Perhaps, you haven’t started yet but want to know if it really works. Is it a cure? How much money did it cost? Would you go back?
I’ve finished grief counseling, 7 months of it. I will share my experience through the journey and in my current place of reflection.
After losing my Momo, I tried to be strong for a few weeks. Gosh, can we please stop encouraging people to do that when someone they love dies? It’s not helpful. Being “strong“, turned me into a borderline-alcoholic workhorse. I woke up to work and drank to sleep until I crashed. I talk about the details here.
One day, God led me to go to betterhelp.com. I was matched with a black LPC who shared my faith, was very understanding, patient, and I truly feel as though God matched us, not an algorithm.
I attended virtual grief counseling once a week for an hour, with the option to send messages to my counselor via the app whenever. The bad part about the messaging option, is the promotion that you can message anytime but my messages were always responded to late and sometimes not until the day of my session. Still, when I felt truly shattered, I would book a session and sometimes twice in one week. We started with me just talking about Momo. Her mannerisms, the sweetness of her voice and childhood memories.
For the first month of grief counseling, (4 sessions), I could not get through a single story about my Momo without crying. And not just crying, snotting, heaving – it was ugly.
It was also beautiful.
I failed to notice this because, of course, I was the client in severe grief. However, my LPC told me my memories and conversations became more positive. The tears would flow, but a smile would be behind them. Grief counseling also encouraged healthy boundaries with my remaining family. Momo was the glue, foundation and flooring of our family. Without her; Sunday dinners, family meetings, church and holidays would cease to exist, or so I thought. Through grief counseling, I was encouraged to promote personal boundaries that would encourage my family to create new traditions. For example, this year I stayed home for Christmas and cooked a dinner to honor my Momo. The norm, would be for me to drive two hours to be with my family as. my Momo cooked. I could have still driven to see my family, but I found more peace staying to myself so why trigger myself like that? They understood and respected my boundary and in turn, we all had a good holiday.
Triggers were another huge component of my grief counseling experience. I am quite the Little Ceaser’s Pizza…
It doesn’t take much. I know and accept this. The hardest part of discussing triggers in grief counseling was sharing them with those close to me, especially family. In grief, everyone is triggered. After some hurdles, we began to better understand one another. I am the only person who paid a professional counselor for therapy but I truly believe God gave us all grief counseling during that time. My willingness to pay for more help may have just accelerated my healing.
In conclusion, how much did 7 months of grief counseling cost me? An irrelevant amount. I left with many tools and better identification of self. I am encouraged to share and speak out in ways that still terrify me but would’ve given the old me a panic attack.
Grief counseling is not a cure.
It is a step towards self-love.
It is a boundary against fear.