I am terrified. No it is nothing to do with halloween or spooky goings on. Such things hold no terror at all for me. Ghosts don't scare me (and I've seen a couple, believe me). I don't really do horror films, because most of the villains are completely unbelievable. I think it is probably something to do with my mother having cancer when I was eight years old. I realised that there is nothing worse than the vulnerability of your loved ones and it is not mythical entities that are the threat, but the mundane, soul destroying horror of chronic illness that is the most horrible thing.
Well that's what I would have said if you'd have asked me a week ago. I am perhaps starting to re-appraise my opinion. Not because that isn't a truly terrible thing. I still believe that cancer has inflicted a hundred million times the suffering of any bogeyman could ever dream of. I've watched a couple of friends die horrible, slow, painful deaths through cancer. I have no doubt that no torturer ever hasbeen so cruel. Wheras a torturer cannot do their business for months/yerars on end in full view of loved ones, cancer systematically destroys.
But for any parent, surely the worst fear, the unspoken dread is that your child is at risk. For me, this has been brought home by the fact that just over a week ago, my daughter started a university course in central Italy. This was supposed to be a big adventure for her. I am sure it still is. For us however it is starting to be a real struggle. Where she is studying at L'Alquila, is in the middle of the earthquake zone. In August 300 people died. Although it is not the epicentre of the current set of Earthquakes, my daughter has felt sizeable shocks and was moved out of her accomodation. The worst thing is that no one can say whether the worst of the aftershocks has been felt or for how long they will continue. Every news bulletin sees new pictures of devastation.
It appears that the college do not seem overly concerned, but for us every time the phone rings or we get a text message, we hold our breath. I am not a risk averse person. In my life, I've taken some ridiculous chances. But when it is your child you feel completely different. The terrible thing with these earthquakes is that you know you have no control over what happens and whilst statistically she will probably be absolutely fine, you only need one ceiling to collapse, one brick to fall or one house to collapse and our whole world would change.
The worst of it is that if our daughter wasn't in Italy, I would probably be almost oblivious to the fact that a fellow European country has tens of thousands of people homeless. I would be oblivious to the suffering they face, as winter approaches. I wouldn't care that their whole life has been turned on its head. Travel broadens the mind. I hope that whatever my daughter takes from the experience is positive. I was shocked to read how many people have died in the last century in Italy as a result of earthquakes. It really does make you think.
So please excuse me if I don't really seem my usual self right now. I am a tad distracted right now.