The Awakening of a Dream
By Daniela Lopez - First-Person Experience
April 14th, 2021 at 8:00 P.M. EST.
The sound of the door opening made me jump. I was busy on the phone and with two or three files around me, scattered on the desk – yet I looked up. An elderly patient approached the front office with a young man. She had a delicate appearance and a slight, courteous smile. It was her first appointment at the clinic; I was in charge of accompanying her to a separate room and completing her chart.
Once settled down, I asked her the pertinent questions. Soon, I knew that it was going to be a complicated interview.
"My son died."
I got a lump in my throat.
She told me the circumstances of her son's death, with tears filling her eyes. He was a middle-aged
Picture by Amalia Abraham
man with poor health. It had been a heart attack. She was home when it happened, but it was already too late. Her words broke due to her pain as she repeated: "My son, my youngest boy." A parent's cry for her children is a different type of cry. It is intense, tired, hopeless. Under the table, I was pressing my thumbnail against my index finger to deflect my building emotion. Since I was not qualified to do so, I could not say anything to her, nor comfort her beyond the typical condolences. I couldn't show the feelings that were building inside me because I had to maintain a calm, professional façade. Holding back a cry, I rose from my chair.
"Thank you very much. I will come back in a moment with someone who can help you."
As soon as I was done, I took five minutes in the office bathroom. My hands were a little bit shaky, and I finally allowed myself to shed a few tears. That day, I wondered if I really wanted to pursue a career in psychology. I felt that I was too weak, too soft, to bear the weight of other people's pain without showing my own. However, I didn't want to become an automaton without empathy, no matter how much the years of exposure could polish me. In that brief moment, I came to think my dream was incompatible with my personality.
As the days went by, I realized why I want to continue at work. I wanted to help more people like the mourning mother who lost her son, although for this, I had to go through difficult times and learn to manage my emotions better. Verifying the importance of practicing as a psychologist, my interest in the field did not decrease. On the contrary, I gained even more respect for this discipline, seeing the real changes it represents for many people's lives.
Without a doubt, the interview with that grieving mother was one of the hardest experiences I have had working in the clinic, but it has not been the only one. Working there gave me the opportunity to see all kinds of people and hear all sorts of stories and traumas, helping me to put my feet on the ground about the things that I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. To achieve this, I not only had to gain work experience but also continue with my education. For this end, I look forward to continuing my higher education and gaining all the possible knowledge that I can to then make it available for the welfare of others.
Daniela Lopez is a psychology major at Miami Dade College, currently in her second year at the Honors College Dual Language program at Eduardo J. Padrón Campus. She is also co-Editor-in-Chief of Urbana Literary & Arts magazine for its volume XIV, as well as the secretary of the recently founded club JapAnime. Her greatest passions consist of spending quality time with her loved ones (including her cat Chessi), reading, consuming audiovisual content, and learning curious psychological facts.