Thursday, 4 February 2010

It's Never too Late For Counseling

I had counseling for my bereavement 2 years ago, 21 years after my Mum died.

My Mum had been ill for two years when she died. I didn't know she was going to die, I had been sheltered from the harsh truth, although I knew she was very poorly.

When Mum died, there was a general feeling amongst the family of relief. As an adult I can see why. Everyone had watched my Mum suffering and in pain with terminal cancer. She was no longer suffering.

I on the other hand was confused. I cried, most evenings, and we all talked about my Mum, but the families relief turned into a lets get on with it attitude and that's what we did.  I suppose I just got carried along with everyone else.

I felt a bit silly when I first contacted Cruse 21 years after Mum had died, but they assured me that is never too late to get help.  They put me in touch with a local bereavement charity and I was put on their waiting list.  4 weeks later I was matched with a counselor, Emily.

Emily and I would meet once a week and I would talk and cry. After 21 years I had a lot to talk about and a lot of tears!  I would go home after each session feeling, somehow, lighter.  

Our sessions ended when Christmas came along and a series of events meant that we were unable to meet. It was then that I decided I was alright and didn't need to go anymore. I think I was probably wrong about that and should have continued. I am looking into going back to counseling. 

Here are a couple of charities that I believe could have helped me and my family if they had been around when I'd suffered my loss;

Winston's Wish, the leading children's bereavement charity believes that the right support at the right time can help young people to live with their grief and build positive futures.

The Way Foundation offers friendship and support to young bereaved people. They help widows and widowers rebuild their lives after the death of a partner.

I would advise anyone in a similar situation to go for counseling and get help sooner rather than later.  I think it could have made a big difference to my life.


  1. Hugs!

    That is tough. I do know from a friend who lost her mother young that the biggest thing she complained about was that no one talked to her about it. Like she didn't matter, like she didn't have to grieve.

    It seems you had a bit of that as well.

    One thing I only learned in the past few years. (this is the opposite but applies for kids as well I think) Do not hide serious illness from your parents. They have the right to spend time with you when you are ill and if heaven forbid you should not make it-they need time to accept that and say good byes.

    With kids too-when there is a life threatening situation it should not be hidden from them-they need to understand at their level.

    Lots of hugs and am hoping you get more counseling if you need it.

    I have another friend who lost her father suddenly in a car accident and she also first got therapy 20 years later cause that's when she needed it.

    Good luck!

  2. Another excellent post. I cannot agree with you more. I work as a nurse in the ICU and helping families with loss is unfortunately a large part of my job. It is not just dealing with families of people who pass away but also people who are recovering but will never be the same again due to head, spinal, and other injuries. There is grief for who that person once was as well.

    There are excellent counselling services out there that really do help. It is never too late. Please seek help should you need it, you'll be very glad you did.

  3. A very interesting post. A lot of people often think they don't need to talk to someone about the grief they experience, even if the loved one died suddenly. It happened to me. My dad died in 2001 and I shed a lot of tears but never really talked about it. I always felt silly. My sister moved on (she's quite hard) and my brother didn't seem to grieve at all. My mum was naturally devastated but she has a lovely partner now and her life has totally changed.

    I however, still struggle. I cried only last night when listening to Elgar's Nimrod which we played at his funeral. I look at his photograph every day and ask "why". He was ill, he just collapsed after 2 massive heart attacks and that was it.

    Thank you for this post, it's been very helpful.

    CJ xx

  4. I'm feeling the weight of it all this week with Mother's Day looming.

    I only ever had one NHS assessment counselling session a couple of years ago and because of various things, never ended up getting the 6 week course I waited over 18 months for. I don't think the counsellor and I were very well matched anyway but that's another story.

    I think of you feel you need to talk more then you know it's the right thing to do. I hope you find someone who can help you feel 'lighter' again.


  5. It's good to know that these charities exist and have helped tons of people. Bereavement is sometimes seen as taboo, specially for grown up, but I couldn't disagree more, it is a necessary pain.
    Thanks for sharing.

  6. I have to agree it is never too late for councelling. Although I had a fait amount of councelling when my dad died due to the circumstances being unusual, it was only when I was a mum that I reallt felt the loss and I had councelling again.

  7. Oh this made me cry. My dad died when I was 21, so 21 years ago. I was at uni at the time (in the US) and had to come home. I got the leaflets from Cruse, I had counselling at my UK uni but I found it difficult that she didn't say anything, she just let me cry. I was the one who had to hold everything together as others around me crumbled and that's so hard when you're trying to deal with a loss too.

    So I've never got round to having counselling. I know people may think it's strange but I've had some support from my psychic friend - it's probably nonsense but it does help. But I think you're right, it's really good to talk to someone who isn't connected to you. I know it helped other members of my family to cope. So if you feel you should go back then I hope you do.

    Ironically my mum is a retired pyschotherapist, go figure.

  8. I am sorry, I've never lost anyone close to me. I don't know what this sort of loss feels like. But it sounds very tough and as if you do still have a lot to work out. I hope that one day you do reach a point of peace.

  9. I've just found your serious blog and have, in a way, enjoyed reading it (through some tears). I think counselling needs to be rebranded. For whatever reason, there's a bit of a stigma around it. It definitely helped me but I used to say I was going to see someone who gave me an excuse to talk about Monkey, rather than saying I was having counselling. Keep writing x

  10. Thank you thank you thank you for writing this blog.
    I have NEVER read something and related to it more.
    My mum died of cancer when i was 7 and since then my dad remarried a violent woman, had another child, divorced, had a few girlfriends, is now with another woman and it seems like I have never had the opportunity to just think about my Mum.
    You are so right in saying it is a "Mum shaped hole". It is particulary hard on days like Mother's day, but it is also hard during the little moments. The moments when you hear about a friend talk about a bag she borrowed off her Mum, the moment you hear someone say "bye mum, love you lots" on their mobile, the moment you have some good news and you wish you could tell her.
    My mum has been gone since 1992 and I feel awful and sad so often. I thought I would stuid for going for councelling so long after but since this post I am going to consider it.
    Thank you for being so honest, and putting don in writing, what so many of us who share in your loss, exactly what it feels like.
    I will be following you blog and sending good thoughts to you.
    Louise xxxxxxxxx

  11. I have just read your article in Company and finally feel like im not alone.
    I was 8 years old when I found my father dead after a Heroin overdose. Although, my father was not an addict.
    And this is the first time that I have ever wrote that down.
    I am now almost 21 and still feel lost.
    Very few of my friends know. And my family rarely speaks about him, I just dont know how to.
    Whenever people ask about him I clam up and have no idea what to say, I usually try to turn the question or avoid it completely just so I dont have to say it out loud.
    I was diagnosed with depression early 2009 and had counselling following that, although at first I had no idea why I was depressed or what I was supposed to talk about with a counsellor.
    I began my first serious relationship almost 2 years ago and my counsellor suggested that letting a man close to me again for the first time since my fathers death could have been a trigger.
    My counselling was 12 years after my fathers death but I still feel that it was the best thing I could have done. After an hour of talking and crying the world seemed like a better place, I felt like a weight had been lifted off me.
    I definitely agree that it is never too late for counselling.

  12. Hey, Just stumbled upon your site via your funny site. This post hit me like a mirrored nightmare. My Mum died of cancer when I was 25, I am now 37 and I still ache without her. I always knew it would hit me hardest when I had kids. My beautiful Pickles is now two and it certainly hit hard after she was born. Some days are an awful struggle. Some days, I smile at Mums picture and move forward.
    I also have a Mum shaped hole, and its huge.
    Nice to find your site though.
    Take great care
    Jay Marie