Friday, April 27, 2012

Because it's Friday. And because job searching can be frustrating.

Because it's Friday, and because it's just craziness to always be searching for jobs, I give to you... a fabulous picture for how I feel about job searching.

Class of 2012.  You're welcome.  

I got some good advice this week.  Advice that if I hadn't asked for it from someone who wasn't my supervisor, I would be totally freaking out.  

Go into an interview knowing and being ok with not knowing everything.  Ask good questions.  Be interested and present.  School won't teach you everything, but it has given you a good base.  Be willing to learn, and willing to engage.  Tone yourself down (maybe that's just for me, ha!), but bring your personality.  

Trust your gut, and you'll be fine.  

Here's hoping!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Love forever, family always, strength together.

The unexpected phone calls.

You know, the ones that change life that you knew?

The changes that grip your heart and soul.  The grief, the tears, the longing, the aches.

A little more than one month ago, my cousin, Jaime, passed away unexpectedly.  She was 33.  She had a family, and a little boy, a loving fiance, and a system and collection of friends, and friends that were family, as far as anyone could ever wish to have.

In a world that doesn't seem fair, she was taken too soon.  There are no words that anyone has been able to come up with that seem to comfort those that are left behind.  There is nothing that can make this make sense.  It is shocking.  Jarring.  And unfair.

I had to write a paper this semester about a memorial service for a grief and loss class that I am taking.  I wrote about you, Jaime.  And it was hard.  But I shared it with the class, and now, I am going to share it here.  Or at least, the parts that make sense to share.  Because while it doesn't seem "fair" or "right" that we are all still here, left to go on without you, it is the task we are faced with and given.

"....Due to the unexpected nature of Jaime’s death, it doesn’t feel as though my personal grief has truly begun.  While it was great to have our entire family, including many family members from out of town able to be present for the services, the common theme and the common sentiment was that everyone was still primarily in shock.  It didn’t feel real.  It didn’t seem as though it was truly Jaime laying in the casket that was before me.

       ...As a person who is also actively participating in the grief and loss process currently, it seems as though these services provided a way for me to begin the grieving process.  However, now that it is almost 2 weeks later, the 3 days of calling hours and funeral services, seem to be a blur.  I remember them, but it feels as though it was a dissociative moment, as though I was going through the motions, but that it wasn’t truly happening.  The act of going through the motions truly presented a grasp on the concepts of traumatic grief, as there were no opportunities to say goodbye, no closure on a relationship other than that the person whom you shared a relationship with, is no longer present.
Traumatic grief services provide a chance to come together.  But I feel like it is, at least for myself, such a beginning point in the grieving process that it is more customary than healing.  No one wants to be there, because it is unexpected.  The real work and the real grief comes later.  The breakdown.  The longing.  The deep feelings of loss.  The emptiness.  The sadness.  The day to day living with grief.  The day to day actions of moving forward, with an emptiness inside. The lack of closure.  And I am not sure there is a ceremony or service, no matter the readings, the involvement, that can change that. "

We are all missing you, Jaime.  Every day.  But we will continue on for you, because we have to.  Because we are strong, and that is what you would want.  Love forever, family always, strength together. <3 Love.

The importance of being where you are. The moment.

Being a social work student has taught me plenty.  What interventions to use with specific clients. How to evaluate them. How to research. How to be unconditionally present.  How to meet clients where they are, instead of where I (as a clinician) may want them to be.

But this semester? In a class around the topic of grief and loss? I learned how to sit with my own feelings.  To be ok (or begin to be ok) with them.

Because it is not just being able to be ok sitting with clients and their feelings, it's important to be able to as an individual, be able to sit with our own.

It is so often that I think that because I have been trained in specific skills that I should have all the answers.  That I should be able to handle every situation thrown in my direction with perfection and the "right" ways.  It's a lie.

Learning to be ok with where I am as an individual, social worker or not, has been a great new way to be able to look at my life, and look at the decisions that I am very quickly going to be needing to make.

It's ok to be sad.  It's ok to grieve the end of something that I thought I was ready for.  It's ok to be happy, to continue living.  To continue growing.  To continue to make choices and decisions because without them, you are stagnant. Unchanging. Because without making a decision, you are, in fact, choosing.

And what fun is a world in which you are unable to change?

It is the lesson I am most thankful for.  Learning to be OK with where I am.  To accept it.  And to keep plugging along, whether the days are smooth like a lake in the morning, or challenging and scary... a day in which your footing just isn't always sure.

It's life.  And if I can't accept and be OK with where I am, how can I expect others to be just as OK with where I am?  Being where you are. In the present. In the moment.  Living.