I love the "China" story and it goes to remind those of us working with children that their mind set and understanding of events can be quite different from an adult. I am curious at this point about mother's sudden ability to talk about Dan. If my understanding is correct....in family systems theory (and probably others) changing one member of the system also changes the others. How aware of Kathy's work in therapy was mother? Do you believe Kathy had started to make changes in her attitude toward her mother, in her communication style with mother, etc. that contributed to her mother's ability to open up a subject that had been closed for years? It just seems to me that this sudden change might in fact be contributed to ongoing chnages in Kathy that allowed mother freedom to concentrate on her own grief. Perhaps mother's silence had been a mistaken but well meaning attempt to sheild Kathy from pain. Many parents believe that not talking about a sibling death is in fact the best way to sooth the pain of the surviving children.