Wednesday, February 4, 2009
We saw an old woman die on the street tonight. The temperature was around twenty degrees, she was walking alone with a cane when she collapsed and there wasn't anyone near to catch her. I talked to the first guy that found her, a young Jewish boy with a Yamika and glasses. He was the first to call the police. By the time we got there, there were five or six people crowded around her, a younger woman crying and pushing on the old woman's chest in an attempt to do CPR. The sidewalk the old woman was lying on was frozen. I put my coat on top of her to keep her warm. By the time the ambulance arrived the woman had no pulse and she wasn't breathing. The color had drained from her skin and her eyes had rolled back. We've always known that New York City is not a kind place for the elderly, but tonight we had a very real experience with how harsh and lonely it can be. I keep thinking about the family the old woman left behind, or the husband who she was returning home to tonight.