It's been a week that I will never forget. Six words in an email that have left me winded. Made me a part of something bigger than my normal day to day life.
Normally the beginning of the week is home based, laundry, cleaning and helping out in the kids school. By getting everything running smoothly at the beginning of the week the days that I do work don't seem to impact the family. This week the kids had a pupil free day on Monday so instead of getting them to help in the house we just went out and met Dad for lunch and did some nice errands. Tuesday was Book-week celebrations which was great fun but I spent all day at school while the ironing mountain was getting dangerously high. Wednesday we were running out of clean socks and it was reading with the kookaburras. Wednesday afternoon Gareth and Rhiannon were due to travel to a local school to take part in a cultural festival with lots of other primary schools. I love going to things that are on when I am lucky enough to not be working.
Wednesday I was unsure. There were no clean uniforms for Thursday and the house truly was a mess. I asked the kids would they mind if I didn't go to watch them. They were ok about it but the guilt was niggling in my head. I told them that unless another Mum nagged me to come along that I would stay home and get the house back on it's feet. Literally less than one minute later there was a ping from the computer. An email had come in from Monica, "See you at Tronno High today" I called out to the kids in playful exasperation "Aaarggh! That was Monica nagging! I'll be there, the ironing can wait!"
I have not got my head around what happened that afternoon. I don't want to go into too many details that might upset anyone. The brief summary is that we stood for the national anthem. My kids played in their school band as another school choir sang the words. I had goose-bumps as I heard the words. They were making me emotional.
As we sat down they interrupted the concert and a woman spoke into the microphone. "Is there a nurse or a doctor in the audience? Can you please come to the fire exit"
I stood, I walked through the door and for the next hour I was part of trying to resuscitate a woman who had collapsed. Being a nurse in a hospital is one distinct part of who I am. Being a mother is another. Mixing the two was hard. Hearing the sounds of the children singing on one side of the fire-door while hearing the paramedics count us over the phone as we performed mouth to mouth and cardiac compression on the other side is something I cannot shake. When the paramedics got there her heart had a weak output. We had maintained her. Unfortunately she didn't survive. She was 56 and the grandmother of one of Gareth's classmates.
I know that I did my best, along with all the other wonderful people who also were a part of the CPR. I just feel a bit overwhelmed. Confused. Grateful to have been there. Sad she didn't make it. Proud I tried. Scared when the images flash back into my head. Embarrassed by the messages of thanks and the flowers that I have received from friends, from school. Emotional when I was given a Thank-You card written by the family.
I had contact on Thursday from the school where the concert took place. Their staff were all sent for counselling. I was offered it but had turned it down without truly thinking about it. I was offered it again today and I have accepted.
I know in time I will be fine. Life goes on. Sian went to school on Thursday and Friday in slightly crumpled sports shirts. I went to work. I talked to a lot of people about how I felt. I now know that I was meant to be at Toronto High at 12.35pm on Wednesday the 24th of August 2011. I knew in my heart before the day unfolded that I wouldn't put the ironing ahead of being a Mum. I just needed those six little words from Monica to realise it...