Ashley would often point out that I never take credit for my doctorate. If it were up to her, all of my clothing and belongings would be embroidered or emblazoned with Dr. Taube. I don’t emblazon anything.
This Christmas Ashley got me a journal embossed with Dr. Taube. She told my sister in-law, “Mike never wants recognition for his accomplishments, I’m going to keep getting gifts with Dr. Taube on it.” She went to say that I am a nerd that writes everything down when we go to doctor’s appointments, or meetings, or parent teacher conferences so a journal would be perfect. It was a great gift and had extra special meaning having received it after she passed, I cried uncontrollably.
It’s not that I am particularly modest, but I work in the medical field and I don’t want to confuse my athletes, patients, or parents into thinking that I am an MD, or DO. My degree is a PsyD. in Sports and Performance Psychology. Which is helpful when working with injured athletes but does not give me the authority to prescribe medicine, do surgery, etc.
Having a degree in psychology has been helpful in teaching, treating athletes, and dealing with Ashley’s medical issues. Helping myself with grief… Not so much. But maybe I might be able to help others.
Several years ago, I was working with Mill Creek’s soccer team completing my practicum for my doctoral program in sports psychology. During my time with the team I would send the players weekly emails in regards to goal setting, use of positive imagery, and other mental training tools and activities. The soccer team that year was very successful and hopefully I played a role in that.
After the season ended, I kept in touch with many of the athletes. And I continued to send some mental training emails with helpful tips and articles that I thought they would like. Unexpectedly, towards the end of the summer, one of those athletes passed away. I felt that I needed to do something to help the team with their grieving. As a sports psychology professional, I did not receive clinical training in grief therapy, so I did not try to do that. Rather, I gave tips that anyone of us can do to help the team manage that difficult time.
Fast forward to 2018. Three days after Ashley passed away, I received a message from one of the former players and how sorry he was for my loss. He then thanked me for that email series when his friend died and shared that it helped him and his teammates a lot.
I immediately went back and read what I wrote. Honestly, in the moment it didn’t help me. Ashley’s death was too new, too sad, too hard for me to accept. Knowing why you hurt so bad does not help with grief. But I have tried some of those tips especially with Fischer and Baker.
Talking to others has helped. And through that talking, my brother encouraged me to share what I wrote so many years ago. He asked me what Ashley would have to say about it.
Ashley would say “you paid all that money for the degree, you better use it. Besides it might help just one person.” The thing is, I used my degree every day. The skills and training I learned to work with athletes that were struggling, I used to work with my favorite athlete… Ashley.
I have updated my tips on how to deal with grief to reflect on how I am trying to deal with my grief. Maybe there are some tips that might help you.
Please look for What do I know?- Part Two