September 23, 2011 A year ago, my mother died. Swept away, the one person who had known me, carried me, kept me close to her heart. The one who was always there for me, urging me on, supporting me in my crazy schemes; who nursed my children, prayed for them night and day, held their teenage confidences when I could not. The one who adored her great grandchildren and prayed for them too. One moment she was there, a feisty ninety-year-young who cared ceaselessly for others, drove old ladies to church, talked non-stop on the phone to her friends and family whenever she could.
And the next she was gone.
Swept away by an out-of-control driver who could not, would not, stop.
And I stood there frozen, helpless, unbelieving; stunned from having been hit by the same car just a few minutes before. Stunned now by what I was seeing; not understanding, not believing.
Deafened by the shouts and the screams of the passers-by. Deafened by the sirens. Deafened by the silent scream inside.
Maybe I should have cried.
Maybe I too should have screamed.
But I kept it inside. And my tears turned to ice and my scream was frozen deep within.
At first, I thought of the hours and days she would have of convalescence; of how she would battle to walk again and fight for her independence. I looked at her face, ground into the road; at the white broken bone protruding from her leg; and her outflung arm, clawing frozenly at the tarmac. My heart froze too.
Then came the helicopter crash team; they rolled her over and their scissors ripped her clothes and their drips penetrated her body - and I knew. I knew.
They pumped and pushed and did their best. But she was gone.
I stood at her feet and asked for her to be covered; I could not bear to see her naked chest. They pulled the blanket to her chin; and I tried to pray for her, aloud. Tried to thank God for all she was and had been to me and others; tried to ask Him to take her to Himself; committed her to the One who loved her the best.
And the paramedic had tears in her eyes. “I’ve never heard anyone pray out loud before,” she said. “Would you like her teeth? And her watch?”
I took the watch and turned to thank the paramedics and the police and the passersby. People were so kind; so very kind.
But I was frozen.