Around 9 p.m. last night my husband, stepdaughter and I went to a big box hardware store. We were looking for a new back door, some water filters and a new bathroom cabinet.
As we were walking into the store we heard a guy yelling for help. “Call 911. Call 911. My dad collapsed.”
As we moved closer I saw a older man lying on the ground and his son knelt over him. “Dad! Dad!” He said shaking him.
The man wasn’t breathing.
“Start CPR,” The woman on the phone calmly said.
Oh shit I thought to myself as I watched the son perform CPR. He counted. One, Two, Three, Four. Nothing.
I stood there watching. Helpless.
The man started breathing. He opened his eyes a little and started moaning.
The son stopped.
The man stopped breathing.
“Start CPR again,” the woman said. I assumed she was on phone with the 911 operator.
The son started. “Don’t do this to me, Dad. Don’t do this to me.” He voice cracked as he pushed on his dad’s chest. “One. Two. Three. Four.”
Tears threatened to overflow, but I pushed them back. Crying wouldn’t help the situation now.
My husband ran in the store to see if there was a defibrillator. He came back empty handed.
The man started to breath again. He started to moan. He opened his eyes a little. I started to have a little hope.
“Is there a pulse?”
My husband knelt down and grabbed his wrist. “Faintly.”
“What is his name?” I asked. I was standing next to my husband. I didn’t know why I asked this. I wanted to hold the man’s hand and talk to him. I wanted to tell him everything was going to be ok. Even though there was a chance it wasn’t.
The son didn’t answer.
The man stopped breathing.
The son started CPR again.
I prayed that the ambulance would come soon.
“Does anyone know CPR?” The lady talking on the phone asked. “We need a replacement. He’s getting tired.”
I ran to the store. “Does anyone know CPR?” I yelled. Not one hand went up. Fuck! A young store employee, probably nineteen, followed me outside. “I know CPR, but I’ve never had to use it.” Another employee came running out. “I know CPR.”
He took over Another stop and start.
The EMT’s came. They put an oxygen mask on him.
How many times can he start breathing and stop breathing?
I looked around for his son. I didn’t see him.
The ambulance came. They hooked him up. The paramedics jolted him.
“Come on dude. Breathe.” I said quietly. I know dude wasn’t the appropriate term, but I just spent all day shopping with my sixteen and a half year old niece who calls everybody dude.
He started breathing. The EMT’s rolled him on his side and put a board behind his back so they could move him onto the stretcher. I knew one of the EMT’s. He started working at my place of employment a couple of months ago. I always wondering why he carried a walkie talkie type radio. Now I knew why.
The man stopped breathing. Another jolt. I winced. You see it on a tv show, but you know it’s fake. This was real.
A car pulled up. A woman walked to the son holding a little boy. The women started to rub the sons back. The man grabbed his son and held him tight. My heart broke again.
The man started breathing. They moved him onto the stretcher and rolled him toward the ambulance.
He stomach wasn’t moving up and down.
He wasn’t breathing.
No one was moving with a sense of urgency. They didn’t put him in the ambulance and drive away in a hurry.
Oh God. Was he dead? I kept waiting for the EMT’s to call the time. Time of death is 9:37. They probably didn’t do that at the scene. I wanted to go and hold his hand. I wanted to tell him if it was his time to die it was ok. I wanted his soul to know that someone was with him. But I didn’t. I didn’t think it was my place.
I remember the morning my dad died. I woke up at two a.m. In my head I told my dad that is was ok for him to die. My sister, my brothers and I would take care of my mom. I understood he had another journey to take. He died four hours later.
“Let’s go,” My husband said. We started walking toward the store. My husband looked back. I couldn’t. Instead I said a prayer. I prayed for God to watch over the man and his family.
I wonederd if I would have known CPR would I have been able to help or what it the man’s turn to die? I believe when your name is one the big chalkboard in the sky your time on Earth is up. End. Of. Your. Story.
I walked through the store in a daze. I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed. I never saw anyone die, but I just may have.
I wanted to gather everyone I love and hold them tight. I wanted to tell them to never stop breathing. I want die first so I don’t have to go through the pain of losing a loved one.
As I laid in bed this morning I wondered if the man was fighting with God during the starts and stops of his breathing. When he started breathing was he telling God that he wanted to live and when he stopped breathing God was patiently explaining to him that this was the next part of his journey until the man finally understood and stopped fighting.
I wondered if there were angels at the scene to carry his soul to Heaven or wherever it was going to next? What does a soul look like? I think of it was a circle of white light. I didn’t notice any white light going up toward Heaven. Maybe it was too early. Maybe I’m totally wrong about what a soul looks like.
I wonder what goes on on the other side when they expect a new soul to come over. We have a funeral on earth to say good-bye and to remember their life, but what happens on the the other side? Do family and friends greet them? Or does their favorite person greet them and help prepare their soul to cross over?
I know I’m probably ahead of myself. I don’t know if the man died or not. Him dying is just my assumption from what I saw at the scene. I hope I’m wrong.
I think I’m still in shock this morning. I miss my dad terribly. I keep thinking of the son of the man and sending him pink light, hugs and love. Can you imagine trying to save your dad like that? Or possibly dying lying in the parking lot of a big box hardware store?
The whole situation is heartbreaking.
Please pray for the man and his family today.
I will be.