Warning-This is a disturbing story. Feel free to not read it:
Yesterday was a good day. Actually, in hindsight, yesterday was a great day.
I got up, took the dog for a walk and got ready for work. I played with Kenz and Jack for a little while before I left for the day. Work was productive, and I felt good about it.
After work, I took Kenz to the bike co-op to work on our bikes. It's something we've been wanting to do for a month now. We had a great time! She learned how to fix the seat on her bike, and loved watching every one else work on their bikes. I brought Click, my new road bike along. It turns out, she's a great bike. She's in great shape for her age and just needed a couple of minor adjustments. I got detailed instructions on how to tape the bars, and I'll do that this weekend!
Then, we came home and I got the kids ready for bed. I planned to leave the house at 8 to go to the Y for a run. But, Kenz was exhausted and had a melt down. She only wanted me, so of course, I stayed home and snuggled with her until she fell asleep. By the time I got out the door, it was almost 9PM. I was so annoyed, because my training plan called for a 38 minute run, and there was no way I'd get that much time before the Y closed at 10. But I went, and put in a hard 30 minutes. After the 5 minute warm-up I cranked up the pace and kept it below 10:30 for the last 20 minutes. So, everything was okay after all.
I left the Y and stopped at Price Chopper for a couple of things for breakfast. While in the store, I called Shayna and we had a great conversation. It was fun and light, and I was happy when I got off the phone to get in my car!
I pulled out of the parking lot, feeling pretty Dam good about life. But, within 2 minutes, events occurred that will change my life and who I am forever.
Western Ave is a busy road. It's a four lane street with a full size median and businesses lining both sides of the street. The speed limit is 40, and it's a dangerous road in the best conditions. Last night, the road was not busy. There was me and a delivery car about 100 yards in front of me.
I came to the crest of a little tiny knoll and something in the median caught my eye-pretty far ahead- I mean about another 100 yards in front of the delivery car. I was pretty sure it was a person, but he was dressed all in black, and didn't seem to be moving.
I think my train of thought went something like this, "That's pretty dangerous I hope that guy sees him in the road he might try to cross in front of me right after that car passes him. slow down to give him room if he does. Okay i think it's gonna be okay." I took my eyes off the delivery car for a couple of seconds to scan a side road or driveway that I was approaching.
And then I heard it. That gut wrenching, sickening sound of a car hitting something alive. The delivery car stopped immediately. I pulled over into the nearest parking lot and jumped out of my car. I grabbed my cell phone and hit 911.
I didn't want to see what was on the other side of the delivery car. I had to see. I ran across the street. I will spare you the details, but the sight is something I will never forget. I ran back to my car and got my coat to put over the man. He was laying on the ground, not responding.
I stayed on the line with the dispatcher. He asked me to look for a pulse. This is the part that I am not proud of: I responded "You want me to touch him?" But, I bent down and took his wrist in my hand. I have been beating myself up about that comment since the moment it came out of my mouth. What a selfish, horrible thing to say. I have been thinking, those might have been the last words he actually heard, and I was treating him like an untouchable. But, this is what I realized tonight: I did bend down and take his wrist in my hand. I felt for a pulse and couldn't find it. Although that meant nothing, because I can never find any one's pulse. But here's what matters: I didn't let go. Long after I stopped feeling for a pulse, I continued to hold his wrist in my hand. The police arrived within a few minutes, and only then did I let go.
It is an eerie feeling to know that I was one of the last people (possibly the last) to see him seconds before he was hit. In those few seconds of normalcy, before it changed forever.
And I wonder if he was aware of our physical contact on some level. I hope that my touch was reassuring and calming in those last few minutes before the police arrived. I do not know if he had family who was able to see him in the emergency room. I do not know if he had any human contact after those minutes, that wasn't clinical and task oriented.
I learned today, the mans name was Nicholas Luna. He died sometime this afternoon.
And now I think, how lucky I am to have had that extra time for snuggles with my 6 year old last night. How unimportant those missed 8 minutes of the run were. How fortunate I am to be here today, and to have the ability to run. How brave are the survivors that I work with every day. And, that above all else, human connections and kindness are so important in this world. because you just never know what lies ahead.