further – reading this makes perfect sense, it is always what we experience that creates emotion – so all that went on prior would also need to be addressed. I so understand about the hurt that comes by not having been able to have put things right for others, not helping with their pain etc. Well done your GP – hold on to him x

  4. This definitely makes sense to me and so I hope she understands. Grief and loss are so connected and I think that you are managing so many losses. It is natural that you find it hard to separate them out so that you can process them as they all become one heap. Good luck with the session. I hope that you manage to find something which is a help rather than just being a task to do ❤️

  5. Sending love and best wishes Marie xx

    I wonder if you might find the work of Pete Walker helpful? He identified the effects of layering of different traumas on people. Some of us suffer emotional numbing as a result which might be some of what you are experiencing. I found his book very helpful. More details here should you want them.

  6. Marie, what a hard road you have to climb. It feels to me that you have at least found the start of that road and that seems an important thing to have achieved. My thoughts are with you as you start to put one step in front of the other.

  7. This is so wonderful Marie. You have come to your own realisation about the help you need. The stress of caring, death and dying has an immense effect on us. So much so, that it is difficult to recognise how it has manifested itself. Emotional or physical health and sometimes both affected. I hope the counselor is able to help you xxx

  8. Oh Rebel. You have a very good GP for listening and spotting what may be the root. Hats off to him for being observant. I hope you find the peace you need. You definitely deserve it. Hugs

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