Another teacher and I walked into the hotel, and saw two signs for conferences -- one for the teacher one we were going to, and another for...
Helping Your Clients Cope With Grief.
For a second I thought, "Wow, I could get a two for one sale here."
But, I diligently filed into the teacher one, and soon discovered that there were some A/V issues.
First, the microphones went in and out. But the presenters were teacher-type people, so who needs a microphone? Not them, so they ditched the amplification.
But then, the weirdest thing happened.
Our presenters were speaking, and at the same time, our speakers started broadcasting a low-toned, friendly, calm voice.
A voice that said, clear as day:
You will have a client who has grief resurface in a very real way, who will say, "Hey, I thought I DEALT with that grief, but here it is again!" You need to help your client realize that there is no endpoint for grief.
Whoa. It was very distracting, because not a week or two ago I had that very experience, when a photo brought back to me the moment of realizing that a tiny black and white picture with a void and a blip was all I'd probably ever have of a pregnancy, of that soul-ripping loss of what-could-have-been, and it was all triggered by something seemingly so innocuous. And I thought, briefly, "I still can't be this upset, that was YEARS ago... how can my grief still be so palpable when I am clearly on another path?" What is WRONG with me?
That snippet of the grief conference faded in and out and then everyone turned off their mics and we were left without tips on how to cope with grief in addition to how to engage our students in challenging creation.
I hope though, that I wasn't the only one to catch the somewhat subliminal message. How we deal with grief is personal, and it ebbs and flows, no matter what the loss is. So many people have this preconceived notion that grief has a timeline, that there are neat and tidy stages that you move through in a linear fashion and then it is merely a dark spot, a blemish in your tree rings, evidence of a trauma that happened in the past but shouldn't really affect you now. That's a lie. Those stages are real -- the denial, the anger, the bargaining, the sadness, the acceptance...but they don't necessarily stay in that order, and you can return to them over and over and over. It can be a physical trigger that brings it back, or just a sad day where your thoughts turn inward and you realize that your grief is lying there, buried, and needs a little airing out so it doesn't fester. Accepting your grief doesn't mean that you don't feel it anymore, you just don't feel it quite so viscerally, all of the time.
|Stole this from Pinterest, so not quite sure who to give credit to, but it's pretty damn accurate.|
That A/V mess-up in my conference was such a great reminder -- because that therapist's soothing voice cut through everything else to deliver a message that grief can and will pop up, and that's okay and even normal, if surprising (sort of like having the topic of grief wend its way through the speakers at a teaching conference). A reaffirmation that what happened two weeks ago that threw me into a major funk is NOT a sign that I am not adjusting well to my new reality, or that I am not committed to my chosen path to parenthood, or that I haven't "dealt" with my grief well enough, but that I will continue dealing with the loss of that baby that would have been half me and half Bryce from time to time and THAT'S OKAY. That there's no expiration date on those kinds of feelings. That grief is a process, a personal process that doesn't follow a scripted path.
How lovely to receive a message of validation in the strangest of places, in a moment of crossed wires and shared conference space.