Holding Grandmother's Hand

I was there when it happened yesterday.  People on their way to…(whereever).  Laughing, chatting, singing, and driving.  Suddenly someone does the unexpected and turns in front of another car.  You know the sounds -the nearly simultaneous screech and thud.  The sound of my stomach turning.  Uh oh, an accident.

My first conscious thoughts as I approached the car that took the crash head on were:  “What will I see when I look through the car window?  Can I handle it?  Will I know what to do?”  Whatever the thoughts were in-between the crash and the  awareness of walking toward the car, I discovered later that in seconds I had put my bike kickstand down, sent my 9-year-old son to stand safely by the light post, pulled the cell phone from my pocket, dialed 911, and started walking into the middle of the holiday weekend travel log-jammed intersection.  “What will I see?  I’m scared to look,” said my mind. 

Luckily for the passengers they had not a visible scratch.  A quick check of the other car and the same.  Someone Else was there -helping.  Triage done!  (If there were invisible injuries, I will never know.)  “Now what?  How can I help until The Authorities come?  Who needs me more -my son or the car’s occupants?”

Looking into the passenger window again, my mind relieved at the relative okayness of the situation, I was free to see through the eyes of my heart.  My heart saw two scared women checking with each other.  “Are you okay?  What happened?  I’m okay.”

The fifty-something driver daughter was farthest away from my reach and my son.  Her mother, Grandmother, sat with only the partially opened window between us.  As I wondered how to help, I saw her lips tremble in response to my gentle inquiries.  Answering while she bravely fought back tears, her ageless Mother’s Courage claimed to only be worried about her daughter.  Was she really okay?  The trembling lips and reluctant tears spoke to my heart and suddenly my heart knew what to do.  I asked if I could just hold her hand through the window.  

Hearts connected through our hands, I stood leaning in.  She sat -waiting.  Together we waited.  Sometimes it feels so long before Help in the form of official vehicles arrives.  Someone Else suggested the car should be moved out of the intersection.  The driver complied.  Grandmother held my hand as  I walked alongside the moving car.  Though my mind wondered if I should let go, my heart (and hers) knew it wasn’t time yet.  We stayed connected.

Finally sirens arrived -police, rescue vehicles.  It was time for The Authorities to help.  With Grandmother’s permission, I made final good wishes, accepted their gratitude, and returned to my role as mother.  After connecting with my bravely onlooking son, I gathered my Mother’s Courage and crossed that scary intersection with him.  Then it was our turn -our lips trembled, our eyes welled with tears as we relived our scary witness experience.  We were okay, too.  Just scared.  I knew what to do – I took his hand and gave him a hug.

I can still feel her skin in mine today -the soft, sunken skin of an aged Grandmother.  (Is that how My Own Grandmother’s hand felt?)  And next time, my mind as instructed by my heart will know what to do – just reach out and take the Scared Hand.

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