Creating my map: bringing out grief 

Bea has the little blue table in front of the sofa when I arrive today. She has my map, pencils and pens and markers spread out and ready to go. For some reason, that makes me a little anxious, but I say hi and take my normal place on the sofa. 
“Good morning,” she smiles at me, “and hello Hagrid,” she greets the doxie, too. He wags his tail, 100 miles per hour, happy to be acknowledged. Then he hops up next to me. 
We talk about the upcoming meeting with the school for a few minutes. I’m nervous about it, but well prepared. Bea reassures me that I’ve planned well, and have good people on my side. Then, we unroll my map, and I look at it. 
“We just need to add me, my brother, our kids. Then my mom’s side,” I say. 
“Okay,” Bea says, moving her chair to the side of the table. 
I add myself, and my brother, our spouses and children. 
“You could add your ages,” Bea suggests. 
I add in our ages, and then move over to other family members, adding age if I know it. When I get to my Grandpa, I pause. I finally write 79. 
Bea looks over at me, and then says gently, “He was 79?” 
I nod. “Yes. That October…the last..well.” And I shake my head. 
She lets silence sit between us for a moment, but it’s okay, it’s like she is giving me space. I can’t say anything more, though. When Bea realizes that, she says softly, “I’ve noticed you’ve had a hard time placing a line through his circle.” She doesn’t say anything more, just lets me know that she has seen me, and knows I’m still having a hard time with his loss. 
I nod. It’s all I can do. I don’t know what to say. He turned 79, and I turned 30. I turned 31 and he should have turned 80. I’m turning 32 this year and he should be turning 81. But he’s gone. And it’s not fair. 
I think there is some dissociation going on, because things are a bit blurry and floaty feeling. I’m not sure what Bea is saying, and I mechanically draw in my Mom’s parents, and her siblings. 
Bea’s voice finally breaks through the fogginess. “Do you think that maybe because of your Grandpa’s breakdown, he was more open and that’s why he was a safe person for you?” 
I slowly shake my head. “No…I didn’t know about his breakdown when I was little.”
“When did you know? How did you find out about it?” 
I stare at the map. Someone is missing from my father’s side. Well, two someones, really. My Dad’s eldest brother is on the map. But I did not add his wife. And because I didn’t add his wife, I couldn’t add my cousin. Ugh. I don’t want to discuss my aunt. But because I didn’t add her, that will jump out at Bea. Damn it. 
“My aunt told me, when I was older. So, I asked my mom if it was true, and she confirmed it was. And then we never spoke of it again.” 
Bea doesn’t ask which aunt. I breathe a sigh of relief. She probably assumes my Dad’s sister. 
“Maybe you didn’t know in words, as a child, but you sensed it. You knew there was authenticity there, safety there,” Bea suggests. “And, maybe something in your grandpa knew you needed a secure base, so he provided that for you.” 
I nod. Maybe. I like the idea of that. That he knew I needed him, so he was there. And he always was there, every time, he never failed me. I miss him. And Even though it’s been almost two years, I’m not ready to accept his death. A part of me– maybe even most of me– is just now starting to grieve. 
                                                My grandpa❤️ 


14 thoughts on “Creating my map: bringing out grief 

  1. He sounds like a sweet person. Grief is really painful and it makes sense that you’re having difficulty letting him go and accepting he isn’t physically here anymore. xx


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