I don’t believe in ghosts, or aparitions, or supernatural beings, and I certainly don’t fancy myself a modern-day Frank Pierce, but I can’t forget these people.*
Don was a middle-aged, middle-class guy with a normal job and a normal family living in a normal house. He was having a heart attack, and had been for quite some time. He told me in the ambulance that he was going to die, and later begged me not to let him die. I told him, and his wife before we left the house, that I would take good care of him.
The next time Don’s wife saw me, I was doing chest compressions on her husband. A few days later, I saw her as I slipped into the back of the church during his funeral, but I didn’t have the courage to approach the new widow.
Julio was a precocious young boy, with the horrible diagnosis of an inoperable malignant growth in his brain. I never saw him as a playful child, but only after it was too late. His Lightning McQueen pajamas are something I will remember until my last day. I can still hear his mother’s wails of grief when I walk past that room, a room I have been in many times since.
I can’t help but cry a little bit inside when I see my own son, who is now Julio’s age, wearing those same pajamas, smiling, playing with his Lego blocks, and healthy.
Cheryl was simply getting a quick tennis game in before going home to get ready for a Junior League function. Her tennis shoes, skirt, and visor all matched, a shade of green rarely seen in nature. Her body wanted to continue playing, but her heart soon played its last beat. It happened right in front of us, we knew it was going to happen, and we were prepared. But we still failed. I know nothing else could have been done, but I also know that mine was the last face she saw.
I saw a man who was obviously her husband hurrying into the hospital while I was sitting in the ambulance, looking concerned. I reached for the door handle and briefly thought of approaching him, but once again couldn’t muster the courage.
De’Andre was much too young to make such adult decisions. Instead of choosing a movie to take a pretty girl to, he chose a life of crime, and decided to run with gangsters. Rival gangsters don’t care if you don’t have a driver’s license, and they don’t care if you have a family. De’Andre was too young, and too immature, and paid for his choices.
He cried for his momma on the way to the hospital.
I’ve talked about these people, and others, with the nice lady with the soft couch. Sometimes it helps, but mostly it’s futile. I don’t think that nice lady can understand, and I don’t think I can make her understand.
*you know these aren’t real names by now, right?