Yesterday was one of those days I won’t forget in a while. It gave me reason to do every one of the above things.
The day started like any other day in my life (and town). Apart from my cat having a major stress out about the change of her kitty litter, all was as it should be (one day I might even blog about THAT little episode).
I work only a 3 minute drive from my home. As I sat in my car at the bottom of the street waiting to turn onto the main road into town I acknowledged the amount of traffic on the road. It is school holidays and heading into the Easter weekend. We are the last town on the way to numerous beautiful country camping areas and the roads were filled with cars towing trailers and camper vans on their way to their long weekend holiday. Due to this, it may have taken me 4 minutes to get to work instead of the usual three.
Work was uneventful. Nothing out of the ordinary at all.
A short time after 10am I was standing at the photocopier in the printer room when the sound of a helicopter grew louder and louder. It was flying so low that the vibrations travelled up my legs from the wooden floorboards. Looking outside I could see the managers and staff from our building next door out in the car park watching something. I called out to them but they couldn’t hear me over the noise of the helicopter. No sooner had the helicopter landed than it took off again.
We often have helicopters overhead in our town. There are many reasons for them.
As we are close to the hospital, the RACQ careflight helicopter often comes in to transfer patients to the larger hospitals in Brisbane on occasion. This chopper didn’t land at the hospital though.
Piecing the stories together I learned that it was indeed the RACQ careflight chopper and it had landed in the main street of town (a short walk away). That could only mean one thing – someone was badly hurt.
Then more rumours filtered through. A pedestrian had been hit. Some were saying the person had died and others said that they had been taken to hospital. My thoughts flew to my elderly in-laws who come into town every Thursday to do their shopping and park in that area. I messaged the GG and told him I was worried and could he please check on his parents. The Tween began messaging me with information she was obtaining from somewhere.
The minutes ticked by and graduated into an hour or two.
And then the GG rang me and told me who had been hit and the wind left my sails.
I wasn’t close to this person but she had been a small part of my life for the past 18 years or so. All of my children know her as well.
When I first moved into this town as a single mother with two young children, I took up Avon as a way of earning a few pennies and making a few friends. I was given an area and I set about letterbox dropping it. One lady called and asked me to come around. She was so very chatty and talked for hours to me (literally). She was my very first Avon customer and was regular with her orders. She could become a little overbearing at times but she had a good heart.
When I met the GG, I discovered that his family also knew this lady. His parents went old time dancing every Saturday night and this lady and her husband did also.
When I took up squash I discovered that she played in the Day Ladies competition. She was extremely competitive and didn’t like to lose. There were few of us who enjoyed playing against her because of her idiosyncrasies on the court and propensity to call ‘let’.
When the kids went to school we saw her each day as she worked as a lollipop lady (crossing guard).
She had her quirks that we laughed about. I hasten to add that we never laughed AT her, we laughed about her quirks.
She had no fear when she help that STOP sign in her hand at the school crossing and I witnessed her often stepping out in front of the school buses. She never left the house without being fully ‘made up’ and having her hair coiffed in an interesting style. She had pencilled on eyebrows, bright lipstick and loved bright blue eye shadow. And she loved to talk. About anything and everything.
If we were out somewhere and in a hurry we took steps to ensure we didn’t catch her eye if she happened to be out and about at the same time. We knew that chats with her were never short.
Every time I spoke with her she would always ask how my son was doing. She always called him by the wrong name and I corrected her each time. She would laugh and say “that’s right” and then forget again the next time. She always asked the GG how is parents were.
She talked about her girls. They were her pride and joy. Them and the grandchildren.
She had seen my in-laws recently and informed them that this weekend there was a huge family get together planned prior to a wedding. She was excited about seeing her daughters and grandchildren.
I’m told that she never saw the car that hit her. She stepped out in front of it, walking with her head down as she always did. One of the locals in the next car required treatment for shock.
So many lives changed yesterday morning. The ripple effect of any tragic death is far reaching.
And so I paused to register what was going on around me. The situation gave me pause to think.
I pondered just how fragile life is and just how important it is to tell those around us that we love them and how much they mean to us.
I pondered my attitudes toward her. Although she often exasperated me or we found her eccentricity funny, I always knew that deep in her heart she was a good woman. A woman going through life and it’s issues in the best way that she knew how. And now she is gone.
And I pray for her husband (who is also a kind and gentle man). And I pray for her girls.
And I pray for the poor woman and children who had come into town from a campground to buy supplies and didn’t see the woman who stepped in front of their car until it was too late.
Love the people you are with. Tell them how much they mean to you.
Maybe later, I will blog my original ‘P’ word – ‘photography’ but for now, I pause, ponder and pray.