(Image: In the moment ... bicycle happiness)
It was so quiet and peaceful.
One minute we were talking about lemon drizzle cake and the cups of tea we would have once home by the fire, and then it was as if someone had flicked the record player off-switch.
A soft little slurring of tea-time words, and my mother crumpled into my arms where we were walking on the road.
And as she glided onto the tarmac all I could see was my past and my future in her beautiful pale and unusually quiet face.
Whispering 'Mum, Mum' I could find no pulse or signs of respiration, and I knew I had to get her out of harm's way before I executed the next plan - shit, what would that be?
As I moved her to the pavement my thoughts were galloping around my head - resuscitation, start, should I, phone help, no phone, fuck - and then an angel in a 4WD drew alongside.
Still no signs of heart-beats or breaths, but our angel had a phone and within seconds was giving cool clear brief facts to an emergency despatcher, and then like butterflies from nowhere, little jumbled words fluttered into the mix ...
"Hello, darling," my mother said to our angel, "how lovely to see you!"
A whirl of blankets, coats, scarves, snippets of chat, unqualified joy expressed by my mother as her chirpy muddled consciousness returned and made out the 2 of us right next to her on the ground - then the arrival of the paramedics - oh joy from me!
The jolliness, the efficiency; my mother's day was now up there with the best of them as the best roadside assistance team ever did their roadside stuff ...
... but with a blood pressure of 70/30, we weren't going home to drizzle cake or even to the roast in the oven right then - only to turn things off and grab my phone.
Wending our way to the nearest A&E my mother inquired:
"Have I died? Am I in heaven?"
"No, pet, you're in an ambulance."
"Well ... it's heavenly!"
"Ahhhh, bless you."
Disembarking at Kings Mill Hospital, A&E was armed with patients and nurses and doctors (and most wonderfully, ward-staff making cups of tea) and computers with screen savers, mind-numbingly flashing 'consent & capacity' in a hi-vis vest sort of a manner ...
... and machines for bloods, ECGs, BPs, and then there was a trip to x-ray department with my mother hilariously declaring to young radiographer that:
"It's rather pointless me having a chest x-ray as I've never had a chest!!!!"
And then some time after midnight, we were allowed home ... to drizzle cake and cups of tea!
What an afternoon and evening!
My mother had gone from a dramatic transient loss of consciousness to thoroughly enjoying an unexpected social evening hosted by Britain's NHS; one with all the trimmings of kindness and care and devoted attention.
No doubt there will be some further tests at some stage, but right now she's here to cuddle and cherish, and to tell her how much we love her and to make her cups of tea (and drizzle cake) ... and to sing all her favourite songs with her too!
So as I put on 'The Sound of Music' CD, purchased last week after BN1 sent me this link, and I heard those opening birds tweet their little Austrian tweets, and I dissolved into tears, I remembered what one of the ambos had said to me on the way to A&E last night ...
'Put nothing off ... live now ... don't save'
Got it: living and loving right now ... CHECK!