Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How Would YOU Do It?

The phone call late at night ... late for us anyway.  When you go to bed at 9 p.m. anything after 10:00 p.m. feels like the middle of the night.  I'm not the one who answers the phone late at night.  I cannot make myself get out of bed and face what might be waiting for me on the other end of the line.  I wait and know that Dean will do that for me.  He will face the voice at the end of the line and I'll find out soon enough.  It's our child.  In Ecuador.  "Abby wants you to call her back using our phone card."  "Right now?!"  "Right now."

How would you cope when your daughter tells you her fiance had just called to tell her that sometime during the week and a half she has been in Quito taking Spanish language classes while he travelled to Sweden for business, their house had been broken into and robbed.  The house behind a tall, secure wall.  The house with strong bars on the windows.  The house located at the edge of town, seemingly hidden from the notice of thieves.  The house she had made her home.  The house she felt safe in.  The house with their precious possessions.  What do you say to a daughter, thousands of miles away, who is in tears and feels vulnerable and violated and is hurting?

How do you cope when the mother in you screams out to fix it, but you can't?  Where do you find the right words ... the right tone of voice ...?  Where do you find the strength to offer yourself as a vessel large enough to hold all her pain and anger and fear and tears?  How do you try to lessen her hurt when your heart is breaking for her?

I did the best I could.  I tried to find the right words.  I tried to offer comfort, through a phone line, to a daughter who was crying, alone, thousands of miles away.  Then I tried to sleep....a little.  Now it's just me, tuning out the world, alone in my head, with music playing through earbuds so loud I will probably shortly be deaf.◦


Lesley Collins said...

I bet just hearing your voice, her mom, helped a lot.

Al said...

Oh geeze!

Yeah, I bet just hearing your voice really did help.

Damned thieves.

Art Elser said...

I'm so sorry for both you and Abby. It's tough at times being a parent, especially when your child is off somewhere by herself. But, Cathy, I'll bet your parents had times when they couldn't help you when things went wrong. Happens to all parent/child relationships. And distance sure doesn't help.

I guess the long range perspective is all you can take on something like this. You've been there as much as possible for Abby, and she knows it and appreciates it, or will appreciate it when she gets some distance on the immediate problems.

And this is how all of us get stronger in this life. And we do need strength. You have strength and have helped Abby with it. You didn't always have it, and Abby perhaps doesn't yet have it. But tough times make us stronger. What doesn't break us makes us stronger.

Just words, Cathy, but they've proven to be true for almost all of us. Abby will be stronger for this. Be thankful she wasn't home by herself. Possessions, although important, aren't as important as relationships, which you've just proven, and stuff can be replaced, at least in kind.

Thanks for sharing your pain. Let any of us know if we can help.

Abby said...

Having someone like you to call was all I needed. Thanks for always being there for me.

Katelyn said...

Oh, no, I'm so sorry to hear that Cathy. From someone who has delivered thousands of hysterical phone calls to a far away's enough that you called back.