Back to Start

October 21, 2013

Today I headed out on the 40 minute drive over the west side of El Paso (did I mention this town is gigantic?). I went because, once again, Bella is headed back to play therapy and the first appointment is where we meet her therapist.

Last time, she had our therapist. We both saw her on different days, and she was wonderful. This time, due to her schedule, Sam and I will continue to see her but Bella will move to a new counselor that we’d briefly met and liked before.

The drive down kept triggering all those times I’d driven us there the past year. Grieving my twins. Announcing my pregnancy with Kaden. Heaving myself in and out of the car to get there and back.

I pulled up to the office and thought, “What the hell is going on? Why, oh why God, am I here again?”

Terribly enough, the same room I talked to the new play therapist in was the same that just 4 short months ago I’d hugged mine goodbye in. Same couch where she and I, both hugely pregnant, had laughed and talked about how far I’d come in the past year. She was going on maternity leave, I was getting ready to bring Kaden home. It was all settled. All done.

We’d made it.


So there I sat again, the new therapist asking about how Bella was doing (they all know our story), and what concerns I have. Like I said last time, I won’t get into details of Bella on here, but I’m more than happy to share about play therapy, how it works, how it helps, why we go. Playing for children is the same as talking for adults. They work out a lot of issues and feelings through organic play.

As sad as it is, it’s also incredibly comforting to know we can go back. This group knows so much about us, we even gave permission for the front staff to be told why we were back again. When we were waiting to hear about still moving to North Carolina, one of my concerns was that we’d have to start all over again with new therapists. Now we don’t.

We’ve become the therapy family. Sometimes that’s still a bit foreign and off-putting to me. I still want to end all of this with, “But not the crazy therapy kind,” and then I think:

  1. Who cares if it was?
  2. What the heck is crazy, really?
  3. It’s changed our lives.

What is almost surreal is looking back. Seeing the support systems that were put firmly in place after losing Julian and Preston. We thought it was just for them. Just to get us through. Just till Kaden was home.

Now I look back and see that so much of this was in place for the immense sorrow that was still to come.


  • Delia

    October 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    My oldest son was in play therapy as a toddler and preschooler for issues related to his adoption from foster care. I must admit, I was not really sure about the whole play therapy thing up until then. The difference I saw in my son was amazing. He went twice a week for 3 months and then once a week for an additional 9 months. Over the years we had many more foster children participate in play therapy and it was such a wonderful resource for them. Thank you for being willing to share about your (and Bella’s) experiences. I keep your family in my prayers.

  • E H

    October 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    I want to affirm your openness about this whole process, and about your thoughts on therapy. I was in therapy for some mild post traumatic stress issues (mild in the grand scheme of how awful PTSD can be, life-changing for me personally) when I was in late highschool. My mother struggles with depression, my father with anxiety, and three best friends in a row with either bi-polar disorder or depression. Therapy is part of my life and has saved the lives of myself and so many who are close to me. The “crazy kind of therapy” is a stigma that I’m happy to hear you are accepting, because it’s okay to need the crazy kind.

    I genuinely hope for the best for you, Sam, and Bella.

  • astrid

    October 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Diana, I have a question about play therapy: As a Believer, are you comfortable with the messages and ideas being communicated by the therapist? Are they generally in line with the Bible? I’m asking because I’m considering it for my son to help him deal with his daddy’s deployment. We are strong Christians and my biggest hesitation is that he (who’s only 4) would be told something that is contrary to what we believe and teach in our home. Thank you!

    1. Diana

      October 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      This is a great question. I think you need to really look for a group or individual that either believes what you do OR if not, is able to work with and respect your values while feeling comfortable themselves. We know that both therapists are Christians, but we also know that religion and values don’t come into the play therapy sessions except to affirm what our child says. Bella talks a lot about heaven now, and the therapist would simply affirm that for her, encourage her to draw or play it out, etc.
      We have seen a marriage counselor before that was very much not in line with our beliefs (he told Sam smoking weed might help PTSD O_o), so it can vary. Maybe check with your church family or even online to see if there are therapists in your area that you’d feel comfortable with, and then make sure you do an initial session with them before you agree to send your kids – with your questions about faith brought up.

    2. Bobbi

      October 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      As someone who is in therapy right now, my therapist encourages my christian beliefs.

  • Amanda Magee (@AmandaMagee)

    October 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    The way you travel with the window open, the passenger seat free for us to come along, it’s just so generous. I am sorry that we are here for this, but I am grateful for the privilege to be a part of the virtual group that is here, for sorrow and for joy.

  • Diana

    October 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    We began therapy a week after it happened. I can’t do prescription drugs but therapy has helped our sanity. And there’s nothing wrong with crazy. I’m sure there’s a blessing in the crazy even if we don’t see it right away. I think about you often and at times I wonder if you can do it, I think I’ll be okay, too. Even at the times I don’t want to.

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