Picture a man with a long gray ponytail chanting the Hari Om mantra as he rides his bicycle down a steep hill on his way to work and you picture Dr. Fun N. Games (aka YaYa’s therapist). His gig seems to suit him well. Each morning, he rolls into the clinic rejuvenated, well grounded, and full of smiles.
Specializing in child psychiatry, Dr. G’s pseudonym seems to suit him equally well. One look at his office, filled with fun games, puzzles, and art and you will know precisely why. In the beginning, I used to question the quality of the sessions. I guess I thought that so much time was spent playing games that very little time must be getting done on the stuff that matters. In actuality, the work is done in parallel with the game playing where the child is so relaxed that the words come freely and the work is done in an almost effortless fashion. As the parent, I am less worried of the process and more concerned with the outcome. No matter what troubling thoughts YaYa would take into his sessions, time after time, he always comes away with a big smile. Therefore, I come away smiling too.
After today however, I wondered if we’d be leaving with the same smile as I brought YaYa’s continual fear of dying to the table. The session took on a more adult-like approach. For the first time, I was allowed to stay as Dr. G asked YaYa to describe the feelings around this topic. My 11 year old’s face revealed the depth and breath of his fear. Tears streamed from his face as he explained that his fear was less of dying itself and more of what happens after death. YaYa’s main concern for the afterlife, be it in heaven or reincarnation, was that he didn’t want to be separated from his family. In his heart, he explained, eternal life holds no comfort if he can’t be with the ones he loves.
Pretty deep, eh?