The EMS radio toned out a motor vehicle accident this morning.  From the emergency department, we listened over the EMS radio.  We probably thought the same things.  Another backboard, another minor injury, another bit of work; or two or three, if several people were injured.

About 30 minutes later, the tone came back.  One signal nine.  Signal nine means someone died.  We went on about our work.  No transport for that one.  Less work for us.  And a world shattered.

Somewhere, someone at the accident probably stood weeping over a body, or cradling that person in their arms.  Another driver now wears a heavy necklace of guilt, whether it was deserved or not.  Someone received a phone-call, or a police officer at the door.  Someone in another town, and then several were called.  ‘We have bad news.’  People cried, screamed, shouted ‘no, God, no!’

Here, work went on as usual. Chest pain, back pain, fevers, pneumonias.  Jokes over snacks, as we watched the clock march on toward shift’s end.  Somewhere, for a person now a ‘signal nine,’ the clock stopped.  Eternity opened and swallowed them up.  And people, who loved someone this morning, now must love them across the gulf we all cross; probably far too soon.

We work and live amidst cataclysmic events; tsunamies of the heart, earthquakes of the soul, plagues of pain.  We live and work and go on.

It was quiet day.  When I go home, my wife will ask, ‘what happened today.’  ‘Not much.’  Not much to me.  But a black day, a horrible day for someone else and all those who loved them.  A dark day for anyone who survived the MVA.

Do we realize, I wonder, just how much swirls around us?

Say a prayer for an unknown signal nine, and those grieving for them.


‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’



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