Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Thin Line


I was reaching to close the shutters against the invasive noon-day sun when I was startled by a scream directly below me. There is often noise in the center of Arles but this...the sound caught my stomach, resounded in my bones. I looked down to see a woman in a heap on the ground, her young son helpless at her side. She was staring at her cell phone and then began to yell "Mon frère! C'est pas possible! C'est pas possible!". She started to sob, raised herself and began to wander blindly all while continually repeating the same phrase. My brother, it's not possible, it's not possible...I was ready to go to her but saw the men from the café across the street were already at her side. One tried to calm her in vain while the other phoned for an ambulance. Her cries rose and were joined by her son's who kept asking "What is it Mother?" He had not yet understood. Very fortunately, our doctor lives across the street and came out at a run. She firmly but calmly grasped the woman and issued her inside her office. I stood staring at the shut door while the quiet rearranged itself. How quickly it had all happened.

Such a thin, thin line. Between before and after. Better then to take a moment, right now if you can, to appreciate your loved ones, your friends, your pets, your community, your family. I am sorry that today's post is a sad one but I know that we all need a reminder now and again. Not to take any moment for granted because we have so many gifts everyday, right in front of us. My heart goes out to that anonymous woman for her loss. 

21 comments:

Jackie and Joel Smith said...

This is so true. . .thanks for the reminder. My heart goes out to that woman. Carpe diem is my mantra but included in it, is love your loved ones.

helen tilston said...

Dear Heather,

I know you must be saddened by this occurance. You live in a wonderfully civilized place where so many people with empathy came running and then a doctor to be so readily available, that is a blessing.

Your beautiful image of thin, thin line speaks loudly and is a reminder of how fragile life is.

On that note, I wish to thank you for the joy your bring me with each post from a beautiful corner of the world.You observe daily life with a heart full of joy and compassion.

Helen xx

Lost in Provence said...

Perfectly said, as always Jackie.

Lost in Provence said...

Helen, your extremely kind words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for being here, being there and being you.

Judith said...

Oh yes, such a thin, thin line between before and after. I've always remembered the scene in Goodbye Mr. Chips where he bids his wife goodbye and tells her to be safe and sadly watches her drive away. It was the last time he saw her. Even when there is not a war going on around us, we just never know.

A beautiful post, Heather.

Acquired Objects said...

I know about thin lines after 911 and will never forget. My heart goes out to the woman and I hope she can find peace with her loved ones.

XX
Debra~

Aidan said...

Oh Heather,
What a sad thing to have happened and how beautifully you shared it with us. I am thankful, present and aware. You have my gratitude.
Aidan xo

Loree said...

A very true observation. I was thinking the same thing only a couple of days ago.

puppyfur said...

Witnessing a stranger's pain is difficult to bear, but your compassionate response is an indication of the empathy you so often show. It is this that makes the world spin....that we feel so much for others, and can imagine the extent of their pain. There but for the grace of God.....

Jewel yet to find said...

Dear Heather, a very sad day indeed. "Partir, c'est mourir un peu, mais mourir, c'est partir beaucoup." You have an open heart and always find the exact words to share the feelings... thin line...before...after...
And yesterday Nora Ephron passed away...An iconic New Yorker. Who didn't love her "When Harry Met Sally" and many other hilarious movies and books? She made us laugh and smile and cry.
You make me laugh and smile and cry. You bring a voice to a mute numbness of deep sadness.
We have to cherish NOW, who knows of tomorrow..
Thank you so much...

SALLY said...

Heather, what beautiful souls you and your readers have. Your post and the previous comments are beautiful.

The Auntie Times Online said...

How awful! It's true what you say, grasp your love ones daily.

Glamour Drops said...

Your observations are not sad at all. They are beautiful - because they remind us to focus on what is most important. John has a picture of the WTC above his desk, with the note "you never know how your day is going to pan out" which he scrawled across it. It's a daily reminder to remember that which is important, and not get caught up in the little things. After all, our hold on life is really so fragile, but we do forget that.

Lost in Provence said...

Thank you so much everyone for your amazing comments and emails. Sally, I agree with you that the wonderful people who stop by here are very special indeed. I was at odds whether or not to publish this post and I am glad that I did...

Carla Coulson said...

So true Heather appreciate what we have every minute of everyday as time and life are fleeting.
Enjoy your weekend
Carla x

Dash said...

Heather this reminds me of the departure of our wonderful next door neighbour Marie Rose...

It was the eve of her 80th Birthday and her seven children, various Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren plus other family members had all arrived from various parts of France to help her celebrate with a big party that evening.

Earlier in the day I had bumped into Marie Rose and her four daughters in the lane, she had on her best Summer dress and she introduced me to two of the daughters that I had not met, she was so proud and happy in fact she seemed drunk with happiness, she told me about the plans for the party and how excited she was, it was wonderful and I was thrilled for her.

The next morning I was out early pottering in the garden when I suddenly heard this gutwrenching wail "MAMAN" I looked towards next door and saw the youngest daughter in Marie Rose's garden appealing to me from over the hedge, I have never seen so much grief, she was beside herself. I shall never forget it as long as I live. I made my way over to her but the other daughters came out, embraced her and took her inside.

Later we found out that Marie Rose had passed away in the early hours of the morning, she had not been ill and apart from a mild heart condition she was in good health although she was always joking about the local doctors warning her to go easy on the charcuterie. Marie Rose died suddenly, surrounded by her most cherished and with a heart full of happiness.

After witnessing her daughters grief it showed me that it is those of us who are left behind who suffer the most. The realisation that we will never see the loved one again, it makes us aware of our own mortality and how life really does go by in the blink of an eye but like Marie Rose, we should try and live life to the full and treat each day like it was our last.

XXX

Lost in Provence said...

Yes Dash, I can see the scene as if I were there--it is very generous of you to share it. I feel marked by that woman's pain and have been carrying it around with me the past few days. It felt terribly wrong to witness it as there is nothing, nothing more personal.

But how wonderful in the way that Marie Rose passed. It is a dream to leave like that, happy, at an advanced age and surrounded by loved ones.

I know that you do treasure your life and honor the idea of living it to the fullest.
Lots of love to you friend.
xo
H

carolyn bradford said...

I will always welcome anything that makes me take my mind off of myself and remember all that I have to be thankful and grateful for! I'm so glad I saw your post! I feel so sorry for that woman and I know it's so hard for you after witnessing it first hand! There is just something about seeing a moment like that that touches your heart forever..thanks again for sharing this!

Lost in Provence said...

Merci Carolyn. Yes, you really understood it perfectly. Wishing you a wonderful, restful Sunday!

Romy said...

This is such a powerful post.....and I am so often guilty of not appreciating the moment yet I'm actively working on it. And then I received an email on Friday night from friends in France telling me how a fabulous mutual friends' child had drowned in their pool. In the time that it took me to translate the verb 'noyer' I ran through a million emotions with my heart in my mouth. And then I discovered the meaning....life changing, just like that. Rx

Lost in Provence said...

Oh Romy, I am so sorry to read this and for your loss as well as the terrible loss of your friends. How terrible and yes, how quickly these things can happen. I wish that I could reach out and give you a hug.
xo,
H