Today was my official, official last day at work. My offiicial last day was December 22nd, but I came back in January to help out at my school part time until the new counselor came back from sick leave. So today, I am officially, officially done.
I did not expect to feel the way that I am feeling. I have been doing termination with my clients all month. For all of you out there not in the counseling world, don't worry, I wasn't trying to kill anyone, it is just a term we use when we are ending a counseling relationship. Anyway, I went around to all of my kids at school today and said goodbye. It was really, really hard. These precious little lives have so much potential. I would love to see them grow up healthy, happy, and secure. I never see my kids past eighth grade but every once in a while I will hear an update from someone. Unfortunately, most of these kids aren't growing up secure and happy, which is why they see me. As I said good bye to each of them, I thought about their lives. Who will get beaten up tonight at home, who will be bullied at school, who is struggling to stay afloat in school. Who feels like they want to end it all. I thought of the client who wants to be a police officer, I hope she makes it. I thought of the abuse that has taken some of these student's innocence at such a young age. I thought of the kids going home to an empty house full of siblings that have to take on adult responsibilities and they are not yet thirteen. It is sad. But I also think of the good that has come of knowing these little ones. The progress we have made. The smiles, the trust and self-esteem that has been built. Oh, and the teachers! Yes, there are wonderful teachers out there, and assistants. I just did not expect saying goodbye to them would be that difficult. Some of them looked really sad. I looked really sad. After I had gone around to everyone I was hit with this huge sense of sadness! It was like a big lump of heaviness in my chest and it wouldn't go away. Then I had to leave the school and go to the goodbye lunch my team was having for me. Oh, my gosh! I just sat their saying "I'm so sad". I felt kind of like a lame lunch date. I pretty much just sat their listening to everyone talk. I would interact a little bit but for the most part I felt numb. I have not been preparing myself for this. I have not processed this one bit.
I know that this is what I was supposed to do but at the same time I have enjoyed this job over any job I have ever had. Yes, it can be stressful, but I worked at a great school and the mental health agency I work for is great, the people are great. And I have just been going with the flow not even thinking about that this is going to be officially over. YUCK! This sucks! So everyone is leaving the lunch hugging me and saying goodbye. I start crying. I know I will see these people again, we will keep in touch, but the fact that I had not even THOUGHT about this being "it" overwhelmed me. So it's good that I keep saying over and over "This is sad". I am acknowledging how I feel. It will pass.
I am excited to be home, I am excited over my new ministry opportunities. I am excited to see what God has in store for the future.
But right now I am just going to be sad. I will probably eat lots of chocolate today. But that's okay.