The only way is through


When I was working as a grief counsellor people would bring their pain to me, lay it at my feet and ask me – for just a while – to take it, manage it, deal with it, hear it. Some would ask for a form of release – a way to beat the pain, escape the grief. They would ask for assistance to make it hurt less, abate for an instant. They would question my understanding, looking for tips, tricks – anything that would provide a balm for what they were feeling. These are some of the times when I felt most helpless in my work – because of course I had nothing I could offer them. And they knew this.
For each of them I had the same response – the only way is through. There is no around, under, over, to the side – the only way is through. Each of them knew this deep down – but when pain is so great, so unimaginable in its magnitude the sane human response is to want it to end. To go away. To be gone.
I haven’t experienced the depths of losses and grief that some of my clients have but in the past few months I’ve been making my own first hand discovery about the inevitability of needing to “go through” a tough time.
I’ve been in a place, in situations, that I haven’t wanted to be in. I haven’t wanted to face. I’ve wanted to be somewhere, sometimes anywhere, else. I’ve wanted to escape. I’ve wanted the tough times to just bloody be over and me to be on the other side, where the grass is always greener and the pain and struggle is behind.
The reality is that going through takes time, it takes energy and resources and patience. It needs close friends to lean on. It is far from easy. It hurts. It makes you cry. It makes you tired and frustrated. It isn’t fun.
Once the effort and energy is expelled,
Once the supports have been gathered and leaned on,
Once some clarity is found,
Once the tears have been wept,
Hopefully then there can be some peace.
A time for rest before the next tough time rises up and you need to go through all over again.


2 Comments on The only way is through

  1. Laurelle
    February 3, 2016 at 4:31 pm (2 years ago)

    So true Karen, I so resonate with your post. There is only through, facing it, feeling it and it’s a very challenging role to counsel people going through devastation and loss. Lovely to read, thank you

    • Karen
      February 4, 2016 at 4:21 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting Laurelle – I truly appreciate it. I know that the “going through” has to happen but I don’t always enjoy it!


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