Imagine walking into a business to meet your spouse, partner, mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. and find that he/she is lying on the floor and instead of hi honey, he/she is lying on the floor and there's a pool of blood and she isn’t moving and doesn’t look normal her eyes didn't light up when you walked in something is wrong wrong and.
There are five people in the room. One is giggling and staring at him, at you. Three are resolute in their willingness to look anywhere but at your beloved. At the human being sprawled on the floor. The fifth is talking on the phone as if nothing is amiss.
While your spouse, partner, mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. lies in a pool of blood and you crouch down next to him and say I’m here honey I’m here I’m here.
And there are five people in the room gawking and giggling and phoning and you have no idea what has happened and you say honey I’m here I’m here and you have no idea what's happened and no one is speaking and he tries to speak and.
And then you say “Did anyone call an ambulance?” Because — he was lying there alone and people are gawking and giggling and I ask:
“Did anyone call an ambulance?”
And you whisper reassurance and hold his hand, hoping he can hear you because his eyes are so blank and he was lying there. Alone.
And hours later, after you learn what happened and he’s okay and your own heart is skipping beats from joy and you realize, again, that love is always pain and you knew it would be from the moment you met him three decades earlier. You knew back then there would be a moment when he wouldn't be there and back then you thought “Oh, I can’t do this I can’t love him because eventually one of us will leave, one of us will die, I won’t be able to stand the pain.”
But you did do it and now it's thirty years later and is he dying what is happening? and he was alone on the floor, clothes smudged with blood blood smeared on the floor a deep red pool of blood near his head and then hours later in the hospital it's all okay. This time wasn't the end.
Thank you every human ever and everywhere who has dedicated themselves to helping humanity. Thank you for medicine. For science. For doctors and ambulances and nurses and machines that help the heart beat.
"Thank you" is so . . . little. Had this happened in a place with no immediate, fast, expert medical treatment, he’d be dead and I’d be a widow and unable to write this because I’d have drowned in grief.
And hours later you think:
We all understand the micro level: “Oh my god my wife, sister, child, husband is lying on the floor in a pool of blood.”
But the macro level matters, too: “Oh, my god, there’s a human being lying in the floor in a pool of blood and what I can do to help?”
Why did no one help him? Why did no one offer comfort?
Don’t be one of those five people not holding the hand of the person on the floor. Not trying to comfort him.
I used to be one of those people.
But that was then.
Now I will always get down on the floor and take the person’s hand and speak softly into her ear and say “It’s okay. I’m with you. I’m here.”