Don’t you feel sad?

Since last December I have had many class interviews on the phone students about the work I do, working on a youth help line. One question that came out often, just warmed my heart. The fact that these youths were concerned about me!  So when I saw this prompt to write a poem and start it with a question, this came to mind.

 https://pookypoetry.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/write-a-poem-that-opens-with-a-question.jpg

 

Don’t you feel sad when you go home at night
listening to unhappy stories about this or that?

Why I guess sometimes I do feel sad alright!
That is really sweet of you to ask me that.

Do you cry sometimes?

Why yes, I may feel a tear
run down my cheek
from time to time.

So how do you feel better?

I think you are wondering
how I practice self-care.
I am very much aware
I need to be mindful
of my feelings as well
or else I would not be capable
working here as long as I’ve been able.
I talk to my supervisor
some of the time
or a counsellor friend,
they always will lend
a good listening ear
so I can continue working
day after day right here.
I walk a lot, write a lot too
I read for distraction
and love comedy shows
like The Big Bank Theory
gets me laughing quite loudly.
There is always a counsellor
or manager available
to allow me to debrief
which is a great relief!
Thank you so very much
for asking and caring such!

© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/05/10

Submittted for: PookyDailyPoetryPrompt # 9 Open with a Question

You are stunning!

I looked at the clock and noticed there was an hour left on my shift. It was a busy evening alright. But I like that because time passes quickly.  I had done two hours of Live Chat and I was now back on the phones after my dinner break. It is odd to call our breaks anything but “breaks” because we can have lunch at 2p.m. and dinner/supper at 10 p.m. depending on the shifts we work and how we have arranged to make sure the service is adequately covered.

The phone rang…

“Hello, you’ve reach a counsellor.”  I could hear faint sobbing, soft whimpering…

“Take your time, it’s okay; just take all the time you need…are you safe?”

I hear a weak “yes” and she tells me her story. She was just discharged from hospital for her eating disorder. She weighed well under 100 pounds…I winced at the thought of her wasting away and thanked the Great Spirit that she was, in fact, alive. “They fattened me up so much I can’t stand it!” she wailed.

The change for her was difficult to bear. She needed support in slowly accepting her “healthy” body.  We talked a bit about what she could do to distract her thoughts and then she shared some sad stories of her past. Such sadness I choose not to share here, but this is what I wanted to remember …  her fight to live even if for a brief dangerous time in her life and how she tried to become invisible…literally.

We explored her passions.  She was an artist and singer/song writer. I was blessed hearing her sing briefly and for a fleeting moment, I could hear her smile…what an angelic voice…such beauty, it managed to transcend through the wires of telecommunication.  She promised to try to focus on her beauty…voice, passions, art, inner and outer beauty and would call back if she felt overwhelmed.

When got I home late that night,  I could not help but imagine this beautiful person and wrote a brief message I imagined sending to her:

Image source: Thestir.cafemom.com

Do you know that you are stunning?

the last few years, I could barely see you

so frail were you, hugging seemed daunting

what if I’d crushed your bones,

you were really so very tiny;

I remember seeing you back then…

the wind was blowing and I could swear

it was pushing you farther from where

I was sitting on the park bench waiting

watching, silently observing you wasting

away and praying for a miracle.

 

That was a while ago my friend,

now the miracle did transcend

you are beautiful just as you are.

Pity you don’t yet see that far long

but hopefully in due time

with your gifts of beauty and song

you will sing the words that rhyme

and you will finally see

what’s so clear to me.

I pray someday your insight

will see your beauty transcend

as well as in the light

of day…blessings, my dear friend.

© Cheryl-Lynn, 2014/03/14

 Inspired by my original post at StopTheStigma You’re Beautiful

Witness of their pain

Do you remember January 1st, 2000?  I remember looking up into the sky at those fireworks, at 00:01 standing on Front Street in Toronto.  Many people worldwide wondered if our computers would crash and what the future held for us. I knew I had a passion to reach out and help.  In July  I crossed a major threshold in my counselling career by joining Kids Help Phone.  This would be my career of the new millennium!  I’d won the Lottery!  

Who knew, crossing that line,  my life would change forever?  I had joined an agency that offers a unique service to youths in “their” mode of comfort, in their style, in their time, from the comfort of their own place.  I was hooked for good! 

Like so many people who work at Kids Help Phone, either behind the scenes fund raising, spending tireless hours promoting this unique service or the endless hours listening, counselling, responding to on-line messages or chatting on Live-Chat…I fell in love with this amazing family who cares about reaching out to youths across this vast country, reaching out to cities, towns and more isolated regions where help and hope are often scarce. 

The uniqueness is the availability, the free access and more notably the anonymity of this service.  Finally a safe place for youths to reach out and not feel judged; youths, who sometimes are sharing for the first time, exploring their options and feeling a sense of empowerment because THEY are in charge of their call.  Some youths may have been robbed of this privilege by abuse or neglect; here they are heard, respected and believed.  As a counsellor, I do feel privileged accompanying a youth on their journey. I take the lead from the expert…the youth on the other end of the line or the other side of the screen.   

Most youths who call are looking for some direction and may not know where to turn. Most do have good caring supports but don’t want to worry their family or friends.  And then there are some who don’t have this…

 

Witness 

Sometimes I hear

or read on-line

from far and near

their storyline

truths that need

and must be heard,

my role to heed

bear witness

to their pain.

I may appease

but must refrain

from judgement

and rather aim

solution focus

actively  listening;

compassion’s key

and soothes gently.

 

they won’t divulge

they want to spare

their loved ones

for whom they care

still…

they just want

to unburden

confidentially

and safely…

feeling unlaboured

a weight off

their shoulder…

sense of reprieve

in total anonymity!

they are relieved

and finally believed!

 

And so I listen…

 

I hold their stories

gently in my heart

listen with my soul

witness with my ears

their pain I hear

catch their tears

embrace with my mind

their stories

one of a kind…

always unique

in their distinct tale

of deception

and betrayal

of violent nature

appalling misuse

of human behaviour

alas!… child abuse.

 

Cheryl-Lynn, Counsellor – Witness 2014/03/11

Diamond Jubilee Medal – Addendum

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At the reception with all those fancy shmancy people (corporate donors, upper management), regional directors along with  counsellors, colleagues and volunteers, I was feeling pretty calm.  I was allowed a guest, so I had invited a long time, former colleague and friend, Kelly, who I had not seen in years!  I was pleased to have  her “witness” this moment with me. It was also great to have my best friend and colleague, Maria,  receive this honour with me too!  There could not be a more perfect evening than this!…until…

It was especially wonderful getting to talk to a volunteer who also was recipient for this honorable award. How she touched my heart!  Her daughter had been bullied A LOT and she had taken her life!  I felt an imaginary boxing glove sock it to me right in the solar plexus and then tears started filling my eyes. I remember the series of suicides in that area of the country 2+ years ago. It had impacted me the most in my entire career working on this youth line.  What struck me were the stories shared in the media and how I had recognized one youth as a teen to whom I had spoken…I felt so guilty and powerless.

Now here I was facing this amazing woman, grief-stricken mother,  and volunteer who goes to schools to talk about bullying and spread the word to get help and not take your life.  I told her I remember speaking to a girl at that time and how sad I had felt.   She just smiled and tried to comfort ME!  She kept thanking me for doing the wonderful work that we do on this youth line.

This wonderful woman…this amazing soul, mother, angel of grace deserved this medal more than she can ever know!  She has shared her story month after month…she has spread the word that our youth line is an option and she has saved so many youths from taking their lives…so much more than she will ever know.  How fitting that SHE received such an honour…The Great Spirit has created some amazing angels of mercy …Pam, this amazing woman and her daughter, Jenna who continues to be a part of that important message…Don’t ever give up…there is help.

And so when I received this medal, I opened the box and looked at the medal and tears welled up again. I noticed how it resembled my step-father’s medal he received from the army for having fought in World War II.  And I…an ordinary person like me who did nothing extraordinary was holding this medal in my hand now!  How my step-father and Mom would have been proud of me today!

My thoughts went back to Pam and her extraordinary courage for sharing her story with youths day after day despite the pain it must bring to her.  How I feel honoured and thankful to have met this woman. For over 2 years I have carried this guilt and fear whenever I get a similar call nowadays.  I had not realized how much I had been moved by this tragedy.

If it had not been for my having this opportunity to go up to Toronto, thank you Kathy, to receive this medal…thank you Kids Help Phone, I would never had met this outstanding person, Pam…I accept this Diamond Jubilee medal in honour of  your Jenna.  Thank you!

http://tech.ca.msn.com/mom-believes-bullying-pushed-teen-to-suicide

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, June 6, 2013

Diamond Jubilee Medal…me?

The universe sure has a way of rearranging the stars so things can happen.  I think that`s because the universe has many helpers…mega-stars and angels floating in the cosmos.  An amazing angel who touched me {KM} shifted some of those stars to reach {SW} and {AJ}  and I am pretty sure {SM) had a hand in it too,  to make way in the sky for me to reach out and receive a very very special award.

This post is a bit more than “Something I just have to share” because it should really be “Something I am bursting to share”.  I am filled with so many mixed  emotions today, pride, elation, compassion and especially, gratefulness!! Last night I received an email from our head office requesting my presence for an award that I and several of my colleagues were to receive this coming Monday in Toronto.  Well, it is a 6 hour drive from my home and to tell you the truth, I had forgotten the date thinking that I probably could not have made it down there anyways.

Well, lo and behold, the universe certainly does provide.  The President`s administrative assistant arranged to make things happen…Thank you, Kathy:)…Merci, Alain and Thank you, Sharon and Susan!  Thank you Bella Maria for allowing to crash at your place:)

To receive this award, to be even nominated by my colleagues and managers is the greatest honour for me.  And let`s be honest, at my age {no spring chicken here!} I don`t think I will be getting many more awards of this standing…it IS an honour to be recognized as someone who actually deserves this.

All I really do is going to a job that I adore…it`s so easy when you are passionate about what you do.  Anyone reading this, who loves to write understands that part, right?  It is not a chore when you love what you do…you are enjoying yourself during that time…period.

So, I wanted to share this with my readers.  I am standing tall, back straight, shoulders pulled back and chest sticking out, chin up with pride…

So I will be travelling on Monday and Tuesday travelling back;  I am taking lieu time from  the Victoria’s Day…yes, la Fête de la Reine {how àpropos} to receive this Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal!!  

Sneak peek at my invitation that I have on my wall at home:)

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You and a guest are cordially invited to attend

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Reception

Monday June 3, 2013

TIFF Bell Lightbox

TIFF Lounge, Toronto, On.

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals awarded by a youth line who recognize individuals whose extraordinary efforts have helped to transform the lives of thousands of young people across Canada every week.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, May 31, 2013