When I parked up outside my Girlfriend’s parents’ and knocked on their door last Saturday, I was blissfully unaware of the chain of events that were to unfold that day. Rather, I was looking forwards to the road trip with my future in-laws down to his parents, my girlfriend’s weekend London home, to celebrate his Birthday. The mild sense of disappointment felt when my girlfriend’s mum couldn’t accompany us due to a stomach upset soon passed. After all, I could enjoy quality manly chats with my future father in-law whom I could luckily also call a friend.
Nothing was amiss: nobody could predict the next 9 hours’ turn of events. Leaving her to recover, he gave her the morning paper, kissed her goodbye and we left. Later that day following one of many family outings to a restaurant we’d enjoyed, I was awoken from a blissful afternoon slumber with my girlfriend. We needed to head off. Unbeknown to my girlfriend so as not to worry her to a poor, but routine problem with sickness, I was told in private that her sister had returned from work to find her mum in a bad way, both Dehydrated and sluggish – an ambulance had been called.
The mood on that drive home was light-hearted, but concerned. Nothing too bad; he’d drop me off and visit her in hospital to keep his life love company as she was being re-hydrated. As we pulled up, puzzled with the presence of the ambulance still, the last thing on both our minds was that so many people’s lives were to change. Forever.
I will never forget that surreal sound of his cries of disbelief as he was broken that tragic, devastating news. I will never forget the slow-motion walk up their drive’ with people looking down, unwilling to make eye contact. And I will never forget the moment you still refuse to believe, a paramedic with an unenviable task pulls you aside and utters those words you don’t want to hear, “I’m so sorry, we did all we could. We couldn’t save her. I’m afraid she died.”
Unable to breathe or talk properly you’re then thrown off an emotional cliff. Nobody prepares you for this. Nobody tells you what to do. Moreover, with it being your most loved one’s parent, nobody tells you how your life will change too. Then I got hit by another emotion: I realise that a drive of two hours was awaiting with her father and sister to break the news all over again to my girlfriend, who was still, luckily, peacefully unaware she’d just lost her mother. I hope I never experience that wretched drive and long wait again. That torturous, debilitating knowing of what she’s about to be faced with, and despite the personal turmoil facing me, not knowing what she’ll feel.
That wait. That face as she’s told. That scream. That panicked, instinctive run out and away from the news on bare feet: That moment will haunt me forever.
But you know what? Something which I can only describe as a miracle was about to happen.
As I cradled her shaking, petrified body, hyperventilating and sodden with tears, I felt compelled to tell her to look up to the clear sky at the stars. I whispered quietly into her ear and said “Your mum’s up there right now with God. For reasons we’ll never know he needed her more than we do. She can see us right now and she’ll always love you.”
I then witnessed nothing short of a miracle as her crying stopped in an instant, then she smiled, let out a quiet, soft, happy laugh, beamed into my eyes and said “She’d been looking forward to Heaven all her life, she can ask God so many questions now”.
Her coping ever since has been unparalleled, and remarkable. There have been some very sad moments as she reels from the loss, but now my belief in faith couldn’t be questioned. We’re all getting through this day by day, and I’ve never experienced such deep stress, anguish and pain for somebody, on top of coping with the loss of somebody you also loved. But I keep thinking back to that moment and it makes me smile, and fills me with a calming aura.
An event such as this brings so many elements of your life into perspective. However, I’m fortunate to lead a life I love, have a future with somebody who loves me in return, and fortunate that I have a job in an industry that I’m so so passionate about. But one thing’s for sure – it’ll make certain that I try to get the very best out of every moment I live in happiness.
Who could possibly knock such faith after that?