Yesterday, while holding the hand of a dying woman, I was reminded of some of life’s most important lessons.
Last night, my friend and I were delivering a birthday cake to a good friend of ours. The pedestrian light turned green so we started crossing the road, talking about how exciting it was to deliver a surprise birthday cake. Suddenly, we heard a big thump right behind us. We whipped around to see where the noise had come from, and saw a huge cement truck who had driven over 2 female pedestrians, walking only a split second behind us. It took a second to register what was going on, but it was clear – there were 2 bodies lying in the middle of the road, one completely motionless, and the other screaming and moaning for help. My friend quickly got on his phone to call an ambulance while a crowd milled around, watching and doing nothing.
In that moment, I felt so helpless and useless. What could I possibly do to help?! I felt frozen, but all I could hear was the scared screams of the injured woman. So I walked into the road, bent down, and gently grabbed her hand. I held her hand with my two hands, and tried to tell her in my broken Chinese that help was coming and that I was there for her. My friend joined me and held her other hand, and together we waited for the ambulance to arrive.
As the siren became audible, she squeezed my hand once really, really tight – maybe from the overwhelming pain, or maybe from the relief of hearing the sirens. But as the paramedics put her on the stretcher, she then lost consciousness.
Later that evening, my friend and I went to find her at the hospital, only to be told that she didn’t make it. All I kept thinking was whether I was the last human being she touched and heard before leaving this world?? Why didn’t I say more, even if it was in English, to tell her that she was brave, that she wasn’t alone, and that she was loved?! If that were me – walking one second later than I did – I would have wanted to hear those words.
Last night, a mother and her 12 year old daughter died tragically on their way home from the swimming pool. Life works in mysterious ways, and being there in the last minutes of these two peoples’ lives, it reminded me that our time on this Earth is limited. So I wanted to let you all know that I am grateful for you, and that I am blessed and honoured to have crossed paths with you, and to have you in my life.
In memory and remembrance for this mother and daughter, I would like to ask that you also tell the people you care about most in your life, that you love them, and to thank them for sharing their lives with you. We are the sum of the people around us. Thank you <3
RIP 蘇暄惠 & 洪品瑜
I will never forget you xx
8 December 2013
(Wang Guanren / Photography)