A few years ago, mid-summer, in the early morning hours, I was driving home from a friend’s house. I was driving on the country side, the streets were barely lit, all the stores along the road were closed. It was a quiet night, in fact almost magically quiet. I must have been driving for about an hour when all of a sudden, in the near distance, I saw something moving in the dark, instinctively I slowed down and turned down the high beams. Eventually I came to a full stop, standing in the middle of the road, unable to move.
On the road lay a small fawn, it could have only been a few days old. Next to it stood its’ mother, she poked the fawn with her nose several times, but the fawn didn’t move. A bit off the road stood two deer, watching the mother deer and also watching me. Neither of us moved. We just stood there, in the middle of the night, waiting for the mother deer to say her goodbyes. It must have been an eternity before she was able to move on. Ever so quickly did the three of them disappear into the wild. I guess it was the intimacy of this moment that struck me as odd. It felt almost like I was intruding, but yet I could not close my eyes, I couldn’t leave. As I sat in the dark and cold quiet a sense of hurt and pain rushed through me.
Certain moments in life make you change who you are. This was one of these moments.
In the animal kingdom and in human society, we don’t leave behind the sick and wounded. We take care of them, we try to protect them, we try to keep them save. It’s a natural instinct.
When A and I first went to Paris a few years ago, A was terribly sick. He had a high fever, he was apathetic, he barely ate, spoke or slept. When he slept, he moved around a lot and moaned. When he spoke, he only whispered and when he ate, it was only hot tea or soup. It was terrifying having to watch him suffer and not being able to help him.
Every now and then A reminds me of that time, he doesn’t mention the Ferris Wheel (according to A, the death machine), the escargot (slimy snails) or the Louvre (a billion tourists), but he reminds me of how well I took care of him. How through all of this, I did not leave his side and how he can’t wrap his head around the fact, that I not once stopped caring.
Little does he know, that whenever I see him being sick, I see the mother deer and her fawn and I feel a certain pain rushing through me, because I wasn’t able to help then. So naturally I do my best, trying to help the ones, that need help; the sick and the wounded (part of the reason why I do work at an activityhouse). I think we can learn a lot from animals. They might not be able to articulate their needs and wants through words but they follow their instincts.
There is so much wrong in this world, it’s sickening. And if I had a wish free, I’d wish that we all would stop our everyday just for a second, look around us and try to help the ones in need. It only takes a small gesture, a kind word, a smile to make a moment worth while for the sick, wounded and helpless people.