concerning death. or: thoughts from a gruesome sidewalk

July 18, 2010

Driving back from church last night, just as I was reaching about 120 km/h after getting on the highway, I caught a glimpse of a guy waving his hands to the left, and the something red lying in the road right in front of me. I swerved, speeding between the waving guy and the something red, and immediately me and Maryke shared the thought that what we saw was someone lying in the road. About 250/300m further a truck and a car was stopping, and so did we.

I stopped (and at this point of the story I can write a whole post about the thoughts we were trained to think when doing this, even when on a highway with a body lying in the road), and jumped out of the car (leaving my wife, but we talked through this by now). Together with people from the other car we walked back to the scene. Just within the first lane of the offramp someone was lying. Bones broken and twisted into positions they were never intended to be. Intestines on the outside of the body. Apparently after first being run over, this person was hit by a number of other cars again and again before they could be waved of in time.

I called the emergency services, told them they could just as well send the police, the ambulance weren’t going to be able to do anything at this scene anymore. And so we stood at the scene. A tow-in truck stopped while I was on the phone. The driver was there with us, together with a few other people.

I guess people handle things differently when in shock. But some of them started talking. “It was a hijacker, they always run over the road”, the tow-in driver said. Lots of talk about the fact that none of the cars that hit this person stopped, and a reference to “karma”. I’m not sure whether karma was supposed to explain why this person was run over, or respond to those who just drove of after hitting someone on the highway.

I guess what got me was that we had to neutralize death. The person who died had to deserve it. There had to be some equalizing force at work which will balance what happened out, or where what happened was needed to balance something out. I guess we do it in church as well, when we tell people that there was a bigger plan to death, a reason.

And for me? Well, I guess I had to contend with the thought: “this shouldn’t have happened. God. This shouldn’t have happened”. No balance. No explanation. Nothing to soften it up.

(I remember this podcast helped we work through the idea of death some years ago, can’t remember all of it, but worth a listen)

2 Responses to “concerning death. or: thoughts from a gruesome sidewalk”

  1. Steve Says:

    It reminds me of a song:

    He was some mother’s darling, he was some mother’s son
    One he was fair and once he was young.
    Mary she rocked him, a little baby, to sleep
    But they left him to die like a tramp on the street.

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