Well, De Nile is where we feel we are. It definitely feels like it’s sink or swim time. We’re choosing to swim. We want to swim. We just need our armbands re-inflating, and perhaps a lifeguard in the water with us. That’s coming, and is another post altogether, but suffice to say the NC and I had a long, but successful therapy appointment this week, and Dave-the-theraplay-therapist feels it’s time to meet Mini. So in a few weeks we’re having a family therapy session and hopefully Dave will become the lifeguard, and he might even show us the best way to put some more air in those armbands.
But today I’m writing about denial. Specifically how Mini is in it.
I understand it’s quite normal for children to go through a stage of being interested in death. Mini is going through a related stage, but I think it’s interlinked with loss, abandonment, rejection and grief.
Mini isn’t particularly interested in death but I think he’s having trouble understanding the concept of it.
Several times over the last few weeks we’ve had cause to talk about my father, who as some of you might remember, died some time ago…before we had even considered adoption.
On those occasions where I’ve mentioned my dad, Mini will sometimes switch off, but more likely will strongly deny that he ever existed. It seems very much a case of ‘I never met him, so he was never there’.
I find this upsetting as you might imagine, but I understand why Mini might feel or react the way he does. Apart from the obvious losses of his birth family and foster carer in his very early life, Mini hasn’t experienced a death or loss that he would remember. In some ways, I don’t think he’ll understand ‘death’ and the finality of it until he experiences someone close dying, even then I’m quite sure it would take a while for him to really understand it. But in so many ways, I don’t want him to have to experience that. He might not remember his early losses, but in his short life, he’s already suffered enough of them for my liking.
So what do we do? I think for now, we’ll take each day and each conversation as they come. We’ll accept how Mini feels and answer his questions carefully. But we’ll stay mindful that Mini doesn’t always mean what he says, or say what he means. And Mini might just be talking about his own loss and grief not mine…