Tag Archives: death

I’ve Become a Sissy

ambulance

Tonight seemed like any other night, minus the fact that I had the urge to get out of my apartment and take part in some physical exercise.

I started my run towards the neighborhood behind my complex when my sister called in, which then became my excuse to stop running and just chat away to catch up on life.

I had done my loop and finished sharing with my sister the dream I had about attending Kanye West’s birthday party with my parents when a sweet couple walks up to me and asks for help.

“We don’t know what to do, he isn’t well,” they said as I pulled out my headphone and looked at the black vehicle that seemed parked on the side of the road.

They took me to the drivers side and there sat a man slumped over in a position that no one in a heathy state would be in. That’s when my heart began racing and all I could think was, “This man is dead!?”

I worked in newspaper for six years doing the crime beat so this isn’t the first dead body I’ve seen. But for some reason this was the first time pure panic crept over me.

I couldn’t touch him, all I could do was yell at the rolled down driver’s window, “Sir! Sir!”

I asked the kind man who pulled me aside if the man felt cold to the touch. He said yes. Then I asked if he had felt for a pulse and his face contorted a little when he said no he hadn’t done that but he had already called 9-1-1.

Obviously, touching his neck to feel for a pulse wouldn’t save his life, but it would have brought clarity. But try as I might I couldn’t bring myself to do anything beyond yelling sir and asking if I should call 9-1-1 again.

While we were waiting another neighbor came up and asked about what was happening. We then asked if he would like to feel for a pulse and unlike us sissys this man went for it – but the man in the car’s body was too contorted to get to a pulse without moving his body.

That’s when the man in the car moved a little. I don’t know if it can be described as a jerk – but it was more than just his body falling further down. He was alive!

That’s when the other man helping noticed the car, which was running, was also in drive. Somehow the man passed out in his car with his foot wedged on the break – by the grace of God alone.

“We need to put this in park,” the man said.

I felt my pulse quicken as I realized the four of us were about to device a plan to reach into the car to make sure it didn’t suddenly start rolling away adding more to the already scary situation.

But just when I thought some action was about to be taken the beautiful sound of sirens began coming closer and closer.

Shout out to the Orange County Fire Department for the quickest response time. They immediately pulled in and rushed to turn off the car and get the man out. Loaded him on the stretcher and began making efforts to get him back to.

Unfortunately, I won’t know the end of the man’s story. He had a weak pulse and was whisked away to the nearest emergency room. The kind couple can rest assured that if he lives, they are responsible.

I, however, walked the rest of the way home realizing that the hardened journalist who was quick to jump in the car at the sound of possible death is now a big sissy. I couldn’t even touch the guy!

Geesh. What have I become.

Death … I’m Getting Existential

Yeah, I’m creepy. Existential Angel is taking over this blog post.

I was driving to work today and looked at the semi who had punched the brakes to make the stop where my car was resting. Death is right there, you know.

I don’t mean to bring people down but when you write about death every day it gets you thinking, you know.

I used to be afraid of facing the unknown. Not so much anymore, I’m pretty solid in my faith and my belief that beyond this life is a greater existence for me.

But the unknown is still scary. Let’s face it, no one likes facing the unfamiliar.

I say all this to say, at the end of this week I’ll be interviewing the family of a woman who was murdered a month ago.

I don’t know if I’ve ever talked with someone in this type of scenario so soon after the incident.

There is no investigation into her death, just questions. The woman’s husband killed her and killed himself.

Their divorce would have been finalized three days after the incident.

So now, creepy Angel arises and all she thinks about is how short this life is. I’m not getting cheesy, but its true.

This thing we’re all doing, it’s short. I’m not going to tell you to live every moment like its your last, I certainly don’t.

Just appreciate the fact that you get the day. I’ve talked to too many families facing death to not appreciate what God has given me today.

Have a good day!

The Tough Stuff

Sometimes this job gets to me.

I can handle a lot. There’s been scandals, murders, homeless, starvation, beach devastation. It always saddens me, but when I am forced to talk to a mother who lost her 16-year-old daughter the day before it hurts me.

I feel their pain, I hear their hurt and I ache for them.

A lot of people ask why anyone would talk to the media in situations like losing a loved one. I don’t know. To be perfectly honest, I would be very hesitant to talk to the media if I lost someone dear to me.

I think, though, that it can be somewhat therapeutic to talk about the life they lead and it can act as something of a memorial to scrapbook, I suppose.

Today, I spoke with a woman who not only lost her husband three days ago but her daughter died from complications from the same car accident. I don’t know why I feel like it should get easier in time, but I think it should.

Honestly, from my first story of having to talk to a family who had just lost someone to now, I have gotten better.

I put on my meager, calm voice. I show my sympathy and I know that when they say they’re done I don’t push any further.

But it will never be easy.

I pray that I never get used to hearing that a teenager full of possibilities died. That I never stop being angry when a drunk driver gets off on a 15-year sentence and that I always remember to show love and grace to families willing to let me in their lives during the most difficult times they’ve ever been through.

I think one of the worst times for me was interviewing a woman whose husband had been killed two months earlier. He was a military man and his plane went down in Afghanistan.

I was the first media person she talked to since his death.

We met at the paper under the guise of writing about a fundraiser for her to allow her friends and family to travel with her to a memorial service being held for her husband in Texas.

But we talked about everything.

You could see how much she loved her husband, how the reality of his death was still hard to grasp. She never shed a tear. Sitting on the other side of the table, my composure was a challenge to hold on to.

Tears continued to well up and I continued to try to suppress them. It was a challenge, and the story was even more of a challenge.

What a responsibility to write the last story of their loved one. To make sure you don’t upset them further and to try to summarize the life of a person in one 15 inch story.