Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Maybe this is for me more than anyone else, but I hope someone else will benefit from it.

I have been a mental health counselor (LCSW) for over 20 years. I have experienced the death of a wife and a child. Emmalee's death was much more painful that Camille's death. My kids felt the opposite. Their mom's death was more painful. We all experience death differently. Why does anyone have the right to judge how much pain we should feel or for how long?

I have heard other counselors say, "That person needs to move on or let go. It is time to get on with life."

To some degree this is true. We can't allow a loss to consume us and put us in a pit of despair. However, that doesn't mean it is wrong to cry, feel sad or remember our loved one and feel the familiar twinge of pain associated with this loss. The other day I heard a counselor say, "It has been four years since her husband died, why is she still crying over it?"

I believe this is the wrong attitude to have. It tells this woman that she is defective in some way for crying four years after her husband died. Why can't we still feel the pain 20 years agter a loss? As a counselor I may have had this attitude when I was young and inexperienced. I now know that grief is messy and there are no rules that govern it. Whatever we feel it is okay.

I took my son to the MTC today in preparation for his 2 year mission to West Virginia. It was a great experience. I know I will communicate with him through letters and hear from him over the phone twice a year. With Emmalee I will not see her again or communicate directly with her until the resurrection. Today's departure of Matt was a breeze compared to losing Emm. I hope that doesn't sound rude? It is just a perspective.

I say let's grieve our losses and experience them and be okay with the emotions that come up relating to our loved ones death. Don't feel bad for crying years after a loss.