My diagnosis: You can’t be the cause and the cure

When disaster struck again in our family, one of my major concerns were my children. I wanted them to digest all the news emotionally, but I knew that I (the cause) was the wrong person to help them. So my husband took them to see a psychologist. The result was quite surprising.

(What happened before?)

According to their characters, each of them reacted differently. My daughter is very talkative and enjoyed one to one sessions with the psychologist. She spoke about her fears after my diagnosis in the beginning, but quickly admitted that it was okay for her now. Afterwards, she chattered about lots of stuff. The psychologist was impressed by her communication skills. Nevertheless, she said that my daughter had coped with the shock well.

My son was very interested in the wonderful Lego and Playmobil the psychologist had in her office. He insisted on having his sessions together with his younger brother, because he wanted to play. The psychologist was fascinated by the military strategies they developed with the toys and asked my husband whether he thought that their continuous fighting was a result of my disease. He denied: They were boys. That’s what they always did.

There was one moment when the psychologist asked my son how he felt about my illness. At that point, he was very busy with a few Roman Playmobil soldiers. He answered: “Why? Is she sick?” The psychologist was slightly confused and said: “Yes, she has cancer.” And he replied: “Don’t worry, it isn’t really an illness. It is something you live with.” Our youngest son admitted that he didn’t like to see me sad, but that he had saved some chocolate for me which would make me strong again. The psychologist concluded that he was alright as well.

My husband was so busy with the children that he didn’t attend a lot of therapeutic sessions. Yet he was happy to find out that we had communicated the diagnosis in a perfect way to the children. We had always been honest, yet we had not created irrational fears. It was good for him to be able to talk about his feelings, though. I encouraged him to meet with friends at that time, because I knew that I could not give him all he needed at that time.

Together with the psychologist, we decided not to inform the children about the seriousness of my father’s stroke. We kept them away from their grandparents which made our family logistics in an already difficult situation even harder to handle.

We all realized that external help was needed. Especially my husband had to talk with others – I could not be the cause and the cure of his sorrows at the same time. We found out that we had managed quite well so far; especially the kids.I was so glad that I had found the right words for my children in the beginning.

The story continues here

Body, Soul
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