Miracle's Boys Questions and Answers
by Jacqueline Woodson

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How does Dr. Vernon help Lafayette accept Mama's death?

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In Jacqueline Woodson's novel Miracle's Boys, Lafayette begins seeing psychologist Dr. Vernon in chapter eleven. His Aunt Cecile takes him in the beginning. There are two main ways that Dr. Vernon helps Lafayette accept his mother's death—he listens to him and tells him his mother's death is not his fault.

Dr. Vernon provided a safe space for Lafayette to express his feelings. In the beginning, Lafayette didn't say or do much. But he was comforted by the smells of Dr. Vernon's office and by Dr. Vernon's demeanor. Here is a quote:

"He was tall and thin the way Ty'ree said my daddy had been. But Dr. Vernon's hair was white like Aunt Cecile's. And he had a white beard—like a skinny black Santa Claus."

At first, Lafayette doesn't do anything while he's with Dr. Vernon. Then he starts writing his name and the names of his brothers. Dr. Vernon asks how Lafayette feels about things, and he says he wants his mom back. Dr. Vernon validates his feelings without giving him any trite sayings or empty platitudes.

Another important way Dr. Vernon helps Lafayette is that he tells him that his mother's death is not his fault. Charlie blames Lafayette for his mother's death because Lafayette was the only one at home when she died. His mother died of complications from diabetes, which was clearly not Lafayette's fault, but it is important to his healing to hear those words from someone he respected and admired.

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