Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Getting over her

I hope no one on the packed jetliner saw me cry today. I was crying for her even though I barely knew her.

It was on Friday that she passed. She lay down nearby and never rose again. Summoned immediately, our response was swift. We worked on her for almost an hour, a tight circle of people kneeling clustered about her, working in tandem and issuing curt commands to each other which were instantly obeyed. But she didn't come back.

The trip member who had raised the alarm came up to me later that evening and rubbed my back briefly as I stood there glumly, and said we had done all we could in the circumstances. It felt so good to have a momentary physical connection with a living person. I inanely told her that coincidentally, I had taken a CPR course just six weeks ago. I earnestly told her how well everyone in the little group had performed.

On the plane ride back home five days later, as I was writing notes about that day, I became overwhelmed with the grief and disappointment of losing a fellow being. Of having someone die even as my hands were on her for almost an hour, beseeching her to hold on. When it was over, the living just got up and walked away and continued on with their lives.

I put down my pen, closed my notebook and my eyes, and leaned my head far back into my seat. I kept brushing those pesky tears off my cheeks as soon as they trickled down.

At that moment on the plane, I wanted someone I loved and who loved me that I could hold onto as I replayed it in my mind. I wanted to cry out my hurt and pain over the loss of another on a loved one's shoulder. But although I was soon to be home and my three adult sons live in town, they don't care for me nor speak to me. These self-absorbed young men are not persons I would ever look to for help. The rest of my family lives elsewhere.

I wish that lady had lived. I can still see her husband of 48 years, shock etched on his face, kneeling in the sand off to the side, holding her hand as we worked. Damn it all, we worked so long and hard and got such wonderful assistance from everybody there and we had no damn success.

13 comments:

Christie said...

I'm so sorry. **HUGS**

ShirleyPerly said...

Oh dear, sorry to hear someone you did CPR on did not make it. But at least you and others gave it your best effort. Hope other things during your vacation went much better.

Rainmaker said...

:( Sorry to hear about her. It sounds like you gave it everything you could humanely do - which is all anyone can ask for. Hope things get better soon for you.

Anne said...

I think somewhere that woman and her family are grateful that there were strangers like you who cared enough to stop their own lives to try and save hers. If she's been married almost 50 years, then I'm sure she brought plenty of good memories with her on the way to the everafter.

abby said...

Oh peter.
I am glad you are home.

Sunshine said...

Trying to save someone (you've been there before?), feeling the anxiety of the family/spouse, helplessly witnessing death .. so close.. so irreverseable .. so beyond appeal.
So sorry.
I suppose we all hope someone will be there for us .. family .. or friends ... or, as you were, strangers!
Glad you are home.

akshaye said...

I am so sorry. That's terrible.

jeanne said...

oh god peter...no words. i'm glad you were there for her, as you are there for so many people.

cindy said...

This is a touching post...so sorry it happened..

Bex said...

Like the others, I'm so sorry for her and her family and for you and the others that tried to help her. Who was she? You did everything you could.

David said...

That was not in the script you wrote for the holiday but it surely is etched in your life now. Pain. Helplessness. Sorrow.
Something to work through and carry on.

yumke said...

That was a moving post... Sad to witness that..

Jade Lady said...

Now, I understand your comment to me about Jul.4th...What a trip it was - full of adventure, fun and sorrow.