The Grieving Process

“Are you OK?”  There are other ways of checking in on someone, but that just happens to be the most common one. Asking someone are they O.K doesn’t make things better for the person, it just gives the one that’s asking certainty about the person’s being. As for me. I’ll be honest about if I’m fine or not, but i’ll let that person know so they’ll not have to worry about making me feel O.K. “No, I am not O.K” came out faster than the paramedics that Sunday morning when my mom collapsed on dining room floor.

She was admitted to Einstein Hospital around 2pm on Valentines Day. When my dad arrived at the hospital room, the doctors explained that they tried everything the could to bring her to back life. When my dad came back from the hospital I was expecting good news. The words “she didn’t make it”  had me lost, I was confused and angry. I started pointing fingers blaming the paramedics for being late, blaming the doctors at the hospital for not doing the best they could but most importantly myself. I continued asking myself was it the food I gave her that morning to oily or salty? Did I stress her out? I panicked and fell to the floor screaming  because I couldn’t bear with the fact I lost my mother, my other half.
Therapy wasn’t my first option for handling grief. My dad worried about me because I was too quiet. When someone ask about the situation, I would avoid the main subject which was her dying. I would talk about her death as if she had never passed away and she was still alive. I told my dad I prefer talking to him about everything that I felt and that I just need different opinions on how to handle the situation. He suggested for me to go to therapy because they are more professional and have more experience with incidents that deal with grief. I’m not comfortable with the fact that therapy was one of the options because of my trust issues. My views on therapy was that the therapist was only there to pass your personal information on to the next person. The therapist will take your deepest darkest secret and go home to their families, sit down at the dinner table to share their day at work. “ She told me that she says she’s the reason for her mother’s death. Isn’t that ridiculous?”. See what’s ridiculous is taking my trust for granted and that’s the last thing I needed.

My first therapist was someone that understood me. My first session of the three sessions we shared were mostly about what happened and how I felt in the moment. I hesitated at first but I went on with the story and she told me how she felt the same pain when her father passed. I felt more comfortable because not only did she  have a family member that passed away, this family member was her parent. Our first activity together was a goodbye letter I wrote during our second session. The goodbye letter was a source for letting out what you might want to say to the person before they passed. In my letter. I wrote about how my last words shouldn’t of been “I’m sorry” It should of been “I love you” or “I admire you” or “ you’re the best”. She read my letter and asked if I need a moment and I told her no. I felt relieved and more free to say whatever I felt about the situation and how I am dealing with it because we shared similar experiences. My third and final session wasn’t really a session. I arrived to the appointment late and she was heading out the door. “I have been assigned to work for another company. I needed you to be here on time so we can talk about you meeting with the your new therapist. You’re going to receive a phone call from NHS in two weeks to set an appointment. Nice working with you.” Then she left and I was angry. It was bad enough I had trust issues and told my personal business to someone I barely knew. Then that person leaves and takes my business with them to pass it onto the person.

I received my therapist three weeks after I decided I didn’t want to continue going to therapy. I was still stuck on the fact that I opened up to someone and now they’re gone. What possibly could encourage me to continue telling my business to another person who don’t know me besides the fact that I am grieving? I ended going to my appointment anyway because I still wanted different perspectives on how to deal with grief. That Tuesday afternoon, I went to my session and waited twenty minutes into the 1 hour session. The twenty minutes felt like hours and I just wanted to go home. She finally came down and we walked to her room on the second floor. She opened her door and offered me to sit anywhere but I choose the corner because she is a stranger. I sat down and she asked me about the situation but I looked at her like how doesn’t she know about it already. My thoughts were she wanted to hear the story to pass time and that old my therapist didn’t go over the details from the previous sessions I’ve had. I just told her the story because I wanted to see how she feels about it. As she took notes on her computer, I asked what kinds of activities are we going to go over to help with my grieving issue. She told me she had the “5 stages of Grief activity” which is an an article that is going to help with seeing where my emotions lie within the situation. For the next session we went over the 5 stages of Grief which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She had a list of questions and I would answer these questions so that she can see which of my emotions fall under certain category. The results were I was mostly angry at the situation and I was accepting the fact that I was the reason for her death. For the rest of the session we talked mostly about why I feel like I’m the reason. I explained to her I only felt like this because I was there at the moment with her, when she collapsed, when she was taken out of the house, when she was in the ambulance. She told me that it is good that I accepting the fact that she is gone, which really means that I am not in denial about her passing away. She comforted me by telling me that we will work on ways on how not to feel like I am the cause of her death. I went home that night thinking that therapy might not be so bad after all. Maybe putting my trust into my therapist is for the greater good.  I know my mom would have wanted me to give it a chance, now I feel like I’m doing it for us.

Little things in life will lead to bigger things. Having school work, coming home to a house full of people who are loud, helping my little brothers with their school work, cooking dinner, and getting myself together for the next day day are just the little things. The bigger thing in this case, would be maintaining my own lifestyle without out my mom. Setting my opinions and my feelings aside to benefit myself is the best choice I have made so far. What I learned was that putting my pride aside should only be done if I feel comfortable enough to do so. I have also learned that making choices for myself shouldn’t have to start with me being “O.K” it should start with how I want to feel in the end. Trusting my therapist just a little should help with adjusting my trust issues with other people. My mom’s death gives me strength and knowledge to know that I am putting my trust into something for a reason. Knowing that my guardian angel is watching me makes me feel proud to say that “I am going to be O.K”.

Comments (9)

Sydney Rogers (Student 2019)
Sydney Rogers
  1. I learned more about how therapy can actually really help with the grieving process. I also learned about how Lauren has grown and become stronger and how it affected her.
  2. The repetition worked and so did the questions. I liked the questions a lot because they added good stuff to the essay.
Zaire Williams (Student 2019)
Zaire Williams
  1. I learned that Lauren is going through a very upsetting time in her life where she's learning to move on from this tragedy, and taking the opportunity to do that with her therapist.
  2. The technique did work because she keeps saying "OK" made you think even deep about how she was feeling.
Tai-Monae Bailey (Student 2019)
Tai-Monae Bailey

By reading this essay I learned that everyone cope´s differently with grief. I like the way it's written. It has a lot of details and I know exactly how you felt about everything going on. Also, I like how you were very open about what happened.

Avraham Cantor (Student 2019)
Avraham Cantor
  1. I learned that the biggest thing about losing her mother was what came afterward. I thought that that was a very interesting way to write about the death of a loved one and you absolutely knocked it out of the park.

  2. I thought that the use of the phrase "O.K." was very interesting and gave the story a great introduction to the confusion around approaching someone who is dealing with a loss.

Caroline Pitone (Student 2019)
Caroline Pitone
  1. I learned that you are a very mature person and that you have a very wise soul, and that is something many people do not have.
  2. I loved the introduction part, where you lead up the situation with something that correlates with you in that time of your life. Really good work!
Ashton Reigner (Student 2019)
Ashton Reigner
  1. I learned that you are a lot stronger than most people realize. What you went through would have been traumatic for anyone. It's incredible to see that after everything you dealt with, you're able to say you're ok.
  2. I noticed your repetition right away. I think it was used perfectly. I love how you the first line begins the repetition with the question in the first sentence. I also enjoyed how you used your therapy question to story tell. This technique gave me more of a sense of the emotion in that moment.
Deja Winfield (Student 2019)
Deja Winfield

I learned the strength in Lauren to move forward and become the person she is today from the experiences of her past. Lauren went through something very traumatic at a rather young age and went through the very grownup step to help herself.

I believe that the repetition of the word okay was amazing because in the start of the essay you see that fact that she wasn't okay and she made that very clear, but as the essay moves, you see that "okay" becomes real. You can see the stages of grief throughout her essay (except bargaining), you can see how they move through the essay, and I think the word okay really helps move this.

And the questions did help the essay flow so it wasn't just Lauren telling a story.

Naima DeBrest (Student 2019)
Naima DeBrest

I think that your essay techniques worked really well and you really described how you came full circle with the grief that you held. The repetition of the word OK was my favorite. The fact that it started your essay and ended it was strategic and worked well.

Lauren Matthews (Student 2019)
Lauren Matthews

My personal Essay Techniques: - I used repetition with the word "O.K" in my first and last paragraph to introduce and summarize my feelings about my experience. - I asked questions during my therapy sessions to keep the reader engaged in the conversation. I also included questions I asked myself to show my emotions during my process of grieving.