“Thank you for your courage”

Hey friends! I wrote a post a few months back entitled It’s Okay To Ask For Help. In the post, I explained that I had made the decision to seek counselling through Glendon’s counselling services as I was having a hard time dealing with the death of my Nan whilst keeping on top of my school work.

I had my last session on Wednesday although I didn’t know it at the time that it would be. However, when I sat down in the chair, I explained to my counsellor that I felt that I had gotten the most of the experience and that I didn’t feel as though I would need another appointment.

This is a really great thing for me. It says that I’ve made it through the first year after my Nan’s death and that for the first time in a long time, the gloomy cloud that I had felt around me has lifted.

Going to counselling was a really hard thing for me to do. I’ve always been a very ‘self-sufficient’ person in that I like to do things on my own and I hardly ever want to ask anyone for help with anything. However, the things that I went through are things that most people at my age have not experienced.

Losing a family member changes your life. There will always be a part of you missing when they are missing from your life. From the age of 16 to now as a 21 year old, I had experienced losing three close family members and several family friends in a 6 year period.

What I took out of counselling the most was understanding what grief is and not what it is expected to be or look like. I always questioned whether other people looked to how I was acting to gauge how affected I was by the death of my Nan and in consequence, worried that I wasn’t showing the “usual” signs of grief.

However, counselling taught me that grief looks more like waves in that moments of grief come and go. When I recognized that this was exactly how I was experiencing grief, I felt relieved that I was, in fact, experiencing it in a way that others do – because the way it is portrayed on TV and in movies is usually incorrect.

More than that, counselling taught me that I am who I am today because of the person my Nan was and what she meant to me – I am most definitely her granddaughter. I’m very much like her in the way that I am tenacious, strong-willed, independent and also, in the way that I am confident in the person I am. She was a Queen in her own right and I can only hope that one day, I am respected and thought of by others as she was.

Seeking help was one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was me saying that I wasn’t having the easiest time with everything going on in my life and that I was willing to open up to somebody about the hardest times in my life. I’ll never forget that my counsellor ended our session with thanking me for my courage. It reflected how she felt that my actions were brave and that I should probably see it that way as well.

In other news, I was accepted into the post-graduate Public Administration program that I applied to – happy times! 2015 already feels like it’ll be a better year and it’s only February. Remember, you can always tweet me @beckielhgl or comment on this post with questions and comments.

Until next week!


It’s okay to ask for help

Hey friends! This week’s post is going to be a little bit different from my past few but I think it’s one that will allow you all to know me a little bit better. In January of this year, my Nan passed away. Although she had been sick for a few years with esophageal cancer, her death came unexpectedly. We were very close and she was (and always will be) somebody whom I idolized.

NanI had never returned to England since we had emigrated in 2004. The idea to take the trip struck me unexpectedly but I’m so glad that it did. I can say without a doubt that going to England in 2012 was the best decision I have ever made. I got to re-establish a relationship with my Nan. She had visited Canada a few times but the last time I had seen her was when I was fourteen and in 2012, I had just turned nineteen. Needless to say, the trip was a sort-of “coming of age” experience. Spending that time with her helped me to have an idea of what kind of person I wanted to be.

When I returned from England, I vowed to my Nan that I would call her every Monday. And I did. I loved talking to her on the phone. I loved talking about her to my friends and family. She was this amazing person who I wanted every person to know about. I loved to make her laugh and I like to think that our conversations took her mind off of everything that was going on with her health. I really did love to brag about my relationship with her, I’ll admit it!

When she passed, I was in the middle of getting ready to take my Canadian citizenship test and starting a new semester at Glendon.  To be honest, I had a really hard time trying to figure out how to handle it all. I’m very much like my Dad in the sense that I try to keep going on with things as best as I can. And I did just that – I went straight back to school. It was difficult, of course. I was trying to balance staying on top of school with trying to understand and express my grief at the same time. I finished the semester and my grades went unaffected but January to April was a really difficult time for me.

When I started back at Glendon in September, I felt that maybe accessing the personal counselling services at Glendon would help. My Nan’s death was not the first time that I had lost somebody close to me. I had an Uncle whom I was very close to pass in 2009 and sadly, a few weeks into starting back at school in September, my cousin suddenly passed away. All of these had happened whilst I was in school and when my cousin passed, I knew that I really needed some help. This was not an easy thing for me. Much like my Nan, I’m a pretty independent person and I don’t like asking for help. But I’m extremely thankful that I did.

It’s not easy to ask for help. I’ll be honest, I e-mailed the counselling services to set up an appointment and when they returned my email asking for availability, I ignored the e-mail for about a week. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to go through with it because I didn’t know if it would even help me. However, I’ve had two appointments now and I’m finding that talking to somebody who really is there to listen to what I have to say is incredibly beneficial. It’s a way to organize and understand your thoughts and feelings so that you can take care of yourself a little bit better. I’m planning to continue with counselling throughout the year so I may make a post here and there with an update on how it is going.

The important thing that I really want to put out there is that it is okay to ask for help. For any number of reasons, you may feel that you need to speak with somebody about something going on in your life. This is a really brave thing to do. It’s essential that we take care of ourselves and asking for help may be a way of doing that. All in all, I’m really happy with my decision to make an appointment with Glendon’s personal counselling services because I feel like I took a pro-active step in dealing with grief in my life.

Keep up with me on twitter @beckielhgl. I post every Thursday, see you then!