My Mother asked me the other day whether I thought my daughter needed grief counselling. It wasn’t a question; it was a statement designed to make me consider whether I had done the right thing in organising some for her.
This isn’t a dig at my Mother – she is a wonderful and caring soul who only has our best interests at heart. Yet for her, the concept of counselling is anathema. She simply doesn’t ‘get’ the notion of sitting in front of another impartial, trained individual and exchanging dark thoughts for potentially healing ones. She has been through her share of grief – one way or another – and as far as I’m aware has never had more than a small gin and tonic and a blast of Charlie Rich to get her through it.
After M died, I was referred for some counselling through my GP. The first woman I saw practised what is known as ‘person-centred’ counselling. That is to say, we sat in a hot little room for an hour and looked at each other. The next woman I saw was much more my style. I wailed, she offered me practical advice as to how to get through the week until the next time I saw her. She conceded that I would probably cry for M every day for the rest of my life. There was no ‘solution’ to my grief, but it was possible that one day, I may be able to accept that He had gone. We reached a point in our counsellor-client relationship where she couldn’t do anything else for me, but the time we were together was undoubtedly beneficial.
As for my daughter, she is having her first round of grief counselling later today. She doesn’t cry for her daddy, but she does mention Him a lot. Last night, for example, she drew a picture on a piece of paper and rolled it up.
“This is my map to find Daddy,” she said. She unfurled the paper. “Daddy is in the cupboard in a box. Daddy was set on fire.”
Maybe she doesn’t need counselling, but I feel as if I have reached a point in her grief where I can’t do anything else for her.