I wanted to share an experience with you and thoughts I have about it. About a half hour ago I got a call from my aunt that a very dear cousin of mine was found dead in her home. I was very close to this cousin and talked to her almost daily on the computer. I am sitting here at work with red soaked eyes. It took me off guard, I wasn’t ready for any news like that. I have a client coming in at 12, that’s an hour from now.
When we as counselors have something so painful happen to us, is it ok to continue to see clients for the rest of the day or should we call it a day and go home. Well, in my case I didn’t even think twice, there is no way I can cancel my clients. As much as I felt I needed to talk to someone about this (I called my dad), I know my clients need to talk about their issues. She had a lot of blood in her brain, they think it was an aneurysm, I don’t know how it will be now that I can’t talk to her every day. She was my mom’s close relative too and helped me through when my mom died, it was comforting talking to her about my mom, she never forgot about her.
I feel sad, however I know I can see the rest of my clients today and be empathetic and helping them helps me too in an odd sort of way. I get such joy out of helping my clients I just can’t cancel out on them. In the past several months several people I have known have died, I thought about these deaths it makes a person think twice about what is really important in life. It touches the core of who I am and from that I draw strength and peace.
I know all about the grieving processes, I think I just went through all the phases in a matter of an hour!! I looked at my client list and know the issues these clients are facing and I want to be fully present to help them. I am sure I can do this today. I guess I just wanted to share feelings I have right now with other counselors, it’s cathartic and I know we all face challenges every day. When something that throws us off course happens we need to know ourselves and judge whether we can be there fully present for our clients or if the answer is no, we owe it to our clients to cancel. I think if I had a client that same hour as I got the phone call, I would not be able to see them, not even two hours after, but the three hours gave me time to collect myself and regain my strength.
Death is a part of life, so is grieving. I just question the circumstances sometimes. Like my dad said, we all have to go sometime, you just never know. I think we need to take every day and tell our loved ones how much we care about them and love them.
These are just some thoughts I had today that I wanted to share.
Kimberly Beck is a counselor and a doctoral candidate with a special interest in Self-injury. Other interests are PTSD, trauma, and Borderline personality disorder