schoolpsychnerd: (freud)
[personal profile] schoolpsychnerd
"The Psalmist said that in his affliction, he learned the law of G-d. And in truth, grief is a great teacher, when it sends us back to serve and bless the living. We learn how to counsel and comfort those who, like ourselves, are bowed with sorrow. We learn when to keep silent in their presence, and when a word will assure them of our love and concern."

I didn't want to learn this lesson in the year after it happened. I didn't want to grieve. I didn't want to learn from it. I didn't want to have been affected by this experience. And my father and his actions, all of them, are a part of who I have become. Grieving for me is in part a process of learning how to give up control. It's learning to radically accept that this is where I am at when I feel it. Some days it's easier to do that than others. Some days I can make space for it, listen to songs that remind me of him, and speak about my grief to others. Other days it's harder. I can feel the tightness in my chest and shove it away, telling myself it was too much. It happened 4 years ago now. Statute of limitations expired! Then I smile wryly to myself and say like I would to a student "You said the statute of limitations had expired after a week. It's ok". 4 years seems both not that long ago and forever ago.

And yet this year I saw vividly laid out for me some purpose in this pain, that I had learned to counsel and comfort those who, like me, were bowed with sorrow. A student had their parent's partner who had been with them for most of their life leave suddenly towards then end of the school year. A day or two after it happened, the student had group with me and another student who had lost their father before the school year started. I felt my own comfort with silence and speaking, my student who had lost their father said "This is probably the best room to be in, Ms. Pitt and I know something about losing someone suddenly." and I was able to respond when asked appropriately and say "I really identified with what you said about how weird it feels to laugh or do "normal" things. It's like we want it but when we get it, it feels so different than it used to feel that we can't deal". Kid who hadn't eaten much in a week then proceeded to eat at least 4 cookies and smile and laugh with us. We also sat quietly when we needed.

My dad's death continues to teach me when to be silent and when to speak. My comfort with silence can actually freak some of my students out, but I've learned that when anyone has big feelings, sometimes the best course of action is to sit with them, in silence, and let them start the conversation. Thank you to all of you who have offered me comfort and support in a multitude of forms. If I am as put together as people have been telling me, it is due in no small part to the incredible love that I'm surrounded with, the way you all share your sparks of what I may call something divine with me and the world.
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