Friday, December 4, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Good Grief

One of the things this year that has brought me so much hope is my new ability to ask and receive help. By nature, I am not good at asking for help, though I am fantastic at providing it. A few weeks ago I told my friend, Rob, about my strong desire to make all of the change I've been through this year into a positive experience. I want to look back on 2009 and see that it was a decisive, magical turning point in my life. Enter, Brian.

Early on in my life, I spent a number of years in therapy to acquire tools to help me handle certain aspects of my childhood in a healthy way. They've served me well for 33 years and now I need some new tools to help me manage a whole new set of challenges. Brian is a social worker by training who has an incredible gift for helping people to get the most out of the lives they have to help them achieve the lives that they want. He sets about his work with the desire to help people turn their experiences and dreams into action. He is exactly the kind of person I need right now.

I began my weekly sessions with him today and because I am so open about my life's circumstances, we were able to get to the root of our work together very quickly. It helps that I found Brian based on Rob's strong recommendation. Because I trust Rob, I immediately trusted Brian. Because I trust myself and know how I want my life to take shape, it was easy to ask someone as knowledgeable as Brian for help. And so, it begins...

Being a forever student, I asked for homework at the end of our session. "I want you to be still and allow the feelings of loss you've had this year to surface. You're so busy getting away from grief that you never really look it in the eye and see how it can actually help you." True, and scary, and difficult, and necessary. I was so concerned about getting through my losses this year that I didn't stop to look around and see what they really had to offer me. I just wanted to be done, and in my desire to be done, I forgot to let myself grieve. I took a "well that happened so now get on with it" approach without letting myself say "that was frightening and sad, and I'm going to miss those things and people in my life."

Grief is difficult; suppressed grief eventually becomes unbearable and makes itself a nuisance and makes us tired. With Brian's help, I'm going to figure out how to make grief serve me well.


Laura | The Journal of Cultural Conversation said...

You truly are great at providing help to others, and have been to me. It's hard to ask - so hard - but the people around you who really count, in my experience, will always provide what you need in some form. And those are the ones that last a lifetime. Thanks for always being a great help to me!

Christa said...

Right back at ya, Laura! Grief is such a powerful, under-rated tool that I want to learn how to use effectively to promote change, for myself and for others. We'll see how the journey goes!