November 25, 2006
Things Could Always Be Worse
Yesterday, as my friend and I were returning from our madhouse shopping trip, there were vehicles stopped right in the road - two cars in one direction and a moving truck in the other direction. We couldn't get by and started looking to see what was the cause. We looked over to the sidewalk and saw a couple people, one a neighbor, performing CPR on a man on the sidewalk. Because my friend is an RN, I insisted we stop. She didn't want to, "my certification is lapsed and I technically shouldn't be performing CPR". I insisted, knowing our neighbor probably didn't know what she was doing.
I was right. The two administering weren't doing it correctly, so my friend offered her help. Our neighbor suggested that someone go to the gate, to keep it open for the ambulance, so I jumped in my van and drove off. On my way (a 20 second drive), it occurred to me not to pray for the man's well-being, but for peace for his family and for his welcome to the other side. I did not have any reason to know he'd been dead a number of minutes and that no amount of help would revive him. After letting the ambulance in, I went back to the area and saw my friend giving compressions as a different neighbor gave the breaths. I stood away, just praying that all would be well, still praying mostly for the loved ones of this man. At one point, I stepped behind (as if my feet moved on their own, as I did not want to be anywhere near his body or interfere in any way) the crying woman, who turned out to be his wife.
They were an unexpected couple, interracial, she younger than he. He rough-looking, long gray hair in a braided ponytail, she strong, beautiful. They have a 6 year old daughter and he was taking her for a walk when he collapsed. The daughter ran home to get her mom.
I stood behind the wife and, with my hand on her shoulder, I prayed. Her mother was standing beside her, visiting for Thanksgiving. I prayed silently at first for this woman, that her family would surround her and be with her and her daughter (and other children?). As I prayed, she slumped and I put my hands under her elbows as she fell to the ground, bringing me with her. I was on my knees behind her, and as she leaned back into me, I put my arms around her. This woman, I'd never met. She moved in just as I moved out, we were never neighbors, never friends. And here, on a sunny Friday morning, her day became Black. She clutched at my arms, kissed my hand, and I held her.
The police asked her questions and before she got in the car to be taken to the hospital, she turned to me and hugged me. She thanked me and asked God to bless me. And all I could think was this woman had hope that when she arrived at the hospital, the doctors would tell her her husband would be okay. I hugged her back tightly and whispered a blessing, unable to keep the tears from my eyes.
On this Black Friday, after starting my day early for shopping, I was reminded that going to Baltimore with my husband is something that I should be grateful to do. I pray for the woman and her daughter. The beautiful day was deceiving, as it stole away their protector, their love, their life as they knew it.
God Bless them.
Posts written by humble servant
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