Endings are a big part of life. You go to nursery for a year, nursery ends and you go to P1. Then to P2 then to P3 until school ends. You go on holiday, you have fun then it’s the end of the holiday and you come home. You watch a film and it ends. You go for a walk and there is an end point to the walk. You go to visit somewhere then you come home at the end of the day.
For one of my children, endings are very hard. For her, endings not only mean the end of that activity, visit, year but they potentially mean never seeing that person, place, thing again.
When your main awareness of endings is losing people that you love, moving to new places, never seeing some familiar places again, it is no wonder that endings are difficult.
Big’s way of dealing with endings is flight. She will run away from the thing that is scary. Run away from the thought of leaving somewhere else, somebody else. Run away from the fact that she has to deal with another loss. Run far away from the people that are making this ending happen.
But some endings do not afford the opportunity for flight. Some endings have an audience until she is in the car. In this case, Big will fight. Fight the big scary ending. Scream and shout so that she can drown out the sadness. Which I understand. But driving down the motorway with somebody trying to grab you from behind or throwing things at you or screaming that she hates you and that you don’t love her and listing all the things that she’s going to do to you when you get home is not easy.
But how do we avoid endings? Do we stay at home forever? Even that doesn’t avoid it. Tomorrow we will be managing the end of the holidays and the beginning of school. There is the end of P1 coming up. People come to visit us and we have to say goodbye to them.
Last week, after a session about how hard Big finds endings (and after I’d sent an email saying that we were finding the violence increasingly difficult to manage), the psychologist told us that she would not be seeing her again for a while. This was not an ending we had prepared for (any of us) and it came as a shock.
Another ending that closes an avenue of support. Another person to not see. Another (as Big sees it) break in trust.
Because, for Big, all of this is to try to hide her fear about the huge ending that she is so worried about. The fear of me being yet another female caregiver who will ‘leave’ and never come back.
We cannot live a life without endings. Every day we have to deal with them. But they’re tricky and I wish my wee girl hadn’t had to have so many of them.
The best bits
As I went to put petrol in the car yesterday, Little stuck her head out of the window and shouted, ‘Don’t forget mummy, not diesel, petrol! Diesel is for the van!’
We went to a wildlife park last week to meet my brother and the girls’ cousin. The girls enjoyed pushing her pram around and my sister in law took a beautiful photo of Big looking into the pram at her cousin. Big looks really calm and has a tiny smile on her face.