As if the leaving of my mom and brother were not dramatic enough, my brother decided to run away the morning of their departure.
He had been sulking since he found out they were about to go home. You could hardly talk to him let alone bring up the subject.
The past weeks he had drowned himself in his friends, in activies for the Youth for Christ, including a conference here in Geneva and a service trip to Italy for the European Kids Village. In the hope of lessening the pain of the departure, we hoped that all these activities would somehow cushion the news of imminent departure. We were wrong.
We knew he was angry and upset about leaving but we didn't know to what extent he would take it.
To better capture the drama, I will tell the story with a timeline:
6.00 Wake up call
7.00 Departure of Mama for the airport for early check-in
7.40 Shower time for me
8.00 Reminder for my brother to take a shower
8.20 Talked to my brother to help me with luggage - he leaves the house
8.25 Comes back because he forgot something and leaves again
8.30 Mama has checked in her luggage
8.33 Mama calls brother and doesn't say where he is
9.10 Boarding time, brother no where to be found, reported to airport police that brother is missing
9.20 Tells airport ground staff that brother is missing and luggage will be offloaded
9.25 Supposed ETD (estimated time of departure) - no sign of brother
9.30 Baggage offloaded/Mama comes out of arrivals with baggage
10.00 Homebound meanwhile friends were called to inform and watch out for brother
12.30 Search for him at the gare; while other friends check out the airport; non-stop phone calls on how people can help
13.15 Go to church to pray for brother
14.00 Brother is found! His friend's parents told him to come over
22.30 Meeting with brother after he's ready to talk
00.00 Finally sees brother and hugs him
I'm tempted to opt for the cliche "All's well that ends well" BUT this is the reality of diplomatic life or any life that involves moving your loved ones, children especially, when it comes to saying goodbye to established relationships in that place. It was too painful for my brother to leave. He had made his statement that he didn't want to go. It was evident. But staying here was not a choice as he needs parental guidance and male influence to give him a male role model. He can only get that in the Philippines.
I didn't get to talk to him and I thought it would be better that way as I am still beating myself up from the thought that when he wanted to talk I immediately shut him out knowing full well that he would plead his case to stay here. I am sorry for that. But I didn't want to be cornered by a bunch of youths pleading on behalf of my brother. It was not the place nor the time. The time had come on its own after my brother decided to be a prodigal brother/son. And I'm glad that I'll be enjoying my mother and brother's company for a few more days and hopefully, when the dust has settled they will be able to leave peacefully and without much delay this weekend.
It was perfect timing and the best catharsis that lessened the pain of departure on all of us. It seems like a deux ex machina in a film where God's hands really made the plot move.
I am thankful that he has returned and I hope to be more of a sister to him and listen to his problems.