Glop, glop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is; college graduation! Pat yourself on your back. Graduation speeches glop everyone together - naturally. (Do you want to hear all 700 names separately when you are there for your "darling child'?)
My darling child, Doris, age twelve was my dark-haired cooperative (in the hospital environment) sporadically happy sixth-grader. With her family she kicked and screamed because of neglect, sexual and probably verbal abuse. She had been, temporarily, in foster care, until she went to live with her maternal grandmother who claimed she was unable to manage Doris along with her own health issues. Doris became even more unruly when told that her grandfather (a convicted sex offender) was coming home.
Doris attempted suicide. In lock-in she had lessons and I assigned her reading from The Hobbit with staff under my directions. Doris wrote summaries. Our back and forth comments mainly discussed her fears. Tolkien's lines comforted Doris with a little "typing" accent from her teacher.
I smell you
I feel your air
You are Fear
Who walks unseen
But I am a Hericane
No one takes my mind from me
The energy within me
Shall make you flee.
The young suicidal patient remains the most difficult for me to comprehend, understand or help.
The hospital report said that she was prone to misperceptions, cognitive distortions and poor judgment when stressed. I thought she saw clearly. She knew something was wrong with the picture of family support going to her grandparents and her siblings, leaving her abandoned. She had chosen submission that exploded when she no longer could passively closed out her emotions. What real life had taught her or given her had been a joke that she would undo with help from the medical staff. Doris remained bland and restricted, making sporadic eye contact while biting her nails to the cuticles.
I ignored her nail biting, but encouraged her to close her eyes and exhale two or three times when negative thoughts of what I called the monsters of her mind. "Doris, you'll soon be on your own at 18." We would hear her quietly murmur, "Don't feed the monsters of the mind - those monsters at home."
On Doris's dismissal day I sent her my our favorite rendition above and paraphrased Tolkien's referral to life as a great adventure (The greatest adventure is what lies ahead. Today and tomorrow are yet to be said. The chances the changes are all yours to make. The mold of your life is in your hands to break.
Many experts, psychologists, pastors, and counselors predict the graduate future relationships balance on agreements concerning
Children of society, as you receive your diploma, turn and congratulate your gate-keeper, mother, father with a blown kiss and pat them on their back with a "Thank you."
Feel the effervescence of your accomplishment. Fizz, fizz!
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire