Endings… Before they happen ~ How to ‘end well’ for mental well-being

Fact – life is full of beginnings and endings

Fact – both beginnings and ending can be precious or painful, significant or nondescript.

The kind of endings I am thinking about right now, are the ones that you know are coming, the ones you get to do a count down to, the ones that, even though you would quite like them not to happen, and for things not to change from how they are now, you also realize they are going to happen, things are going to change and that’s how it is.

In fact in truth, sometimes these endings are, in part OK – there is an excitement about what might come next and the adventurer in me, who likes to develop and grow and evolve is fully accepting of this season of counting down to the next chapter… Let me explain.

unnamed (20)I have been doing all my clinical work for the last 7 years in the same room. It is a lovely, lovely room. Both adults and children often comment how safe and calm and peaceful it feels – for one boy “it is my best place in the world”. I like it in here too. Special things happen here.

I found out a few weeks ago that my days here are numbered. Literally. I know when the end of this term is and the date of the day I will work here, pack up and leave – not to come back to work in this place in this way again.

I feel sad. As I sit here in the peace on my own, no clients imminent, I have to acknowledge I have so many memories. Tiny tots, KS 1s, KS 2s, KS 3s, parents, teachers, other professionals have all had special moments in here. I look round the room at my tool kit – the memories of different people who had breakthrough in expressing themselves with different toys and tools.

There is more than I can remember. Special things. Moments. Memories. Treasures. So why do I feel so sad? Because they have been special and leaving a special place or ending a special time is hard. I am grateful for all the lives that have changed though the journey’s people have felt safe enough to take in this room. I am grateful for the privilege of even having access to a clinical room for 7 years.remembering-heart

I am human. I have connected with people and this place – just as children connect with their teachers and classrooms. I hope the treasures – the memories and moments that have happened in groups and classroom communities over the last academic year will be able to be collected, heard, remembered.

I hope that the ‘do you remember when…’ game I am playing on my own due to confidentiality (with highlights being shared with my clinical supervisor!) – will be well played out loud in the communities in schools and families…and given proper time so each memory can be honored.

Ending well is such a special healthy process. It is like grieving while the person is still alive…. The biggest gift we have though is the time and chance to say what this place / person has meant to us, before we have to say goodbye. So often in life we try to not talk about the endings, put all our focus on the ‘transition’ to the new thing, or leave it until the last minute when we can’t really process the emotions as we are too busy doing the practical.

It happens in life. It happens in schools each year.

This time is important. These memories are special and the feelings we go through as we realize just how much, are to be honored and expressed.

Before we really start a transition, and looking to the future, let’s all give ourselves time to see what we remember …. and acknowledge and celebrate all that has been.

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