Google Poem: “Unexpected Grief”

This week’s poetry assignment was to look up a subject on Google and write a poem based on your findings.  The past week and a half has been an emotional one.  I am not exaggerating when I say that I walked into my counseling office last Monday and was in tears from the moment I crossed the threshold until – oh, about 10 minutes ago.  (Okay, maybe that last part was an exaggeration.  Sort of.)   At any rate, I chose to do my Google poem on grief because that is so much what I am feeling regarding the end of counseling with A.

Also, it’s really long.  Sorry.  How a girl who grew up on Emily Dickinson and Shakespearean Sonnets became so terribly long-winded is beyond me. 
Actually, that’s a lie. I blame a college-era love affair with the likes of Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg.


Unexpected Grief

Reaction to a tragic loss?

Who would have ever thought a year ago
when I stepped into your office –
full of bravado, so sure that I didn’t need you or your help —
that I would ever grieve the day we said goodbye?

You told me in January that you’d be gone in August
But at that point, I couldn’t have cared.
At that point, you still hadn’t threatened to
Throw me off your service —
For noncompliance —
For a disease that raged underneath the surface,
which you felt unqualified to treat.

So I tried –
Complied –
Sure that somehow,
my compliance would negate your pregnancy
And we could keep counseling until I was well.
Or fixed.
Or something.

I waited until the last possible moment
to get an appointment with the new counselor.
Ignoring your growing belly, your kindly reminders
that I needed to make an appointment — with her.

(anger and bargaining)
Sometime this summer,
it hit.
And I prayed (whined),
reminding God that THIS is exactly the reason I don’t get attached.
People leave and it hurts like hell.
I make a deal with the snake in the tree and touch forbidden fruit.
Relapse is unproductive if your goal is recovery –
but helpful if your goal is avoiding pain.

I finally told you about the relapse,
about how I was pre-emptively grieving the loss.
You seemed surprised.
Hell, I was too.
The first time I shed a tear in your office,
We’re not talking about the suicide attempts,
the neglect or abuse of my past –
We’re talking about the day when I walk into the office
And you’re not there.

In our last session,
you tell me you’re proud of me.
Of the progress I’ve made and the work I’ve put in.
I, who sat stoically on your couch for 12 months,
now cannot stop the tears.
I thank you, acknowledge the role you played in my recovery.
The role that you will continue to play, as so much of the voice in my head
is now your voice – encouraging, questioning, caring.

And in a step
that would have been too difficult a year ago,
I trust you
when you say that this season together was ordained –
and the next –with her — is too.


5 thoughts on “Google Poem: “Unexpected Grief”

  1. This is beautiful. I had a very similar relationship with my first therapist, Leslie, and when I left her it was never the same. However, I have found help and great insight from the other two professionals I have worked with (for a shorter time and on a less intense basis.) I can never get the same thing I had with Leslie but I am SO grateful that God allowed me to have that relationship as my starting point.

    • Your last sentence sums up my feelings so perfectly — I have NO doubt that God orchestrated this past year with A. It wasn’t always comfortable, but I really needed someone that was willing to call me out on my crap, ask to see more, and keep pursuing me even when I was borderline abusive, and certainly hurtful. There are not words to describe how special this woman is — I just wish I knew how to tell her!

  2. Pingback: Sorrow and Suffering | A Wilderness Love Story

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