The Lost Tickle

Missing one of your children is an interesting experience. My husband moped around the house for a few weeks. He missed Michael greatly. I certainly noticed that my right hand in cooking was gone. We all missed Mr. Witty and random fact spiller. But Greta’s reaction was one of the most endearing.

As I tucked her into bed one night and we discussed her missing brother, dutifully working at summer camp, she wondered about the most important part of their relationship as siblings. “Will Michael forget how to tickle me?”

I assured her that Michael wouldn’t lose his ability to tickle her and they would still have a lot of fun when he got back. The simplicity of childhood – and yet the most vulnerable and intimate. Here we were, adults and so mature, thinking about surface level areas of missing our son. Greta went straight for the heart of the matter, to a very personal level, and she wasn’t afraid to do so. She also seemed much more at peace once I had reassured her of her biggest most personal fear about her brother being gone.

Perhaps we, like Greta, should open up about our deepest fears to people we can trust instead of dwelling forever on the surface level ones. The sooner we are assured – the sooner we have peace.

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