This morning I witnessed the aftermath of a rather horrific car accident. A child pedestrian was struck by a car while crossing near a busy intersection just moments before we arrived. The scene was pretty upsetting to see.
At first, I didn’t even know what I was seeing. I saw cars stopped and a street light down. I thought I was looking at a terrible but typical car accident. Then I noticed there were a lot of people walking around. Then I saw six or seven people crouched near the sidewalk. Then I saw the small bundle of scrawny limbs awkwardly piled in the gutter. I noticed the backpack and the flower shirt. I noticed a child who wasn’t moving. I wanted to help her. I was getting up to help her…and then the fire truck was there, and we were moving, and it was over.
I returned to work. I did my job. I moved on with my day. I was shaken, but I thought I was fine. I tried to put away the memory of that girl scrunched up in the gutter, but as time passed, I became more and more disturbed by what I had seen. It’s still with me even now, as if I am still caught in that split second between realizing what I was seeing, and deciding what to do.
First responders arrived before I had to make a choice, but I wonder what might have happened if we had arrived just a minute or two sooner. If I had seen the child hit and what I would have found when I ran from my bus with my limited training in first aid and CPR.
I wonder if she is okay? I wonder, are her parents by her side right now? I wonder how her life will be shaped by this moment and how long the memory of her will affect me.
These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren
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