I am finding it very difficult to know what to reflect on within this learning journal. After having 3-weeks away from the counselling course over Christmas, I am left with only those memories of Christmas, which are somewhat depressing. I am trying to somehow link this experience to my course for the purpose of this journal, but the feelings are still very ‘raw’ and I am lacking focus.
My mother passed away on 29th December 2011 and we had her funeral on Thursday 12th January 2012. Not the best start to the year. The funeral was the hardest part. The reality of the situation never truly hit me until I was on my own after the funeral.
While we were at the funeral it started to become more real. I didn’t want them to close the curtains around my mum’s coffin. That seemed too final. I needed to keep looking at it, so that she was still there. The person who held the service did read out some words for me, which helped me feel closer to my mum during the service.
Afterwards, everything was far too chaotic for me to process everything. People who attended the funeral came and spoke to me and then it was so busy at the wake. I felt overwhelmed and wanted to get away, but had to socialise with people. This was difficult and made feel quite angry, an emotion that I usually avoid at all costs. I was angry because I wanted to be on my own and to process my thoughts. In many ways, I felt like these people who were surrounding me were stopping me from grieving. I hope that doesn’t make me seem selfish or ungrateful. Social situations have always been difficult for me, but especially during this emotional time where I felt that my space to be with my mother in my thoughts was being invaded.
When I was finally on my own, it hit me out of the blue . . . so very hard. It was physically painfully and continues to be physically painful. My emotions are everywhere. Sometimes I can just get on with what needs doing, while other times I need to sleep. I am thinking about my mum a lot, questioning the ‘what if’s’ and ‘if only’s.’ I have sadness, regret, guilt, pain, anger, emptiness, and so much more. I can’t stop listening to the music we chose for the funeral. It is like it brings me closer to her. That is all I want as I miss her so much.
Something I have learnt is that people grieve in many different ways. We all deal with loss in the best way we know how. Something we all have in common is that we will all lose someone through death. However, despite this commonality, we will all deal with it in different ways. There is no right or wrong way to deal with the loss of a loved one. This is something I will take with me into my counselling training, recognising the differences between myself and others during a time when respect of individuality is essential for healing.