I was only six years old, in the days when children could run down the road to play with a friend. I was returning home from such a visit when I saw a lady lying in one of the neighbouring gardens. She was lying on the path and I recognized her as the old lady who worked in the grocer's shop in the High Street.
Her basket was turned over on its side and the unwrapped crusty loaves were scattered all around her. She had been delivering bread as she always did.
I ran up the path & gently shook the lady's arm. "Excuse me, are you alright?" I asked her. Even at that age I knew she was not alright as she was not responding and there was a rattling sound coming out of her throat.
I ran home as fast as I could and told my mum, who got a blanket and cushion and then she hurriedly took me next door and left me with Mrs Lewis and off she went to try to help the old lady as best she could. The nearest pay phone was in High Street at least five minutes away. No one had phones in those days unless you had a shop or some other business. Doctors were usually called out in these circumstances.
I was very upset that my mother had left me with Mrs Lewis, after all I had been first on the scene and now I was being treated like a baby.
When my mum returned and took me home, where my brother was still sleeping in his cot, she told me that a neighbour had got a doctor, but that the lady had died.
This was the first experience that I had of death, and it played on my mind for a long time and started me thinking of my own mortality and that of the people who were closest to me. When I think of my oldest grand daughter being only a little younger than I was, I wonder what she would have done. Of course this would never have happened today, as children are accompanied every where by grown ups.
I worried about death for a long time after that incident. Not surprising really.