Pity in their Eyes

I remember the very first time I saw pity in an adult's eyes. It was a look of sheer sorrow, worry and regret. It was a look that made me realize just how devastating becoming an orphan at ten years old really was. It was a look that broke me.


At ten years old, I guess I didn't fully understand what losing my parents meant. I had some notion of what death was, but the consequences of such a loss did not dawn on me when I was first told of my parents' accident. The moment the police officer told me about my parents sudden passing, all I could really think about were the amazing moments I had shared with my parents that I would never be able to experience again - the lazy Saturday mornings watching cartoons with my dad, the hot summer days spent outside in a paddling pool, the warm lunch on Sunday afternoons after church...The first few hours of my "orphanhood" were that of confusion, denial and reminiscing; until I saw a look on an adult's face that changed my childhood forever...


Google defines pity as "the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferings and misfortunes of others". The moment I realized that pity that had suddenly filled the eyes of those I knew as my parents' friends, I understood that my parents dying meant a lot more than not being able to see them alive ever again.


The pity in their eyes scared me. It made me wonder what life would actually be like without my parents. Where would my sisters and I live? Who would take care of us? Who would feed and clothe us? Would we end up dying too?


The pity in their eyes worried me. If adults looked that worried, what did becoming an orphan really mean? What were they so worried about?


The pity in their eyes shook me. I couldn't help but think about the life that was ahead. Would it be a life of sadness and pain? Would I ever be able to smile again? How unfortunate was my misfortune and how bad was the suffering that was to come?


The pity in their eyes broke me...


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