What MUST we all learn, for our very L-A-S-T lesson, I wonder??? Translated…
Every weekend, the Christian Hospital in Taidong Mobile Team had two vans for premature babies, and they’d driven to the distant regions of Taidong, to assist children who need. The six therapists assessed the developments of children in various areas, and, would have interventions every single week.
As a clinical psychologist, I was responsible for helping the children with their emotions, along with getting them caught up, to help them find ways to interact with the world around, and I would often bring concepts of therapy, into our play sessions.
The child whom I’d accompanied for a year, because he was entering the first grade, and showed great improvements, and so, finally we’d arrived to the closing of the case. Even though, many sessions ago, I’d told him of the time we shared ending, but, the child couldn’t quite grasp the concepts of the “last sessions”.
On this day, the child saw the therapist came to teach her once again, ran toward me, with the same enthusiasm as she’d done in our previous sessions.
I’d told her, “This will be the last session we have together!”, the child nodded her head.
“Do you know what is the last session?”
“Then, will the teacher still show up next week?”
“Yes, on Friday!”
“Mmmmmmmmmmmm…the meaning of the last class is, that after today’s session, you would’ve graduated, and the instructors will NO longer come to school, to help you with your lessons anymore.”
“……………then, when will the teacher be here again the next time?”
“This, I can’t guarantee, but, if there are special activities or something special happening, then, I will surely come visit you again.”
“Then, you must call me regularly then!”
“Okay I will!”
The child, seemingly, satisfied with my replies, and started playing her games.
The child had a blast, in the games today, she’d made up a storyline about how the stuffed animals went on a picnic, and gave me two roles to play.
Our games, are initiated by the child, it would help her from being the reactive self she usually is, to the proactive, most of the time, I would have to guess what the child was thinking, when I didn’t know what to do, I’d ask her, “What am I supposed to do now? How would I answer the question?”
She’d asked me to hold my horses, that there would be someone to pick me up. But, every time when I’d welcomed the one who was picking me up with great expectations, the other person told me, that she needed to put on more makeup, and that she will show up a bit later…that she hadn’t changed into proper attire, and will come by later…that she wasn’t dolled up pretty enough, will come later…the person who was to pick me up had a tummy ache, and will be late…there’s NOT enough seats, maybe tomorrow then………she hadn’t gone shopping yet, maybe next time………
And so, I was stuck, in this cycle, from the expectations I had at the beginning, I’d become tiresome, and, in the end, I held NO hopes of the picnic at all.
And, finally, after the thirty minutes of playing, the child allowed my character, to get stuffed up, and I’d ordered an assortment of weird dishes too, after I’m full, the child had asked my character to go to Kaohsiung to visit, and, there wasn’t too much torture this time, we’d gone out quickly, and, returned home satisfied.
Maybe, she needed a sense of control through playing the games with me, to fill that part of her that’s normally left, unsatisfied, and she’d been especially excited, about gaining control of the games. Maybe, the child is signaling that she’d had her promises burst, each, and every time, to allow me to feel her anxieties about it, or the sense of hopelessness, perhaps? Or, maybe, she’s trying to say, that without a beginning, there wouldn’t be a need for an end.
Before she left, I’d given her a certificate of graduation, and asked her to read the comments that all her occupational therapists wrote to her aloud. Maybe, the child had finally felt, that this, is the time for parting, and, she’d looked disappointed, and no longer smiled, like she’d done awhile ago.
I’d gone over, to hug her, she didn’t hug me back, and I too, felt saddened.
Waving her hand, she’d turned back, to walk back to the classroom, and, we were on our way, on the van, to our next assignment.
We all need to go through the phases of beginning and ending the sessions. I think, that, is how life is, from strangers, to knowing each other, to parting.
Dear child, sadness is something you must go through, but, don’t forget the positive memories we’d shared, and hold hopes for the future. We all grow up, in processes such as this, you, and I, the same.
And so, that, is how we say goodbye, because you no longer needed the help anymore, you are strong enough, to go out on your own, and, letting go is still NOT at all easy, especially when you’d gotten too close to your patients.