Have you ever wondered what is it I’m supposed to do? I have.
Have you ever thought you where supposed to be more? I have.
Have you ever felt something deep with in you, a feeling that said keep reaching keep searching? I have.
Do you have moments that just knock you sideways. Moments of such spectacular awareness, you wonder where did that come from.
Have you ever been in a situation with a scene unfolding in front of you, where you are left asking is this it? Is this all I was supposed to do?
When a sequence of seemingly innocuous events, put you standing in a place, and every single way you look at it you where supposed to be there.
I had a moment like that once, as I felt life slipping through my fingers as I tried to help a boy dyeing in the street.
Every single thing that happened in the preceding three days, weeks possibly months put me on that spot.
Of the hundreds of people on the street that night it seemed to fall to me to step out, as people looked and walked by, he was invisible apart from the spectacle.
I alone would break from the habit of turning away, this human would recognise another in deep need.
I have a clear image of me siting on my bed and crying that night.
Even with the years and years of experience I had, I was doubting whether I had done the right thing. How could I have been carrying out CPR on a boy in the street. Fifteen years olds are not known for having heart attacks. It had made no sense. I was consumed with doubt and fear in those early hours, shivering with the fever I now had.
As I looked at the soft round edges of a teenagers face, on a six foot frame. I felt the shock this wasn’t a man it was boy, a young boy with a giants body. Still a child and no one was coming to his aid.
I felt the shift, the sharpening; in those moments, my mind throttled through gears. The awareness that every single thing mattered, Everything I would do, each singular action would matter. All my experience converging like a river. Every single sense I had was heightening, and all I knew in my mind was available to me.
I could feel the danger we where surrounded by gangs of teens phones out, my London child street sense was on high alert; I pushed the vulnerability to the back of my mind. There was no time for a sense of self preservation.
I spoke in the boys ear “I’m going to help you Joe hold on”
I knew we where at the gates, this kid was about to die; that grey the grey you see, it sends an icy cold rod through to your very core. It is reserved for these occasions. Nothing sharpens a humans mind faster than seeing that colour.
I began running through the cascade I didn’t get to C ……
FUCK FUCK FUCK
As I began CPR everything went fuzzy the edges blurred the centre brightened. All I could see was him. I heard my own thoughts ‘do want you can Mand’
I barked orders at bystanders.
My ears desperately searching for the sound of sirens.
We needed oxygen we needed a Defib. I pleaded inwardly please let them get here he’s not got long. They arrived like angels clad in green cotton, I have never been so relieved to get back up in all my life.
I had been out in the street, feeling a life suspended on the precipice. In limbo between a death and a future.
As I watched them load his lifeless body into the ambulance a police officer took my details. I wiped the blood off my face, I hadn’t noticed it was on me till then, he had smashed his face as he fell to the floor.
It was senseless. It hadn’t been drugs. It hadn’t been drink.
It was a single punch to the chest. A single random act of violence.
I should have been on guard that night. In a sense I suppose I had been a guardian. I had to swap my duty, strangely for me, I had been unwell. I was on a course of antibiotics. No fun and frolics for me.
Seeing as I was now free I had gone to a gig in the town centre. Being bone dry on a night out, That was unheard of from me. This alone was a miracle. All the things I would have normally done, I did not. I had turned up the hill looking for food; instead of going walking down like I normally would.
There was nothing normal about this night.
I ignored the “its just a drunk person leave them” comment.
As I sat on my bed and cried, I questioned how could I have done more, did I do enough, had I done the right things? I was doubting every single gut instinct I had. As my experience converged in a way where time slowed and all I could hear was my inner voice I still questioned it all.
I had one question answered, one I had kept so hidden from the world. I had quit my job in the red cross. I could no longer teach or deliver first aid training after my mum had committed suicide. I couldn’t even look at the dolls or Ressuci Annies. It brought images flooding to my mind, things I had never seen, the darkest of things. Things I had been told about.
The fear I was hiding I never ever breathed it to a soul. I was worried I would choke, I wouldn’t be able to help; to keep my head and follow my training in an operational battle field situation. That my fear would be the barrier to life when I had to face death.
I had my answer. I had it in the most painful and real way. I wouldn’t find out what became of the boy for 24 hours. My phone rang in lectures. I excused myself and stepped out. A woman was on the other end of the line
“Hello is that Amanda, its Joes Mum”
I was stood in shock I couldn’t speak she continued, I could hear the emotion in her voice I could tell she was crying. I was frozen, welded to the floor.
“I wanted to thank you for saving my Joe they have just woken him up.”
I crumbled on the spot. I slid down the wall tears pouring down my cheeks. I felt a warm wave of relief pouring through me.
“The doctors said he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”
In my heart I knew this not to be true, the heroes that night arrived clad in green. I knew what Jo needed was emergency care. I knew deeply he needed help, I knew I would not allow him be alone in those moments between life and death. I played my part.
It does make me wonder who rescued who that night.
Looking back so many singular moments put me on that street. I still truly don’t know how it fits in with everything I do and I’m yet to do? Of all the hundreds of people out that night in central Birmingham. It was me who found myself stepping out.
I do remember clearly asking after is this it? Is this what I was supposed to do? I was asking about my purpose for being.
I felt it in my body ‘No this is not it, you are not done, there is more to come’.
I know that feeling, its a strong undercurrent that runs under the surface its always been with me. I am yet to understand it.
My journey continues …
Remember you can be star light in an ocean of darkness. You can and do change your life and the lives of others around you.
The big puzzle pieces may not always seem to fit together, one day you’ll see the big picture.
Until then….Be the difference in the world you wish to see.
Shine on you magnificent human…x