A woman observes her grief counseling session.
I walked on grief counseling in the polyclinic. It wasn’t the “Rent” kind of sitting in a circle group. Those kinds of groups only were in movies. Here it looked like another lesson you’ll receive. A class room full of people, whose only common thing was their loss of a loved one, who did not spoke up even once. It was a lesson. And by tradition – lessons were given in silence, with lecturer in front clicking the pointer in her hand while her well prepared slideshow was playing out on the whiteboard. Students sat, half-asleep and impatiently glanced at the clock above her head.
I wondered, how many had they lost? One? Perhaps two?
I recognized the woman on the far left, next to the window. Her blond hair looked in a mess with gray hair strikingly shining against the sunlight sneaking in between the blinders. I recognized her, because she shared my loss. How strange it was to think, to even feel that someone could share something like that, but it was true. She shared it, because she was mother of one of the kids, who…
She was older than she looked. I knew her to be forty five at first, but after I began visiting the group, I learned she was fifty two. I sneaked it from the papers of our lecturer.
Our lecturer is one of two women, who teach this class for the past five years. She teaches every Thursday and Saturday, the other woman gives lessons early on Monday morning, before the rest of the world wakes up. She is here always first, unlocks the doors, pulls the curtains back to let in the sunlight and prepares coffee. I love the smell of the brand she uses.
Soon the other woman will leave and only this clicking woman will stay. She’s too fragile and the faces of the grievers are haunting her. Well, perhaps I had something to do with that, too.
The blond woman changes her position and notices the small girl playing outside in the sandbox. She is nine, but left out there to play together with the other kids, watched over by a tall Italian lady. Her eyes welled up and she quickly looked away.
The lecturer went on without noticing. She kept listing suicidal death related emotions as if they mattered to someone. None were present today, who would need that info. But she wouldn’t know. She never checked the reasons why they came, only names of those, who registered.
“I need a moment.” The blond woman got up and before the lecturer could even respond, she left the room.
I observed the faces in the room and only one turned to see if she was OK. The rest kept their hands in their lap and eyes lowered. It bothered me. I wanted someone to go and check on her.
I leaned forward and tapped the woman’s shoulder in front of me. She stiffened, but didn’t turn. I moved and tapped the woman next to her and she jumped around, searching the empty seats behind her who had done it. They both looked at each other and slowly turned back.
I reached out to tap the shoulder of the old man in my reach, when the blond woman returned and sat back on her seat.
Calmly, I nodded to her and turned my attention back on the people around us. I wish she’d visit the morning sessions. This councilor was cold as fish. Facts about grief they could look up themselves, too, but she was too young to understand that. I knew for the fact she was yet to lose anyone close to her, which made her in my eyes very unsuitable to cover the loss the people coming here needed. They were not students. Not at least the way I was used to teaching. Yet she was treating them as such, making big mistake with that and I hated money wasting that led to no purpose.
The blond woman moved again, changing the leg she was leaning on and she began rolling the end of her light yellow scarf. She was wearing it on the day we had to break her the news.
It had been sunny, wonderful spring weather third day in a row. Nothing indicated in the morning that we’d have to search out parents coming to pick up their children to give them the news. Forty five children were lost that day. In a sink hole that appeared under the sport stadium on a busy training session. Most of my class fell in bottomless darkness as if they’d never existed.
We had no time to call the parents. It was so close to the time, when they usually pick them up and we were forced to seek them out, when they arrived. We have 4000 students. That day I had no time to grieve for the loss of my class. I had to stand on the gate with the police and show them one by one, who the parents were so they could talk to them before they got the news from somebody else.
The blond woman was often late and we had to hear her excuses or watch her fight with her husband on the doorstep after we had to call him to do it and she finally showed up. She failed to pick her son up that day, too. We waited her and she simply forgot.
Now she sat here for the last five years and kept rolling that scarf until the end of the monologue.
Just as predicted the woman’s routine voice finished with hopes of meeting next time and supportive slogan of “keep your heads up” and then came a pregnant pause of silence.
Finally they began to move and one by one the class got up and left. The blond woman was first to leave through the door.
“Did you feel that?” the woman I had tapped on, whispered her question to the companion. She nodded and they both looked back to my seat.
“I told you this place was haunted!”