Gina, my counsellor and my life coach
It has been ages since my last blog post and I have felt all sorts of emotions including guilt for not being active on my blog. I feel like I’m constantly running 100 miles an hour just to stay standing. It is exhausting and I’m on the verge of tears most of the time not knowing what to do or how to slow down. If I slow down, something inevitably breaks/stops and that causes more guilt, anger and frustration.
Every week, every day I feel up, down and more down – this seems to be my frequent updates to friends. Up, down and more down. I am extremely lucky to have so many friends to lean on, but my pride stops me from reaching out to them more often than I should. What do I say? I know the only thing that can fix it all is the one thing that is impossible.
Aside from friends and family, there is one person who has been by my side for almost 18 months and that is Gina, my amazing counsellor. The local hospice of St Francis where Gina volunteers is where I was first introduced to Gina. This hospice is where we were planning to transfer Paul to during his last week.
Gina is very unassuming and quietly spoken but with the listening skills and empathy like no one else I know. She has the capacity to remember and retain every tiny bit of information I say even if it was in passing. When we talk, it genuinely feels like she knows all the friends I mention in our sessions. Most of all, she gets Harry and Andrew. She has never met them, but she gets them! I feel like she’s on this journey with me, every difficult step of the way. We have laughed together and we certainly have cried together.
For many many months our sessions were all about Paul and grief. Over time we have started to talk about things around Paul, the boys, home, lockdown, my job, teenagers, friends and much more. I feel like Gina has become my life coach in addition to being my counsellor. I can take anything, absolutely anything to our session – it isn’t always doom and gloom. I have spent many hours talking about the boys and how I am struggling to cope with life as a single parent. At the end of the sessions I walk away feeling a little less anxious and a little more confident.
We started off with face to face sessions. During lockdown we had zoom sessions and when lockdown rules were relaxed, we had walk and talk sessions in and around Ashridge which was doubly good for the soul. Since I've started my job, zoom has become the norm. But it doesn’t take away the intimate and private feel of any counselling session and I have Gina to thank for that.
I am aware of the professional relationship that is paramount between counsellor and client and Gina manages to stay professional and at the same I walk away feeling like I’ve just had a coffee with a friend.
My one wish these days is that my boys will find a 'Gina' when the time is right for them.