Today’s session was a bit different- so let me first refresh your memory on why the psychology library at Yale bares our family’s name.
My second child has been working through some issues- all circling around death and dying. I’ve done my best to shield her (and the others) of many things- that was, until today. When she was younger, if there was a scary scene in one of the Disney movies, I’d whisk her out to the car. During evening television, I make sure to fast forward through any commercials so they don’t see even a glimpse of adult TV nor news.
When family is around and having dinner together, I am quick to “murmur murmur” through any political discussions (i.e.: North Korea). In fact, when we were visiting our previous therapist for the last time and I had asked whether she does family therapy, and she replied, “I’d rather shoot myself,” I still managed to quickly thank her for her time as I grabbed my kid from her office and filibustered her brain with nonsense talk.
So imagine my surprise, when at today’s anxiety therapist, my daughter brought up her worry only to be met with this…..
Therapist: What are you worried about?
Child: Having a heart attack.
Therapist: It’s impossible for children to have heart attacks; what else?
Child: Well, dying and being buried.
Therapist: You will die. Everybody dies, that’s just life.
Me: (recoiling in my brain to a time when I was anywhere else)
Child: Well, I don’t want to die and leave my parents, I want to be propped up in the living room like my bubbie.
Now, this is where my senses snap back together and I see the bubble I’ve so carefully built, shatter into a million pieces, as my verbal skills are muffled by the throbbing spasms of my blood vessels.
Therapist: But your parents will be long gone before you, so why would you want to be propped up? For what reason? You’re going to die, we’re all going to die one day, so that is why we need to be happy now.
I’m pretty sure we can rule happiness out for quite some time.