... these particular musings are likely to seem quite I-centric which isn't to detract from the other people who will be mentioned in this sharing...writing (even poorly) is how I process the world, and on this platform it is how I process the metal, emotional and physical load of training for stupidly long distance running - and the 'why' I do it.
Most of you will know that I run very early in the morning, this is how I have come to know many people living / sleeping rough. An unfortunate result of reading too many mysteries is that I have an intense fear of coming across people in distress, or worse...it is always early runners who make macabre finds in fiction. My secondary fear is that something will happen to me while out alone in the dark, and as such I always make my bed before I leave for a run, just in case.
This morning while out running with the dogs, in the small hours of the morning I was witness to a very serious motor accident. There was no-one else around; just me, the driver of the car and the motorcyclist now laying on the ground. It was bad...
It felt an age that I was alone with the chap while an ambulance was called by a truck driver I flagged down, tending to him and assessing the situation.
I allowed, even encouraged, him to grab me, grip me, hold me. Do whatever he needed to know I was there, whatever he needed to stop the urge to move, whatever he needed to take even a small edge off of the pain - and as he did so I stroked his face with my fingers and looked into his eyes; determined to keep him focused, conscious. Intensely intimate for strangers... He told me he didn't want to die, and with more confidence than I felt, and more confidence than the gravity of the ordeal deserved, I assured him he would be fine, that he HAD to stay with me here and that this was just a really shit start to the day...I didn't know, yet, how serious the situation was.
Then emergency services started to arrive, first Police, then Fire, then Ambulance (first response team of one), then more Ambulance and Police, then some sort of special emergency team ...by which point I was starting to lose my grip and shock was seeping in. Clothes were cut off, wounds exposed, emergency medical procedures carried out and the reality of the severity was sinking in. I wondered if there was more I should have done while waiting for others to attend, other than keeping him still, refusing to remove his helmet, calling for help. It was dark, he was conscious and in obvious pain. A passing driver had stopped and brought out rope to tourniquet his leg, a nurse had also appeared, reassuring and helpful...we did what we could.
People were talking at me with masks on, the dogs were put in a police vehicle (out of the way as they were now also quite stressed), there was organised chaos and an increased sense of urgency. I assisted, hands on until I couldn't and was switched out with an officer...and allowed to go home.
I am going to side step the majority of the big details, in respect to all involved, especially the driver and the motorcyclist ..and the accident is still being investigated so details shall not be typed out here.
I ran home, having declined what I think was an offer to be driven by the police, groaning and half hyperventilating as I did. Trauma was trying to squeeze itself out while I forced it down in order to 'just get home'. Morning rituals started and just as I thought I had the day under control, I lost it - sobbing, hyperventilating, near vomiting while laying on the kitchen floor. Shock had well and truely set in ...but the kindness of others; many others pulled me through.
So.. you might be wondering what this muddle of words is doing in a blog about endurance running and ending homelessness.
I run a lot for training, I am out there most days for hours and hours, and have been for years; I have seen and experienced an AWFUL LOT. Some good, some less so, some awful. Some morning runs are f*&cking terrible...
Life, seemingly exquisite, precious, fleeting, (and possibly inconsequential in the grand scheme, unfathomable as it was to have the world continue to turn in the face of such dread this morning) but...maybe love and kindness are what give it enough weight.
I feel tired, but unable to sleep or at least close my eyes right now. I feel different, changed and dully aware of the shift. I am very scared that the chap isn't going to make it, I feel intense guilt that I didn't look back as I left, and that I left when I did, I feel so very badly for the driver of the car, aware that he is suffering...and all my tiny, little bothersome niggles and grumbles of less than 24 hours ago no longer matter.
I have no idea how emergency services people survive their job, so grateful that they do. As I lay here in bed, cathartic typing instead of sleeping, I hope I did enough...
I always hope I did / said / showed enough...but tonight I REALLY hope. xx