q – question
A bereaved dad friend told me that when he asked, Why?! His answer became…There is no why.
I’m not sure who it was that said that when they asked Why, they turned it in to…What now? I’m pretty sure that was Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, one of my grief heroes.
There is no why.
These have helped some with those repeated, often terrible, resounding, and unanswerable questions.
Disclaimer – this post has nothing to do with my theme of grad school and everything to do with what I could think of to write about for q.
p – pain
Did you know counseling is not to fix pain? Or solve problems? Or give advice? It is to help people build their capacity to carry their pain, live with their circumstances, and learn skills to work toward solving their problems. We are to be great collaborators and not so great advice-givers.
Sometimes I want a pill to take away my pain.
I guess I’m not alone because look around at the numbing with substances (drugs, alcohol, food), devices (screens), and other things (shopping, perfectionism). Because numbing does not work and causes additional problems, I guess that leaves me with facing this intolerable pain. And developing skills for coping with it.
I’d still rather there be a grief or discomfort pill…
But since there’s not, I’ll…
See my counselor
Be a counselor
Go to a group
Lead a group activity
Participate in Blogging A – Z April Challenge
Plan a trip
Take a road trip with girlfriends
Go on a hike
Get out my mat and do a Yoga with Adriene
Engage in numbing behavior like Facebook
One of my favorite movie scenes:
o – owning
School helped me move toward owning my stuff. Through my grief and school education I am learning to own the freakin’ hard things. I work toward owning my grief, my reality, and my lot. I don’t LIKE it (I can own that); I wish it was different.
We counselors are trained to see what is sped past in the counseling room. The uncomfortable whiffs of topics, the ones that make a person get momentarily small in their chair, smile or laugh, perhaps hide their face behind their hand, or wince for the briefest moment. And name it. And stay there for a tolerable moment. And examine it.
And work toward owning it.
n – numinous
I didn’t know the word before one of my first classes: Spirituality and Counseling.
numinous – adjective
nu·mi·nous | \ ˈnü-mə-nəs
Definition of numinous
1 : SUPERNATURAL, MYSTERIOUS
2 : filled with a sense of the presence of divinity : HOLY
3 : appealing to the higher emotions or to the aesthetic sense : SPIRITUAL
Isn’t it a great word?
Much of my life has an element of the numinous now. After all, my son is “on the other side of the veil.” My Spirituality and Counseling class and entire grad school experience were no exceptions.
We got to share a 5-minute story in class on something numinous we experienced in our lives. I told about a time Kade “threw me” a couple signs—two stars in a row. Briefly, when I was feeling really down on the way to a child loss support group I saw a star illuminated in the foothills at precisely the time I needed it. Then, wondering if it was Kade, or god, or a higher power, or what, I was thrown a second one—an actual shooting star across the view of my windshield. Whelp, that cemented it for me—to me it was a sign that Kade was OK. And somehow, with me.
I loved hearing the other stories of my classmates’ numinous experiences. That class was one of my favorite memories at Regis.
I’d like to hear from you. What is a numinous experience you’ve you had?
Theme: how my graduate school experience impacted my grief and my relationship with Kade.
m – meaning making
Meaning making. This is a big part of grief.
A partner and I presented a research project in our Crisis, Trauma, and Loss class entitled Perinatal and Child Loss. We described Dr. Robert Neimeyer’s emphasis on the concept of meaning making in grief. In his Theory of Constructivist Psychotherapy, he explained how people construct meaning after loss. The role of the therapist is to “listen between the lines” and discern threads that lead to a meaningful future.
In Dr. Joanne Cacciatore’s Selah Model of Grief, the state of meaning is one of the elements in the final of the three steps.
It is a tricky thing, trying to convey meaning making after Kade’s death. I have started and deleted this paragraph several times. Kade did not die so I could find some sort of greater meaning. And, after his death I can find meaning in life. I can find meaning everywhere. Sometimes I feel as if I simply must find meaning.
The fit of grad school and becoming a counselor is a part of my meaning making. I look to my right and see another: Asher. The social justice postcard-writing gatherings I organize are another. And every time I speak my truth. Or do something in Kade’s adventurous spirit, like go whitewater rafting in big water seasons, or climb a fourteener. Meaning is everywhere.
On top of Grays Peak
Kade’s friends, Dylan and Jason, took me on my first fourteener.
l – lens
Because nearly everything in my life is experienced through the lens of grief, my schooling was no different.
I wonder what the program would have been like had I not been bereaved? I chose grief-related topics for many projects. What else might I have gravitated to?
k – kade
Could it be any other word? My classmates knew his name. Some even said they felt as if they knew him a little.