I’ve always been the type who fears the dark, far-off places, unknown things and future events. When I was wee, an old man asked me why I was afraid of the dark when everything is the same as when it’s daylight. I haven’t forgotten that, but still the dark figures lurk. The year I went to France, my mum called it my ‘giant’. Right now I’m waiting for a letter inviting me to a spinal MRI and wildly hoping it doesn’t come…
These were my fears before but now, coming out of my safe lockdown house into the world has become my number one fear.
From when she was little, my daughter has always gone back time and again to her favourite book, Can’t you sleep, little bear? We read it again a couple of weeks ago. I think during this scary time of absent friends, cousins, grandparents and school, you have to bring children reassurance and this book was a small way of doing that.
(I’ve written a book! Read it monthly, subscribe for £2.50)
This time it got me thinking. Are we all a bit like little bear right now? A lot of us can’t sleep, and when we do, nightmares are common. We can explain it all away and find the little lamps of comfort to get us by, but there is a fear looming that no panacea will get rid of:
It’s the fear of leaving our homes and stepping out into a world of two metre distances, unexpected coughs, lockdown breaches, the VIRUS.
In the story, big bear brings little bear a succession of lamps from a tiny one to the biggest one he has, but he is still afraid. The climax of the story is when big bear carries him out of the cave into the night ‘and it was DARK.’ Little bear finally falls asleep. It’s not clear whether he even saw the massive moon or whether it was just the comfort of being in big bear’s arms that did it.
If you are feeling afraid, look for the small things that bring hope to you, but also remember there are braver, stronger people (maybe angels in boots?) that can help if you just ask.
You don’t have to face this alone.