Yesterday I saw my first dead body.
OK, not really the first. I’ve been to wakes and funerals. I’ve forced myself to walk up to the casket and peer in. But yesterday – yesterday I saw my first REAL dead body. Well, a body covered with a big white sheet and boots sticking out.
On my way to work, traffic came to a halt. I flicked on the traffic channel and they said there was a fatal accident at 29 & 198, with Northbound 29 closed to traffic.
When I got closer to the scene, I saw what was causing the delay. For the first time ever I understood gapers delay. There was no wreckage. No mangled cars. No sirens. Just 6 police cars, an ambulance and 10 officers talking around.
And a body in the middle of the road. Just laying there.
The news said the accident happened around 4am. Why on earth is the guy still laying there?
I said a quick Our Father, as I always do when I see an accident - or even an ambulance going out on a call - and sped away from the scene.
On the way home I kept my eyes open for the spot.
It was horrible.
You could see skid marks all over the place. The police marked them with florescent paint. They circled points in the road. They made arrows showing the sequence of events. They recreated the man's last moments in a spray of hot pink, green and yellow.
At the end of the rainbow there was a big dark patch. I keep trying to tell myself that it was probably oil, but I know better. I’ve seen plenty of deer on the side of the road. It was blood. It is blood. A lot of it. And it will stay there until we have another big storm.
This is the news story.
I was so glad that Gracie didn’t know what was going on. It was just a traffic jam to her- a regular occurrence. I’m sure she was looking across the median. I’m sure her eyes fixated on the flashing lights. She’s not old enough to ask questions or to realize that there was a person under the white cover.
I dread the day that I will have to explain death to her and I’m so glad that day didn’t come in this context.