Number 42 | The death of my counsellor …

A few weeks ago I found out that my counsellor passed away.

This might not seem like anything particularly noteworthy. After all, counsellors are like doctors, you don’t see one for ever and you don’t generally get attached. However, this woman was amazing. I saw her every week for around two years so I got to know her pretty well. Kind, compassionate, a good listener (one of the basic qualities of being a counsellor), she helped me back from the edge of complete insanity last year and I can’t thank her enough. Sadly, now, I won’t ever be able to.

After a couple of months of not hearing from her and getting no reply to my calls or emails, today I got an email from her daughter letting me know that she died peacefully in her sleep. I was invited to her funeral – not the most fun morning I’ve ever had in a church – and the place was packed out. So many people came they had to put out extra seats. Being at the very back, I was right next to the coffin as it was brought in and that started me off sobbing instantly. There were small speeches from her son and one of her daughters and a wake that everyone was invited to – I didn’t go; I didn’t know anyone else there and I didn’t have a clue how to introduce myself to anyone.

Since then, her daughter was kind enough to send me one of the pictures that my counsellor had had on her office walls. I haven’t got a picture of it here but it says ‘never give up’ with the same sentiment in German (my counsellor was German). It’s something I’ll keep forever.

RIP Waltraud. You were an absolute legend. There’s so much we talked about and you helped me through. You weren’t just a counsellor, you were also a good and wise friend. I miss you.

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