Endings and Loss
There’s an advertisement on TV (not sure for what!) and the scene is in an airport arrivals hall. It’s about people reconnecting (might be for a mobile phone company) and people embracing. It’s about love and starting again. Saying hello. There is something about that scene which never fails to touch me on some deep level inside. Maybe it’s because I recognise the feelings portrayed by these actors. I know how it feels to say hello and to acknowledge how much I have missed someone I care about.
On the other hand, maybe it’s because I also know about how it feels to say goodbye to someone too. I’m going to miss you. We’re not going to see each other again. Maybe I am reminded of all the times I have been at the airport departure hall waving someone off. Goodbye. Have a lovely time. Maybe I’m not going to see you again. Sadness. Loss. Yearning.
How do you feel about endings in general? An ending marks the beginning of a new stage in our lives but can often bring up feelings of loss. Have you ever noticed that you can experience a loss and your feelings seem completely out of proportion? Sometimes clients say that they have been to the funeral of a colleague, someone they hardly knew, and they felt really distressed. They might say something like ‘I can’t understand why I felt so sad. It was worse than when my parents died’. Why is this? Well often a current loss brings up past losses and all the losses we haven’t fully grieved for.
What does this have to do with counselling? Quite a lot really. It is often the poor endings we experience in life that bring us to counselling in the first place. It might be the feelings we have because a partner walks out or the shock at losing a job unexpectedly. No proper ending. Counselling can be a life changing experience. It can help you to come to terms with what has happened in your life and to make some changes. Your therapeutic relationship is important and it can be hard to say goodbye to your Counsellor. Some clients avoid this entirely and don’t turn up for the final session or cancel the appointment. Why not ask yourself what you could learn from the experience of having a proper ending, acknowledging the work you’ve done, saying goodbye and moving on to new beginnings. It just might be the most therapeutic part of the work.
Do I always get it right? No I’m human too. But I know one thing. It’s those bad endings that I think about…..way out of proportion to the good endings.