Yesterday I stopped behind a queue of about five cars in our village wondering what the hold up was. When I saw people running back down the street, two of them young girls in tears, I feared the worst as we were on the approach to the cross roads where the school children gather on their way home. A lady who had been near the front drove back down the line stopping to tell us that a child had been knocked over so we all started to turn around one by one. As I drove back the way we came, hearing the approaching sirens, I flagged down the oncoming traffic to tell them to stop and go back too, all the while, my little girl in the back asking questions that I didn't know how to answer.
The local radio news at seven this morning woke me confirming our worst fears that a twelve year old boy had been killed at the crossroads.
Before becoming a parent, I don't really remember how I responded to situations such as these. I'm now all too painfully aware of the sick, shaky feeling in my stomach every time I think about the parents who are left behind and how they ever find the strength to carry on after losing a child. I'm aware of how I want to cuddle my daughter to me every second of the day and tell myself that I must fight the urge to wrap her up in cotton wool when it comes to things like walking to school one day. I'm aware that I remember again the feelings I had two years ago when we were first on the scene when a little girl was knocked down and killed outside my mother in laws house.
Every parent hopes that they never have to think how they would react if it were them and every parent understands exactly what I'm talking about.
Equally, I'm sure that we have all at one time or another cursed the person in front of us who is sticking rigidly to the speed limit or taken our attention off the road for a split second to listen more carefully to what our kids are babbling about in the back. I know I have, but after placing a second bunch of flowers to mark the spot where a precious life has been lost, I vowed never to again.