Katie Joray, MS, LPC Intern
Supervised by Kathleen Mills, LPC-S, CEAP
Listen. Words. Power.
“We hugged that last turn, just like a car would do it, and sped towards the final gate. With a flourish of her red mane I gave her the lead, let her hear my voice and we easily cleared the last thing standing between us and the championship.”
My Car Guy
When we were both much younger, my big brother, Stanley, and I took horse-back riding lessons for a time. I loved everything about it and learning to ride with him was one of the best times of my life. Then, I lost Stanley, twice. The first time was to the allure of, “gasoline and girls”. Stanley was a, “car guy”, at heart, but he always made sure he supported my interest in riding. He even helped me chart my competition courses. He viewed everything in car terms so that’s how he would draw it up and explain it to me; “just like a car would do it”. That’s how my painted pony, “Cutie”, and I won the day.
Stanley was 18 when he died in a car crash not too long afterwards, and I was devastated. That began a long period of grief in a year that would see two more deaths visited upon me and my family. My parents were going through their own rough patch and, saddled with their own feelings of loss for my brother, I felt guilty about talking to them about anything. My teenage friends didn’t have the experience to help so I bottled all that grief and set it on a shelf in the stables where I felt safe.
Dealing With Grief
Leaning on my competitive nature, I immersed myself in winning more competitions with my stable-counselor and equestrian confidant, Cutie. We won many events but things didn’t heal. That’s how I learned there is no sense of accomplishment that will make grief go away.
Two years on, in my sophomore year at TCU, my half-brother died. My room-mate did her best to listen but had no words. My friends were not without sympathy but they had their own issues to deal with and classes to pass. I felt alone in a big room full of people.
So, when my uncle and yet another close family friend died, it was just too much. Funerals were becoming our family reunions and that bottle I had been storing my grief in just couldn’t contain it all. I knew I needed help so I sought it at the campus clinic and I am so glad that I did.
Framing The Chapter
I’m not the only one to have ever had a loved one die unexpectedly, but maybe my story sounds a little like yours? Overwhelmed with grief? Maybe some guilt? There’s no magic pill, magic phrase, or secret technique to make grief go away. It will not go away. But the good news is that words have power and will manifest themselves in ways that frame your grief, allowing you to live with it for what it really is; a sad chapter in your life.
Grief has its own texture, its own color, smell, and even its own sound. You can’t escape it, and you can’t put it in a jar on a shelf and ignore it. You must hug the curve, “just like a car would do it”, accelerate right on through and clear the hurdle. You can do it and I’ll show you how, just like Stanley showed me.
Words have power and I’m confident we can help each other. I might even show you a picture of Cutie!
To make an appointment please call 972.234.6634 ext. 304. Katie is currently only here on Mondays.