A lot of what I write about is what I hear and what we discuss in our bereavement groups. I take in so much in these groups, I churn it, I digest it, think about it, and when I can, I let it out and write about it. Sometimes I use the person’s name who talked about it, other times so many people mention it that I just write.
In tonight’s meeting, Pam talked about a drive to go shopping on Route 84. She passed a pretty bad accident – ambulances, airlift helicopter, police cars, and mangled vehicles. But what caught her eye and her mind was the covered dead body on the side of the road. Obviously, someone did not survive the accident. She could not see if the person was a teenager, or a senior, or someone’s son or daughter, or mother or father. She didn’t know if the person was a reckless speeder who caused the accident, an innocent victim that was just driving along and had his/her life ended, or merely a passenger in the wrong car at the wrong time. She knew nothing – but there lie a dead body.
What we all thought, and Pam verbalized it so well, was that in a few minutes someone’s life was about to change. Someone, maybe parents, maybe a wife or a husband, maybe a son or a daughter, was about to get a devastating phone call that would forever change their life. This person laying under the blanket on the cold blacktop could have been someone’s only daughter, or someone’s father, or a husband. And the person or people left behind were going to get a call in a few minutes that will be the worst call they will ever get.
“Hello, this is Sgt Smith from the CT State Police, can I please talk to….” And that’s it.
Right now, that person can be playing tennis, or working in his office, or at school, or on vacation somewhere having an amazing trip. They are living day-by-day, very happy with their life. But that will all end very soon. With just one call their life’s path will forever be altered.
Most people who see this scene look at the body and feel sorry for that person who is dead. They probably died too young. He or she was such a wonderful person with so much to live for; they were taken from this world way too early. There are so many thoughts for that person. But they are gone. They feel no pain now. They have no grief. They are somewhere else, wherever that may be. But they are no more – they will not cry for those they left behind, they will not grieve for leaving this earth. Wherever they were going, they will not get there, whatever they were doing, will never be completed. All of a sudden they are gone.
But those they left behind. As grieving parents, most of us have received that call. We may have been at work, or at home, in the middle of the night, or on our cell phones. We have received that call. The call from some unfortunate person forced to give us the news that our child is gone. Gone forever from our lives. Each and every one of us can tell you exactly what we were doing before that call. What we had planned for that day, plans that never got completed. We were happy, we were watching TV; we were enjoying ourselves and feeling lucky to have such great lives. We were just going merrily along looking forward to so much. Then we got that call.
As grieving parents, yes we are sorry and feel for the person lying on the side of the road, bloody, covered, forever gone. But we feel for his or her parents, we connect with them. We feel for his or her wife or husband. We feel for the children left behind. We feel for that phone call. We relate to them so much more, we empathize with them – we are them. We are the ones who received that call which changed our lives. This call that devastated the happiness within our hearts. The call that forever changed the life path we were on.
All of a sudden.