With some trepidation I turned up for my appointment for grief counselling. Our meeting didn’t go well from the outset.

Baz had been counselling people in Mottsu’s workplace, since Mottsu’s death, he is familiar with the case. When we meet Baz gets my name wrong and can’t recall Mottsu’s name. He puts me off-side in the first two minutes, from there it gets steadily worse.

Baz reads a poem aloud, it is one I chose to include in the funeral service, I can’t help but wonder where this is leading. I find myself holding back, defensive, waiting to see what he’ll do next, the ensuing silence seems to make him nervous so he starts talking.

He explains the conscious and subconscious mind, inexplicably, writing those terms on a white-board. I watch…

Talk talk talkBaz related the story of a young girl on a family picnic, she chased a ball into some low grass where she saw a snake. He said that she picked up the ball and carried it to the car. After putting the ball into the car her arm was caught in the door, which (as Baz told it) left her scared of snakes. Even today I am unsure of the point of the story, because he didn’t say.

It sounded like a stupid story with no relevance to my situation. I did try to mull over possible links as he rambled on.

Next, in my counselling session, Baz related the story of a man working in a manufacturing plant who lost his arm in an accident involving industrial machinery. On the anniversary of the dismemberment, apparently, the man would experience the sensation of a whole arm. Again, the connection to my own situation was not obvious to discern and being unsure of what to say I just nodded and stayed silent.

Baz hurried on to another story, this time about a man who was mugged at a Melbourne train station car park. The man was so shaken by the experience of being beaten and robbed he was unable to return to the car park. Baz had helped him by slowly bringing the man closer and closer to the site of the crime. First a few blocks away then, the next week, a little closer until they stood together, somehow triumphant, at having returned to the site.

Irreverently, I wondered if the consultation wan’t working, as I wanted to laugh. It wasn’t mirth, it would have been an expression of disbelief and despair. If this was professional care I might never recover.

After about an hour there was a temporary lull in Baz’s dissertation, but not before he informed me that expressing my grief would be important.

If only I could get a word in…

I had been expressing my grief at home and in the streets, my pillow wet with expressions of tears. This might have been the first dry eyed hour I’d lived through since Mottsu’s death.

I had to tell Baz how I was feeling and let him gently know that I wouldn’t be returning. I told him that he may have made some assumptions or drawn some conclusions about how articulate I was, or wasn’t, based on the little I had said during the session.

I informed Baz that I had failed to establish a rapport with him and that it might be better for me to see another counsellor. Strike one.