Thursday, 4 February 2010

It's Never too Late For Counseling

I had counseling for my bereavement 2 years ago, 21 years after my Mum died.

My Mum had been ill for two years when she died. I didn't know she was going to die, I had been sheltered from the harsh truth, although I knew she was very poorly.

When Mum died, there was a general feeling amongst the family of relief. As an adult I can see why. Everyone had watched my Mum suffering and in pain with terminal cancer. She was no longer suffering.

I on the other hand was confused. I cried, most evenings, and we all talked about my Mum, but the families relief turned into a lets get on with it attitude and that's what we did.  I suppose I just got carried along with everyone else.

I felt a bit silly when I first contacted Cruse 21 years after Mum had died, but they assured me that is never too late to get help.  They put me in touch with a local bereavement charity and I was put on their waiting list.  4 weeks later I was matched with a counselor, Emily.

Emily and I would meet once a week and I would talk and cry. After 21 years I had a lot to talk about and a lot of tears!  I would go home after each session feeling, somehow, lighter.  

Our sessions ended when Christmas came along and a series of events meant that we were unable to meet. It was then that I decided I was alright and didn't need to go anymore. I think I was probably wrong about that and should have continued. I am looking into going back to counseling. 

Here are a couple of charities that I believe could have helped me and my family if they had been around when I'd suffered my loss;

Winston's Wish, the leading children's bereavement charity believes that the right support at the right time can help young people to live with their grief and build positive futures.

The Way Foundation offers friendship and support to young bereaved people. They help widows and widowers rebuild their lives after the death of a partner.

I would advise anyone in a similar situation to go for counseling and get help sooner rather than later.  I think it could have made a big difference to my life.

The Fear

I often get struck by thoughts of 'what if?'. What if I die suddenly? What if I get cancer?

These thoughts grip me by my throat and sit in my chest, they make my heart race. They tell me that one day I might die and leave my children motherless.

Just like me.

That they will go through life in pain, bereft and wondering all the time what it would be like if life were different.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear. I drank too much, I smoked. When I was a teenager I put myself in a few situations which I now look back on and think 'how stupidly dangerous'. Every so often I would have freefall episodes where I would see how far I could push it. I was rebelling, taunting death 'come and get me'.

Before I had the children I didn't have the fear, now it is ever present. Most of the time I am able to ignore it, push it away. I am, in the main, a rational person and I know that life is for living, not for worrying, but in times of stress it's there and it won't go away.

The fear is that one day I will not be here for them, to kiss their heads goodnight and tell them I love them, and I never want them to know what that feels like.