Monday, October 6, 2014

Part of the Pack

The puppy walking community is very close-knit.  We may not know each other's names, but we know our dogs.  There's Shayna, Bamboo, Louie, Della, Misa....and their owners.  We see each other on the path at least a few times a week.  Our puppies play together and we chat. We've gotten to know each other fairly well over the years.  When my dad was sick and I was feeling down, seeing one of the puppies' friends always made me feel better.  It wasn't that we talked about anything in particular - it was simply a friendly face, simple chit chat, and watching the puppies play.  Yes, they all knew dad was sick, and they always asked how things were.  Then we went on to other topics of conversation.  I felt their support, and it provided a daily reprieve from the grief and the stress.  It still does.  Anyway, tonight, we were walking and Shayna's "sister" twisted her ankle and fell.  I grabbed Shayna's leash.  Bamboo's dad took him home and brought his car to drive her home.  Another puppy "mommy" helped support her to the car.  We were all there for her.  It felt good.

The professionals who toil here in the Trenches are under a lot of stress.  Day in and day out, we deal with people who are victims of trauma.   Our clients are suffering huge emotional losses.  Their pain washes all over us as we try to help them move forward through the divorce process and past the losses of their former life.  We deal with client after client with terrible problems, and we listen, sympathize and help.  Day after day, client after client.  It is exhausting, emotionally and physically.  As a result, most of us suffer from secondary trauma, aka caregiver fatigue.   It's why many family law attorneys leave family law.  A few of us decided that what we needed was a support group.  We all got together last month, and we are again this month.  Now, you would think that when you got a bunch of folks who toil in the Trenches together, all we would talk about was the Trenches.  You'd be wrong.  Kind of like the puppy walking community, we talked for a minute or two about the Trenches, then we chatted about other things.  We smiled, we laughed.  After an hour, we went back to work.  Everyone walked out with a smile on their faces, and a spring in their step.  We felt supported by each other and it helped us go back and do our work the way our clients need it to be done.  Here in the Trenches.

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