Upstairs changing into something civilised and I hear a siren in the distance. It gets closer. I look outside - a fire engine. Then police cars. Something bad has happened. I go to town and do my errands. It's not until I get home a few hours later that I hear what the bad thing was. Just one and a half miles from here three people lost their lives in a devastating car crash. Three people in their 50s, one woman, her husband and her brother. It made the news that evening. Six years ago there was another fatal car crash at the same crossroads, three English soldiers returning from a fishing trip, they overshot the crossing and collided with a tractor. Two died. We heard the sirens that day too.
The thing is, that woman, her husband, her brother - yesterday morning, they were just living their lives, doing stuff, making plans. And now they are not. This isn't the city. Sirens are notable, recalled. This isn't a war zone, we're not used to sudden death any more. We were once, but the Troubles are over now. We lead quiet, uneventful lives and we like it like that. But, as Seamus Heaney wrote, 'Anything can happen.' And this, just this... because anything can happen, be good to each other, meet people half-way, say the kind thing, patch up your quarrels and hug your darlings.
The road, by Sinead
Today was my mother's birthday and it gained another layer of meaning.