I overhear my brother, aged seven, sobbing away in his room and so I open the door. He lies in his bed, just a little oversized for his small frame. He stares through teary eyes at the blank ceiling. God only knows what thoughts are swimming about in his awfully un-blank mind, tearing away at his little heart.
“Why are you crying?”
“Why are you scared?”
“I don’t want mummy to go to Japan. I don’t want her to go to Japan because there are tsunamis there. I don’t want mummy to go. I don’t want mummy to die.”
“She won’t- … I’m sure that- … Well- …”
What am I supposed to say to make his fear go away? This entire situation is horrifying at worst and unpleasant at best. What do I say? What do I tell this little boy? Do I lie? Say I know for a fact that our mother is coming back alive? I could, he doesn’t know how painfully breakable people are, not yet. He doesn’t know how even if it’s not a tsunami, it could be a speeding car with a reckless driver, an unskillful pilot in a roaring storm, or even falling down a flight of stairs in a moment of unthoughtful carelessness.
“Why don’t you pray for mummy?”
“Dear God, please keep mummy safe. Please don’t let the tsunami hurt her. Please watch over her. Please let her come home safely.”
“Go to sleep, okay?”
Crisis averted for now. Crisis averted in that small room full of innocent playthings and simple storybooks about princesses and princes and policemen always catching the bad guys. Crisis not averted in mine.
The fear is there. It lurks, as fear often does, in the back of my mind, at the bottom of my heart, whether I choose to acknowledge its presence or not. It can bring me to tears, and almost always does. It’s so terrifyingly crippling that I mentally change the subject whenever I think about it. One moment there, the next, gone.
The complexities of life and death and the veil between are tiring to contemplate.
I need more faith.
I need more peace.
I need less expectations.