I’m not 100% sure about writing this following post. You see, I think the subject matter is dreadful.
Wednesday afternoon I went with Richard to the hospital to see his mum, Betty. I hadn’t been to see her since she flipped out her hip, (again), on Christmas morning, so I thought it was time that I put in an appearance. As soon as she saw me, walking slightly behind Richard, she burst into tears and sobbed, ‘Oh Gail! Is it really you? You are here aren’t you? I thought you’d forgotten me!’ I guess I should have squeezed out a different reaction, but laughter was my first response and so I went with it. You see, I have learnt that if you let Betty get into her silly stride she becomes impossible and is her own worst enemy. So we had a jolly couple of hours with Betty flipping from semi sensible to semi silly and then she dismissed us.
The work traffic was awful, and we got held up in Nottingham for an hour, as we tried to get back to the motorway. The motorway was also a nightmare, but then it was nothing to what was waiting at home.
Richard dropped me off at the house and popped off to get some milk from the garage. Meanwhile I made the fire, fed Chea, changed into my dressing gown (I’m a slob, I admit it!) blah blah blah and had the house opened up for when Richard got back. He came in looking a bit puzzled and said, ‘A car bumped-up the verge, opposite the house, as I drove off after dropping you off and it’s still there. I don’t know if the guy is on the phone or if he’s ill.’
‘If you think he’s ill you should go over,’ I said.
Now, this comment in a ‘normal’ world is a fair, caring and considerate comment but…in this crazy world of ours, frankly it could be asking for trouble. The balance is very delicate. We live on a busy road within quick access to the motorway and the airport. Anyone could be passing. I started on the supper and Richard went out the back door. I heard him bringing in the bin and then, when, five minutes later he hadn’t returned, the thought hit me…he’d gone to the person in the car.
I looked out of the front window and sure enough Richard was out there. The neighbour from two doors up was on her hands and knees working at the man’s chest and Richard was on his phone to the paramedics. Other people had stopped in the downpour and the dark and were organizing the heavy traffic as it squeezed by the man lying in the road. Within ten minutes the paramedics arrived and took over. Richard’s concern and my neighbours super efforts had been to no avail. They put the man in the ambulance, still working on him, but fifteen minutes later declared him dead. Dead after everyone’s efforts.
So many emotions and realisations have surfaced through this. Obviously I’m going to sound very clichéd and say, we all have to live for today because you never know when you are going to be called, but that isn’t uppermost in my mind by any means. No.
This man,who had suffered a massive heart attack, apparently, had actually pulled his car off the road to be out of the work traffic!
Richard had faced his concerns regarding what might happen by opening the door of a stranger’s car.
My neighbour, who Richard had spotted at her door waving off someone, had run immediately across the road through the traffic and dragged, with Richard’s help, the man from his car. She had then kneeled on the wet road, with the rain lashing down, inches from the passing lorries and cars, and attempted to save this stranger’s life.
The police came and took a statement from Richard. I kept out-of-the-way, watching Richard from the lounge. He looked drained, bless him. I did go into the kitchen, dressing gown and all, at one point, and ask the officer how much longer he was going to be. Richard was beating himself up about not going to the man sooner but the police and paramedics said that the man would have died instantly, and I have also said and believe this.
I can’t get over the picture in my head of the police going to the man’s home and announcing to his nearest and dearest that their husband/father had died in his car, on a random road, on his way home from work. That a life should end so unceremoniously I guess. This is life I know. And I know that I should dismiss all this now, but for some reason I can’t. The traffic still trundles past. There is nothing to say, or to show, that a man, a stranger, died outside my lounge window. How delicate and fragile we are.
I guess each day is a gift. We should unwrap it carefully, and even if sometimes the gift isn’t quite to our liking …or what we would have chosen for ourselves, delight in it, value it for what it is…the most precious of things.
PS For some reason, which I haven’t figured out yet, each time I add a picture to this post it ignores it and posts a picture of Starfish! If the same thing happens today when I press publish please forgive me. As I say, I can’t figure out yet how to stop it doing it xx