I was out for brunch provender. A couple heirloom tomatoes, a couple bagels from the Farmers Market, then a trip to Bea’s for lox and brisket. Driving south on White Oak, I glanced to my right and noticed an elderly woman, down on all fours and very shaky. I drove for a couple seconds, having a flashback…then pulled a U turn and raced back to that cross street, another U turn and parked in a red zone. I jumped out and searched quickly, discovering her 50 meters away, still struggling.

I walked towards her, helped her to her feet and asked if she wanted me to call someone. Her accent was heavy, Eastern European or Middle Eastern; she had a bruised knee and scrapes on her hands. I asked if she lived nearby…apparently around the corner. The cause of her fall was just another irregularity in the pavement, a small upthrust, enough to catch an unwary toe. I walked with her for a bit, she expressed her gratitude and I was happier to help than you can ever imagine. There was no other foot traffic on White Oak and cars continued to drive by.

Years ago, while in England I received word that my own dear mother had fallen while in her beloved patio garden. She lay there for several hours, until a neighbor noticed her and called EMS. Her left arm suffered a spiral fracture…and Mom never recovered from that fall. I was able to fly home and spend time with her during her convalescence and final days…but today’s encounter triggered a wave of grief and anxiety and helplessness inside of me. All I could think of as I circled back to this woman was my own mothers fall and the absence of anyone to help her for so long.