So my visit went as good as it could I suppose. I filled out about 3 sheets of paper. My history, what I think happened, and what I want from my sessions. We started talking about why I feel sad. What happened to my dad (the specifics around his death) and again what happened for Derek. I spoke about the reactions I’ve been getting from people and how I feel like I need to say goodbye or let go, and how I’m not ready to do that. I don’t want to say goodbye to my brother. I already came to the understanding that my dad is no longer with me….but I’m not ready with Derek.
He told me it’s ok to not let go. Wait what!? It’s ok to Not let go… I had to hear him out.
He talked about how we have 2 types of relationships. The physical one and the mental one. Within our mental relationship we hold onto our present relationship with any person, as well as their past interactions, opinions, and memories; and we hold onto a possible future relationship. In our minds, we know that the person will be there for the next gathering or a phone call… just that they will be there.
When someone dies, we lose the physical relationship immediately. It happens at the drop of a “dime” (yes he said that!). The mental relationship takes time to adjust to the changes. Over time, we come to the reality that there will be no future relationship, or possible relationship with the person who died.
When anything tragic happens…the most effective way to move past it, is to accept that it happened. By trying to hide that something happened, it just suppresses the existence of it and makes it impossible to move away from it. If you acknowledge that it happened, beyond your control and beyond your acceptance, but just that it happened. It will be easier to grow from it. The more you know it happened and there is nothing you can or could do to change it… the easier it will be to not feel sad.
Grief takes time to overcome. He said I was facing a bit of an intersection as I am dealing with the loss of my dad and now my brother. He asked me to describe the relationship with my brother. I told him a bit about my whole family history and what sort of memories I have of Derek and what it is that made him special to me.
It’s everything. We were similar in age. He took me under his wing and sincerely cared about me. He didn’t have to, but he did. There wasn’t a time where I doubted his love for me as his wee little sis! I knew that no matter what we would have each other. I know that Johnny is my little brother. David is the quiet one, and well.. Amanda.. I love her to bits, and she’s my crazy sister <3.
With Derek it was different though. We had a friendship. He told my parents that something terrible happened to me, when my other siblings would have kept it a secret. He was there to talk sense into me and to explain my moms reasoning for freaking out about the dishes. He knew how to comfort me when I was sad, and it was real. It wasn’t a matter of hiding my feelings, but just knowing that he was there for me.
I found this bond with my dad as an adult too. I was there for him, and he was there for me. He offered honest opinions of what goes through a guys head. What to expect from people and what it means to be a good man. My dad knew everything about movies and television shows and I loved that. He was the person who introduced me to gaming and I don’t know what I would have done without my many hours of being Link or Toad…
The psychologist also mentioned that often when people die, the living people want to put the person on a pedestal as if they had done no wrong in their life. He said it is vital not to do this, it is important to know that the person was human. They did good things and bad things in their lifetime. Everyone does. By recognizing that they are human, you are able to hold onto their memory in your lifetime and know that they went through the same thing that everyone will eventually go through: death. It is obviously harder, or feels more unfair, to have someone die when their 50 or 30 compared to 90 years. It hurts no matter what, but there is no way to be prepared for someone dying at a younger age.
Apparently it is perfectly normal to imagine the person that died to be walking down the street. Some people make enough dinner and set the table for loved ones who are gone. It takes time. Time for our brains to come to terms what is happening in the physical world.
Sometimes our whole life is connected to shared experiences with family members, and when those family members die… it takes time to acknowledge that and learn to see them in a different way.
He explained that it’s like getting a hair cut. He asked how often I cut my hair… uhm.. never? Then he asked about lll KiRa lll. Hmm… every few months I suppose. He said that we don’t notice on a daily basis that the hair is getting longer, but after some time passes, you notice it. Grief is similar. Every day, and every tear, and every conversation is bringing you closer to some closure.
Was it worth $160 an hour to talk to him. For me… yes. I needed it. I needed an intellectual breakdown of everything that I’m feeling, and to know that in time it’s going to be ok… I am going to be ok.
I think the comment I appreciated and needed to hear the most was that I don’t have to let go.
I don’t have to say goodbye. I can hold onto my mental memories of our past relationship and I can love that he was my brother.
That he is my brother. Here or not. Derek is my brother and I am not going to just let him go. I am going to hold onto every memory (good or bad) and his connection to my life. The same applies with my dad. He is my dad and throughout everything, I know that I will hold a piece of him with me because he is in my heart and in my memories.
It is ok to be sad. It is ok to sit and cry. It is also ok to get out of house and go for a walk. Time will pass and hearts will heal. Our bodies will only let us deal with as much as we can handle before it shuts down. My body is healing. My brain is learning to think differently about my family. My body will stop shaking and my eyes will stop crying.
Thank you to everyone who has been there for me through this. I had no idea how difficult it would actually be.
❤ Midnite Faery