How does one react to this. Don’t scream, don’t cry, don’t breathe. The others are sleeping, no need to wake them. This is personal. This is you. Compartmentalize.
It’s 2 am and your laying wide awake in a hostel bed, in a city on the other side of the world, in a country that doesn’t speak a word of your local language. You stare at your phone. There’s been an incident. He’s fine, but we’re keeping him for observation. You knew that this day was coming. For months you’ve been telling him to go to the check-ups. You begged him to get clearance from his GP before going on a 3 weeks trek in the hills of Italy.
What do I do now? I can’t go home. I can’t tell people here. I can’t tell anyone. Oh god, even my brother doesn’t know what’s going on. Am I supposed to tell him? I can’t do that. Why is this happening? Anyone? What did I do that was so horrible that my family has to suffer?
How do you deal with family aliments when they refuse to disclose what’s going on? You dig. You call the doctors. You track down the nurses. You pull every string imaginable because this is family. This is the man you raised you. Who despite your ups and downs, and there were many, would cheer for you at the top of his lungs. Who didn’t understand all of your decisions but you knew that he was trying to be supportive. All of a sudden every argument, every bad word and every “leave me alone!” vanishes and is replaced with sorrow. A heavy weight is placed on your chest. It’s familiar and foreign at the same time. You know the next steps. You also know that he’s going to fight for his life because he has to. And you know that you’re going to be right by his side once again. You know that you’re going to have to be strong and not let it show. You can’t let him know how terrified you are. You don’t need to distract him. You need to focus and so does he. You two will get through it.
But right now? It’s 2am and you’re on the other side of the world. At 2 am you can break. You can plead. You can get angry with the universe. But do so quietly. Do so silently. And in 10 minutes, never do it again.