I don’t even know how to tell you this – so I’m just going to blurt it right out:
DO NOT FREAK, but…
I went to see a therapist yesterday.
You are so irritated. If people can even get irritated in Heaven or Purgatory or wherever God has stashed you for the time-being.
I guess if you’re in Heaven, it’s possible you’re smiling indulgently, but if you’re in Purgatory – trying to wrap up some loose ends – then I bet you’re having a cow.
But calm down. I called and checked first – I think insurance pays for some of it. (Therapy, not Purgatory.)
In the 33 years we were married and over the course of raising 5 kids, there were certainly more than a few times we encountered a little marital strife. And since my default mode is always “drama first” I might’ve calmly screamed on occasion, “We’re getting counseling!”
And you would immediately become resistant and entirely unhinged at the mere suggestion of outside intrusion into the sacred sanctity of your marriage, (per all men from your generation.) I don’t know if it is the $175 an hour therapists charge or the idea of telling your personal business to a total stranger – probs both.
To be entirely honest, you know I never actually had any intention of going to a Marriage Counselor either, I just liked throwing that threat in your face like a glass of icy cold water when I was frustrated with you. It was endlessly entertaining.
Anyway, whenever I “went there,” you would always shake your head in mock dismay and say,
“Who are the two smartest people we know?”
And I would reluctantly sigh,
And then you would say, “So who is best qualified to solve our problems?”
And I would reluctantly sigh, “We are…”
And that was that. End of discussion. We would work together to find the high road of compromise to solve whatever was the matter with our relationship at the moment – money, sex, bratty children or the king-of-all-marital-woes… dry cleaning.
But this situation does seem a little more serious.
Everyone keeps insisting I need to find a Grief Counselor. I keep saying “No Thank You.”
We Blanchards solve our own problems. Amiright?
Remember that one Sunday we made our children all go upstairs and watch “Urban Cowboy?” Remember how hard we tried to get them to relate to Bud and Sissy?* How incredibly immature the two lead characters were throughout the entire movie, but how devoted they were to each other in the end and they got back together because all they really needed was their love and commitment to each other?
They didn’t need no stinkin counselor! They just needed those license plates in the back window that said “Bud” and “Sissy” to confirm things. Our kids rolled their eyes and suffered through the movie, but you could tell they couldn’t wait for it to be over and thought we were nuts for forcing them to watch it.
Anyway…a person you really respect and admire sent me a link to a highly regarded local Grief Therapist. Honestly Honey, he’s straight out of “Central Casting.” He looks just like a therapist from a movie set – he even wears a cardigan. I thought he was going to pull out a pipe and smoke it during our session. (So glad he didn’t on account of my allergies.)
I made sure he understood I wasn’t there for myself, per se. I assured him I was nailing it in the widow department (the strongest woman everyone knows) and was merely there “vetting” him for our children’s sake. He wasn’t buying it. Not one bit.
He thinks I’m grieving the loss of you pretty hard.
I tried to explain to him what a wonderful father you were to our kids, so that he could get a handle on the extreme depth of their loss. You know – just so he would know what he was about to be up against.
If he agreed to take our kiddos on.
I told him how you would make Tommy’s coffee every morning and start his car so it would be warm and running when he was ready to leave for school. And how I’m having to get up earlier in the mornings to pick up the slack and fill in all these “nurturing gaps” you left in our kids’ lives when you died.
But then it started to sound like you were a wee bit of a Saint. And I thought we needed to go for a more balanced representation. I didn’t want him to get the wrong impression. So I started to emphasize how strict you were.
I said, “Oh don’t get me wrong! He could be mean!”
He asked me for a few examples of your meaness and so I attempted to give him some.
You know what he had the nerve to say next?
He said, “I’m really not hearing ‘meanness,’ it just sounds like your late husband had some really positive and effective boundaries…”
I was flabbergasted.
Mainly because I had really tried to lead with my most effective arsenal of negative stuff I had against you. But unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) it all appeared to this supposedly unbiased Mental Health Professional that you had a reasonable and rational approach to relationships. You would’ve loved it, because of course that’s what you always maintained.
Now I’m starting to think that if you had actually ever called my bluff and dragged me off to a marriage counselor, I might’ve come out on the losing side of the arrangement.
After my experience the other day I’m starting to think our potential “Marriage Counselor” might have implied I was the problem and suggested implementing some positive changes I could’ve made.
Dude – that might’ve had been the best $175 an hour you ever spent. Improvements for Sissy.
And then the next thing this guy did was pull out his calendar and schedule me for another appointment in 3 days! Like I’m some Woman-in-Crisis-Mode.
So Love, look what you’ve done to me…
It’s like this guy just didn’t get it, no matter how many times I explained it – I was simply there for the children. You know – to help them cope.
*One of the greatest ironies of parenting is that we spend so much time trying to get our kids to appreciate the movies and music of our generation. Jimmy and I loved “Urban Cowboy.” It came out the year we met. Although we were Rock fans and neither of us ever learned to two-step, we lived in Houston 3 times and made some of our very dearest babies, friends and memories there. The best part of “Urban Cowboy” is when Boz Scaggs sings “Love Look What You’ve Done To Me.” That song says it all. Pure genius. We slow danced to it often.