For those who don't know, Saturday, I was a member of a marathon relay team for my office...we each ran 5 miles and were meeting up at the end to run the last mile together.
At about mile 25.5, one of my coworkers who had run the last leg, collapsed and quit breathing and eventually was rushed to the hospital where he recieved cpr for another hour before being declared dead. It was one of the most traumatic experiances of my life, watching a friend die, and then watching his wife react to that news. I am having trouble sleeping at night, and can't get his wife and daughter and daughter on the way out of my mind.
He was only 40, in good shape, had been in the military. He had just taken the bar (an older law student) and he sat by me at the bar where his little girl, morgan, packed daddy a snack each day to eat on break. Then we worked together for the past 3 months and ran this relay together.
When I arrived to meet up with the team (there was miscommunication of where we were meeting, so half of us met at one point, half at another), he had already collapsed and they were giving cpr b/c he was barely breathing. Someone called 911, and we covered him with our jackets. A cardiologist who was working at the race came to help and another cardiologist happened to be driving past and stopped. A sweet sweet nurse who was running the marathon willingly stopped and thus, messed up her time, to help us.
After 15 minutes (entirely too long considering the hospital was a mile away), an ambulance arrived. Someone called his wife, whom we did not know, to tell us to meet us at the hospital. I did not realize she was 8 months pregnant until she showed up. When we arrived at the hospital, they told us the chances of survival were 50-50 and then from that point on, it was quickly approaching zero. They put us in a private waiting area and they came to say that he would most likely die. They let Allie (his wife) back in for a few minutes with him before stopping cpr and officially calling his time of death. I knew he was dead because when the nurse came to get her friend to come stand with her, there were tears in her eyes. Nurses and Doctors are wonderful people, but they have seen a lot of death, so they are usually professional and not in tears....but this situation was so sudden, so unexpected and upsetting - a 40 year old seemingly healthy man, an 8 month pregnant wife, people watching him die on the street, a 2 year old daughter - that even the nurse was upset. In fact, she went and spent her own money buying snacks for the little girl who had not eaten lunch and was hungry.
We then stayed the afternoon, watching Morgan so Allie could meet with the Partner from the firm she works at and sit with Chris for a little while. We stayed until her family arrived from Louisiana.
It was a very tragic horrible day. I am amazed how we went from runnning a relay to watching a friend die. I went home and listened to my voicemail and had one from him, and i still have emails to delete from him too. I guess I have never had experiance with sudden death-- just death that comes after pain and suffering. This is a different kind of shock. I know you are not supposed to bargain with God, but I did for that hour, telling him I would quit asking for things if he would spare Chris, or asking him to take someone else. After all, so many kids have bad dads who dont care, why take a loving father away? But now I just pray for peace for his family, for healing, and for the time being with peace wont come, the comfort of God's presence and the presence of others who love them.
His wife does not have many friends in Jackson. She was very family oriented and is now very lonely-- in fact when the older attorneys at our firm asked when she needed, she asked for company. The next few weeks will only get harder for her with the emotional and physical drain of birth while still grieving the loss of her husband. So, although we do not know her, we are planning to continue bringing meals and visiting her for awhile. She needs people, and as my mom said, missions is sometimes in your own city.
Please pray for his wife Allie and daughter Morgan. The funeral is this Thursday.
Here is one of the articles...