“Mr. Jefferies, I’m afraid I have some bad news.”
Peter’s shoulders slumped, he seemed to be able to sense the weight of what was coming. After a moment he simply nodded.
“Well, the thing is that as I said I have some bad news. There has been an accident, and I am sorry to have to tell you that your wife and daughter have been killed, Sir.”
Peter made no sound as his entire body started to shake; his entire frame exhibited wave after wave of tremors, each moment the amplitude growing and then subsiding. As the convulsion reached its height it seemed to me that he was about to scream out, keening for his family, but each time he swallowed his grief down and the shaking would subside for a moment or two and then start again.
I wanted to reach out and put my hand on his shoulder, or say something, but confronted with my brother’s grief like this I was suddenly powerless, speechless, and I realised that I had no idea how to reach anyone, let alone him, who was in that much grief. I sat beside him, confused and lost.