I do believe this, Tom Gregg. Thanks for your wise words about the past. It does mark us but we live on, somehow.
As for obsessive self-regard, it’s not something I bother with. What happened was that I was consumed with worry at the thought of a loved one in distress, and couldn’t help but wonder if I had anything to do with it even though it made no sense, no matter which way I tried to parse it.
One of the many toxic thought patterns I’m trying hard to unlearn is that not everything that goes pear-shaped is my fault nor has anything to do with me…
The missing data did come.
It turned out the distress was very real as I had sensed. And the silence was because they needed time and space to process. I suspect they were also trying to protect me from the fallout to some extent, so I wouldn’t worry.
Human communication and empathy sometimes get their wires crossed, and even the best of intentions can backfire.
But the mutual care is still very much there so we can and will weather anything, with patience, openness, and gentleness.