I’m here, sipping my Rum and coke (I never drink) wondering where to start. What part to start with. Like most people I think I have bee in shock. My worst nightmares becoming everyday life. This…what we are living in…COVID-19….
I have been some traumatic stuff. Stuff of nightmares. And some of the things I have been part of, heard…thought about…are up there with some of my most traumatic moments
I am watching the news now. Have most of the day. And it does not seem real. Things they are talking about I have been part of.
I think I have had secondary trauma several times the past 3 weeks. Imagine that. Imagine how many other people feel like that. How many children
Yesterday. Is it just yesterday…? wow. Yesterday I walked into something (Via phone) that I was not ready for. That was beyond my capabilities. Something that will hunt me.
I had to tell a women, a women I have supported for a long time, someone who I have protected in so many different ways….I had to tell her to “Pull herself together” as she screamed down the phone to me. Begging me to do something. She was sobbing so hard. But let me rewind a bit….
Yesterday I sat in front of my phone staring at it. What was it…let me check my phone now….it was about pm and I had just received a text message. An innocent text message into one of my group chats and without saying a word I knew what was going to be said when I made this call.
Have you ever had moments like this? When you know something really bad is going to happen, but you have no choice but to just buckle up and do it. I hope you haven’t. Or if you have…only once. I have had to do it a few times. Walk into something knowing it’s going to be so so bad. I guess it’s the nature of my role. But …if I am honest…the most horrific “Buckle up for this one” moments have been in my personal life.
So, I sit and look at the phone. And I take a deep breath and I dialled the number. No answer…which I expect. So, I call again. I just checked my phone…7 times I called before she answered.
She didn’t answer with hello. Or even an aggravated “What” seeing as I had just belled off her phone 7 times. She didn’t know it was me in any way because she would not know that number. She was just crying. She just answered her phone crying.
Of course, I can’t tell you her name. Not ever. But I said her name several times. Loudly and kept saying “Its Kendra” over and over until she said “Kendra, what am I going to do”.
At this point she had not said what I already kind of knew. I needed her to say it. So, I knew I was dealing with the worst case.
And she said it. That COVID-19 had won. And soon she would be gone. Not her…the lady I am talking too on the phone…. another woman. And then she sobbed. And I could hear the kids crying. They were all crying. And then she asked me what she should do next.
In that split moment….in that second…I had to be the most on my game I had ever been. I had to safeguard so many people in that split second…. that I didn’t safeguard myself.
I become very stern. I told her to stop crying That she would have to cry later. That the kids couldn’t see her like this, and she needed to stop…. now. “But she is my best friend” she sobbed, and I said…I said….” That snot important right now”. I met it when I said it. I then said if she loved her best friend, she needed to pull herself together to support her daughters. And she cried so much. And said she was not strong enough. And I told her she was. That I knew her, and she could do this, But the truth is…. I don’t know if she could. But I had to say it. I told her that she was not alone, and that people will help her. I said that she needed to stop crying right now or I would leave the house and come. I reminded her that I have a little girl and coming to where she was would/could put my baby in danger…and she slowly stopped crying. I told her about all the times I had seen her be strong. I told her that we are in this together and that she just had to be strong on her own right now and if we were in a different time I would come. And I would. I could hear the girls screaming and sobbing. And then I said….and this will haunt me
“They are about to lose their mother; you need to step up right now and do your best friend proud”
She said she knew. She said what should she do now. I have protected and supported her so many times it was only natural she asked me this now. In all this madness she still saw me as the source of protection. They all did. And that’s what has buckled me.
And then I put down the phone
And I waited for her to die. I sat and waited for the messages to come. To be on social media. The news.
And the did. Late last night.
5 this morning I woke up and just started crying. I just looked out the window and cried. Because I know what its like to wake up for the first time with no mum
I cried because she was my age and I don’t want to leave my children like that
I cried because how do I call my lady back. What do I say…” Oh hi, everything OK?”
I had to et out of bed this morning and do many practical things around that death
As I type this, her picture is on the TV. Its madness feels like I am in a film or something.
One death…sooooo many different impacts. On my friends…. on my people….
I was not prepared for that phone call. I knew….and maybe I should not have made the call…. but trust me on this, in that moment. At 2pm yesterday….im not sure who else would have or could have. I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or the right place at the right time….
I lit my candle at 8
I was not ready. She was not ready. They are not ready
We are not ready
I didn’t safeguard myself.
One Comment Add yours
Powerful stuff indeed and don’t berate yourself. I fear with this virus there will be more calls to come. I think you were there for her at the right time. You were ministering for her but I know what you mean in not safeguarding or protecting oneself before a call that draws in strong emotions and in this case incredible upsets when you think of the family involved. I’m not surprised that you are both upset and angry, but you did good.
Something like this happened to me also which left me spiritually and physically drained but that’s for another time.
One of my favourite prayers I like to say beforehand is a prayer known St Patrick’s Breastplate. This a shortened version.
I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
I bind unto myself the name, The strong name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same. The Three in One, and One in Three, Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation, salvation is of Christ the Lord. Amen.
Rev SC Thomas Barham Downs with Adisham (Aylesham)