Worth reading! Second responder at the scene of an accident and the healing power of the human hug…

Wait a minute, a collision just happened…

As soon as this thought went through my mind I remembered my own experience with the expression of a new neighbor’s concern as I sat in shock and tended to my children at the scene of a fender bender, a very important moment in my life, but more on that later… I pulled over.

The Mini Cooper was down a small embankment, nose cradled by the old wood fence. A woman was huddled over the wheel-leaning right as though she was looking for something. I did not see any blood, I reached out and put my hand on her shoulder. She turned and her panicky eyes found mine. She was crying and saying that she was trying to sort her mother’s estate. She says she is ok physically, as far as she knew. I put my arms around her and she cried on my shoulder for what seemed like eternity. A Spanish speaking man was there, calling for help on his cell. He looked frantic. I later referred to him as Angel Flores. She referred later to him as my husband, for some strange reason.

After our long hug, she turned to me and looking directly into my eyes with the unforgettable look of deep, deep sadness said, “I was trying not to kill the big rabbit!” Then came the most heartbreaking words of all…”My whole life, I’ve never been able to do anything right.”

For some reason I felt inspired to say, “No, no, this is not the end…maybe this is your beginning?” I then noticed the unmistakable scent of alcohol, the kind that has been around a while, permeated the skin. I asked her if she had been drinking. She did not reply. I thought at that moment that I needed to get her into my car to calm her down, to wait for the police. I had the strong feeling that she was was searching in the car, or even through it the car, for a way to end it all. I hugged her again and again as she told me about her father dying when she was 10, her husband, now her mom, etc. I asked if she needed to be driven somewhere, to the hospital. And she said, “I have been trying to get into the hospital for the last two weeks.”

The ever-so-cold police arrived and came up to my Jeep. She seemed to be in and out of shock and coherence. She spread Carmex on her lips in front of the policeman and the whiteness of it looked absurd around her mouth. I tried to wipe it, realizing at that moment that she needed much more help than I could give.

I told her I was going to release her to the police, as she seemed to be more steady, the fog lifting. She was looking for her dog that ran away from the accident when I told the police I was going to leave her with them. The policemen looked me up and down and then said heartlessly, “We are only concerned with her-where is she?????” They couldn’t see her behind my Jeep with the Spanish speaking man. I shrugged and said “I was just trying to help.” They said, “We know”-emotionless, not a speck of humanity in their impervious eyes.

I turned to her, she was behind me now, and hugged her one last time. She seemed to have surrendered to her demons, the process. There was a lighter air about her. I dearly hope she has found a supportive place to get the help she needs to start over, to begin to live fully in her authentic self, to regain her personal power.

I felt so drained, I felt her pain, her solitude. It resonated with me all night.

Why is our world, the establishment, so unwelcoming for the sad and lonely? The forgotten, the imperfect? I pray for all of those on Earth who feel like this, lost, unloved. Please look around you day in and day out for signs of human distress. Offer a random hug. Hold the hug longer than you think is socially acceptable. I felt in those moments that I absorbed her energy and she absorbed some of mine. I have always had an immeasurable amount of positivity and warmth to share.

Comment below, please, I am fairly new to this blogging thing-am not quite sure what I am doing, but excited that for the first time in a very long time, my creativity and openness if flowing.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the healing power of human touch or anything else pertaining to mental health and our culture!

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The Way of Rachel

Painter of life through art, photography, writing, travel, food and hard-earned, often ridiculously fickle wisdom. MA in American Culture Studies, Washington University Saint Louis, "Doctorate" in Motherhood, Life Partnership, Self Studies, and still learning.

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