Fragile

Most days pass by in a blur of routine. Most days nothing remarkable happens. Most days I get up. I tend to my babes. I go to work or not. I eat. I talk. I listen. I read. I cook. I clean. Things happen and then more things happen. I do things and then I do more things. I sleep. Most days. Most days are common, ordinary days, full of the little things in life that are mostly unremarkable in and of themselves.

Some days, however, are remarkable. Some days there is something in the air that doesn't quite feel the same. Maybe a heaviness in the atmosphere... maybe not... sometimes a remarkable day can trick you into believing it is just another ordinary one. So that when the remarkable thing happens you will really notice it. It will really stand out.You will really, really notice it and it will change something. Sometimes it can change everything.

Yesterday started out in an almost ordinary way, except that I went to work instead of working from home as I usually do on a Friday. I got the bus to work and sipped peppermint tea from my travel mug. I took this crappy picture.

It was a little warmer out than it has been and I took off my scarf as I walked from the bus stop towards my office... a cool breeze started and I put it on again...

I met a colleague as I approached our building and we began a brief chat about how glad we were that it was almost the weekend. There was a man, high on a ladder, washing the second floor windows of our tall Georgian building. We walked a few  more steps together, my colleague and I, and agreed that it had been a hectic week... and then... all of a sudden and with no warning, the man on the ladder was falling... the ladder bending and coming apart in the middle... and he was falling and clawing at thin air... and we were running as if to try and catch him... and we were at the steps of our building and he had fallen, 40? 50? feet, down to the basement level, narrowly missing the black, spiked railing. There was a woman crying and a man clambering over the railings to help him. There were people on the phone to emergency services and passers by holding each other and people in the offices across the road standing at all of the windows with hands over their mouths. Faces stricken. My hands were over my mouth too, blood rushing and roaring in my ears.  I was shaking and I could see his legs...twisted on the metal staircase that leads to the basement entrance. I didn't look down at his face... I couldn't... I physically shook for almost an hour after the ambulance came and took him away. The ladder lay mangled on the pavement.

The police are keeping us up to date on his progress. He is in critical condition, but stable. Yesterday afternoon he was just critical. Today he is critical, but stable. It seems like a contradiction in terms... but what comfort that word 'stable' brings. It brings hope... and I am hoping so hard that he will be ok... hoping that he has friends and family around him comforting and supporting him... hoping that he will pull through... hoping, hoping, hoping, hoping that he will be ok. Just be ok.

I am sitting here quietly now and I am acutely aware of how fragile life is. I am thinking about how easily life can change... how quickly everything can unravel... how, at the flick of a switch the routine can falter and break... how all of those little unremarkable things - the eating, talking, listening, cooking, cleaning, tending, working, sleeping, doing can be utterly altered... or even taken away completely...

... and I am grateful. Grateful for the health and happiness of my loved ones. Grateful for the way my colleagues have pulled together and checked in with each other regularly, even though it's the weekend. Grateful that I live in a country with accessible health care and speedy emergency services.

I am grateful for the unremarkable. Grateful that I get to continue with the blur of my routine... most grateful for my unremarkable days.

Update: He is out of ICU and continuing to improve. 

3 comments

  1. Nice blog. You may have seen this quote about the little things.. but just in case. http://caroleschatter.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/quotation.html

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  2. Thank you Carole. Thank you for visiting and for the quote. It is so right.

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  3. I had my hand over my mouth just reading it...so glad to hear he is improving.

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