Life is what happens. Today’s story.
We have had custody of my great nephew since he was 4months, adopted at 4 years. He is now 7. His mom (my niece) comes in and out of our lives and they have a good, but not always consistent, relationship. This week she has been in a horrific car accident and has significant injuries. Currently she is alive but critical. Her partner died.
My question specifically for adoptees. Would you have wanted to see your mother in the hospital like this? My wife thinks it would be too traumatic and upsetting for him. I think he is old enough to remember her and (though I agree would likely be traumatic) would regret not having a chance to see her. We hope this isn’t goodbye but it is very unstable and I want to make a decision before we no longer have a choice.
Reality – You need to tell him, brace him for how bad it is AND TAKE HIM. HE MAY BE WHAT GIVES HER THE FIGHT TO COME THROUGH THIS.
On the other hand – let him make the decision. It is HIS life. HOWEVER, if she is mangled, disfigured and doesn’t look recognizable to the person he knows, then I would caution against it or wait for an open casket. That way she can still look like the person he knows. As an adoptee, I wouldn’t want to see a disfigured/unrecognizable version of her. I’d want to remember her as she was in my life. There’s no need to add more trauma to his history.
A trusted voice affirms – you know the right answer. Tell him what happened and that you will take him to his mother immediately. Yes, it will be upsetting, but you can’t rewind life. If she passes, regret and guilt can be even harder. Just before you get there, prep him for what to expect – machines, wires etc.
An adoptee adds – There are no do-overs in life, only I wish I hads… do not over protect them both to the point of not allowing him to live his own truth, bear his own sadness and deal with grief in whatever way he must, but also to have whatever memory he could have, so that he has proper closure, if that indeed is what happens in the end.
And I didn’t know about these support persons but glad I do now – LINK>Certified Child Life Specialists are educated and clinically trained in the developmental impact of illness and injury. Their role helps improve patient and family care, satisfaction, and overall experience.
From direct life experience – I lost my mom at age 7, due to injuries she suffered in a car accident. That resulted in my being raised under legal guardianship. I still would have given anything to have been able to see her/say goodbye.