An unforgettable nightmare

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The days were somewhat difficult, but we all as a family tried to remain optimistic and carry on as normal. One morning, I woke up and looked out of the window to find the ground was covered in a heavy blanket of snow. I always thought the snow was very dangerous; particularly when you are caught in a blizzard and the ice that builds up on the roads. But I couldn’t help admire how pretty it looked, the brightness of the winter sun making it glisten and sparkle.

Mum kissed my brother Max and I goodbye as we headed off to get the bus to school. When we returned home later that day, the flat was very quiet..too quiet. ‘Mum?’ we called out. ‘Mum?’ We opened the living room door slowly and saw mum sitting down on the sofa with her head in her hands sobbing. We both walked in and sat beside her. ‘Oh, mum! Whats wrong? we both asked with worry. ‘Its your dad, hes not come home yet!’ she cried. ‘ He said he was going for a walk, it’s been a few hours and he’s not answering his phone’. Max and I looked at each other in disbelief. I knew my dad wasn’t himself and hadn’t been for a few months, but this was very unusual.

Panic stricken, the four of us got into my older brother James’ car and drove to all the possible places where he might be. We took a recent photo of him with us and asked everywhere in the area. Cafe’s, pubs that he regularly visited, local supermarkets, even the parks – there was still no sight of him. A few hours had passed. We then drove around a roundabout and parked into a nearby car park across the dual carriageway. For a few moments, we walked around the car park crying out for dad. Suddenly, we noticed a familiar looking car that dad had. ‘Is that dad’s car? Max and I both asked, hopeful.

Thank goodness! Yes, it was his car. We all ran towards it and hugged each other with joy. But where was he? Mum took a few blank sheets of paper from her handbag, tore them up into smaller pieces and wrote a note to leave on the car windscreen. It read, ‘ Tim, we love you very much. Please come home soon, we are waiting for you’.

We got back into the car and headed straight home. After we got back inside, we all sat in the living room without saying a word to each other. Just anxiously waiting for a phone call. The minutes were turning into hours and by this point, we were getting very tired. Max and I headed to bed while mum and James stayed up.

That night, I couldn’t sleep. Tossing and turning, trying to comprehend why he would do such a thing. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how my poor mum was feeling at this point. Suddenly, I heard my mum cry out with a sigh of relief. Mum had gone downstairs outside the flat to the main entrance. I ran downstairs to listen and Max followed. ‘Thank you so much! I’m forever grateful’. She wiped her tears with happiness. ‘They’ve found him mum?’ I asked. ‘Yes, darling. A lorry driver was passing on the dual carriageway and saw him limping with bare feet walking towards the nearby woods’. ‘What?’ I replied, shocked. He was sitting alone with a bottle of whiskey and had barely eaten. The cold had caused him to develop hypothermia in his hands and feet. The driver had approached him, noticed this and dialled for the hospital. Luckily, dad’s mobile still had some battery power left which was just enough to make a call.

Quickly as we could, we got dressed and drove straight to the hospital to see him. When we arrived, we rushed to his bedside and all hugged him tightly. It was like a heavy weight of emotion was finally lifted from our shoulders. My mum however, couldn’t help sustain the hurt and worry he had put us through and then lashed out with anger and frustration. ‘ How could you be so stupid? We were worried sick! Did you ever think of how worried we would be? You could have died! Such a selfish thing to do!’ she exclaimed.

Dad looked at mum with despair and then looked down at the floor with remorse. I looked at him and watched his eyes tear up. It broke my heart. He had gone from happy, confident and full of life to being vulnerable, depressed and withdrawn. Then, he quietly responded with, ‘ I had to escape, I couldn’t deal with the pain of losing my home. I want it back.. It’s gone..everything has all gone’. And he broke down in tears. ‘ Nothing has gone, Tim’, mum replied. ‘Everybody is there for you, were here for you. But just promise me one thing, don’t you ever do that to me again!’ ‘I promise, Tree’, he replied.

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