“... I’m scared”
I walked back into the room and saw Laura hunched over and quietly crying. “Honey! What’s wrong?!?”
She turned toward me and simply said, “Daddy. It’s Daddy”
“What about your Dad? What’s wrong?” Her Dad had passed away two years ago, but I didn’t want to bring that up and start the grieving process all over again.
“I just want to talk to him, He won’t answer me” she said as she held out the phone. I wasn’t sure if she was trying to call him or she thought that he called her. Either way, I could see that she was convinced that he was around.
I quickly ran through some options in my mind but settled on just running with it.
“What do you want to tell your Dad?”
“(that) I love him”
“He knows that. He’s your dad. He knows you love him - just as you know he loves you.” I was hoping that this was working and Laura would start to settle down.
”tell him I’m scared.”
”Oh Honey. I’m here. I’ll be with you. What would your Dad do if he knew you were scared?”
”whisper - in my ear”
I now have this mental image of a young dad softly whispering in his frightened little girl’s ear as she sat on his lap. I lowered my head and held her ever so tightly. I slowly breathed the words “I love you. I’m here for you. You are safe with me.”
She stopped crying and we held one another for a few minutes without saying anything more.. Then I asked her to tell me her favorite story about her Dad. Her memory was drawing a blank so I painted the canvas with the story about her Dad and the little black kitten she brought home when she was about 7 years old.
Laura smiled at the memories. That was all she needed; the entire episode was over for her. But for me, I can’t get it out of my mind.