Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Last weekend, my son saw a man die.   You can check out this post to get caught up.  My Son Saw A Man Die Yesterday.  My kid needs to talk.  About this.  A lot.  And we have been.

He was 58 years old.  He'd just bought the 4-wheeler for his grandkids.  He'd been divorced since 2007.  And by the crowd in front of the church Friday afternoon, he had lots of folks who loved him.

The 4-wheeler skid marks are still on the road, as well as the orange police spray paint.

And his blood.  The stain of the puddle and the splatter.  The grass off to the side of the road is flattened in someone's attempt to clean it.  I run past this spot every morning.

I am not an "obsessive" person really, but sometimes I do seem to develop.... habits.  Rituals, maybe?  Superstitions.  With invented consequences.  And I have begun to feel this.... responsibility.  Every morning.  To continue to run past this spot.  Let me see if I can explain it.

A responsibility.  Out of respect, maybe?  For this man.  The place on the road where he took his last breath.  Where his last blood spilled.  I think to myself that he cannot live, but I can.  What were the things he wanted to do, but didn't?  I can do those for him.  When were the times he wanted to jump, but couldn't?  I'll jump for him.

And as horribly cliche as it is, how many moments in his life took his breath away?  Were they enough for him?

What things would I do?  When would I jump?  Who would I want to take my breath, had I only until Friday to live?

I run past his blood.  I try not to look.  I try not to be a gawker.  I never step on it.  But I see it.  It looks like any other splash or spill or dark spot on the asphalt, unless you know what it is.  It makes me wonder, how many of those other spots we never notice are the end of someone's life in a puddle?

If I knew, would I feel responsible for their undones and unjumps and breaths never taken?

I close my eyes and still see the picture my son painted with his story.  The man on the ground.  Blood from his eyes and ears and mouth, gurgling as he struggled against the paramedic's suctioning, the puddle swelling outward from some unseen crack in his skull.

My son saw that.  This man experienced it.  His last few moments.  I pray into an empty hand that he was unconscious.

And each morning, I have run past this spot.  And my unwritten list grows.  My doings and jumps and stolen breaths that must be ticked off before I am ready for that puddle to be mine. 

Yeahwrite.me #55


  1. I'm so sorry that your son had to witness that terrible scene.

    We both shared a tragedy in our posts today; untimely deaths that leave so many questions behind.

    Hopefully, we are blessed with enough time to get the answers.

  2. Such strong writing, so poignant. I have not had such an experience.

    I can say that recently a little boy in our Down syndrome group, who had leukemia and was in the hospital for six months, lost his battle. It touched me deeply, even though I was not close with the family. It just "hit home" because I have a son with Downs close to the boy's age...

    Life can end at any second. So I try to be grateful for what I have. To me, that is what death does.

    Thank you for your beautiful, honest words.

  3. Oh my, I can't even imagine how your son is processing that scene. That is so great that you are talking about it as a family. Your post is just another reminder that we should all live every day to the fullest.

  4. Aww, I'm sorry. So tough :(

  5. Oh wow. I am so sorry. I can't imagine witnessing something like.

  6. I'm so sorry. That had to be so difficult for him.

    While I didn't witness the actual death, I was the one to find my mother-in-law's dead body two years ago, and while it's something I will never be able to forget myself, I've been so grateful that I didn't bring one of my kids with me to see her that morning. Though maybe it's not as hard for them as it is for us grownups who think about it so much.

  7. Oh god. That is just horrible. That kind of stuff just shakes you to your core. Throws you off balance for a while. But, like you say, also distills you down to what is really important to you. And helps you appreciate it even more.

  8. Wow. Great telling of the situation. I hope your son manages to open up about it and speak with you - or someone - about it. Take care.

  9. I totally get this. Hopefully, he actually is writing it down and letting the process help him deal. He has some fantastic parents to help him, too. {{{hugs}}}