The Rear Window

As they rolled my gurney down the hallway, I looked up and saw bright neon lights.  There were two people pushing me as we rounded several corners. I closed my eyes in prayer realizing that I could be very ill.  My life pictures played in my head as I conversed with God. The prayer rested on my lips…be with me Lord.

Thus began a new chapter in my life.  Now the pages of life would include a close monitoring of my heart, new medication, and the realization again of my mortality.  Looking back on those moments, I am thankful to have had this time to review this important change.

The two attendants launched me and the gurney into the back of the ambulance. The woman sat across from me and the man went to the driver’s seat, started the engine and left the parking lot.  What happened next made a big impression on me.

Looking backwards, I could only see through a dirty window. Treetops glided by, birds flew high in the clouds and I could recognize street signs upon arrival in intersections. Because the attendants were busy “attending” me, I played a game called…Where am I?

Having lived in Daytona for almost twelve years, I was able to view this familiar world from a reclined position. I enjoyed the scenery as it slipped by and I could hear traffic sounds and the police radio blaring in the front seat. All of sudden, the driver called out.  “Fatality on the Boulevard. Thirty years old jumped from the back of a pickup truck and landed on her head. Guess she had a fight with her boyfriend according to the arriving police officer.”

Thirty years old? Jumped from a truck? Had her whole life ahead of her? Maybe hit by another vehicle? All of this raced through my mind as we continued on our journey to the next destination.  A big Why…kept shouting in my head!

7833530_sThoughts became reality as I was transported in the ambulance. I thought about how I was sixty-nine years old, possibly having a heart attack, and wanting to live another thirty years.  How different our desires as I compared myself to the young woman who had made a choice to jump!

Almost to our destination, I commented about looking through the rear window. The spunky female attendant nodded her head. “Yes,” she said. “I have spent the last fourteen years seeing life going backwards through that window.” I now nodded my head understanding yet another viewpoint in life.

Upon arrival, the gurney and me were whisked down the long, dark hallway and eventually parked in a cold, sterile room.  I signed the necessary papers and they helped lift me onto the hospital bed. “We promise that this will be a whole lot more comfortable for you.” They said simultaneously.  I thanked them and said goodbye.  Guess, I was ready for the next new experiences.

I quietly thanked God for his caring hand as two bubbly, well-trained nurses came into the room.  “We are here to take care of you.” Said almost like a song. In addition, I knew they would, but this time I would see them in front of me, not behind. There was only one direction to go now…forward for the rest of my life!

I wish the young woman who had died on the boulevard that night had had another chance. Perhaps with this impossible wish, I should live my life even fuller. I needed to remember again how precious life could and was each day. In fact, as I listen to my beating heart, I am reminded of the choices we all make. Some are given a second chance…but some are not! I was…

 

About the Author

Maryann Hartzell-Curran, a retired educator and counselor, has written a personal account of her journey through the first year of grieving the loss of her husband in her book, “From We to Me,” to help support those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Maryann founded a successful family therapy practice and taught in the public and private sectors. She also founded and directed a church-based preschool in Lombard, Ill., and gained experience working with the elderly as director of a senior dining center. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin and a master’s degree in counseling from Illinois Benedictine University.

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