I'm writing today from a passionate place. A deep place. One that can only be accessed when loss occurs.
Fortunately, the loss did not impact me directly. Unfortunately, there is a family out there tonight mourning the loss of their husband, father, brother, son.
I woke this morning to the sounds of sirens. Which isn't uncommon, even out here in the country. It's not unusual for a Sheriff to fly by, sirens on. But this morning it was different. Siren after siren went by.
I didn't find out until I pulled out of our driveway that just down the road a terrible accident had occurred. This accident. I slowed down, trying to figure out how traffic was being directed. I saw some familiar faces including my uncle's, who is a local volunteer firefighter. That brought some comfort to me just before I saw something that will be stuck in my mind forever.
As I followed the orders of the policeman directing traffic, I slowly inched towards the crash. From the looks of the whole situation, someone obviously got hurt.
Someone did. Someone lost their life. And I saw him. Just before they threw the white sheet over his body.
I was shocked.
My hand flew over my mouth. My eyes opened the widest they've ever been. I began to sob.
This person just died. Moments before I came along. He woke up this morning, saw it was turning out to be a beautiful Spring day, hopped on his motorcycle and carried on with his day. Probably very happy he was able to be on his bike after a long winter. Taking in the morning air. Feeling free, as one tends to feel on a bike. He was ALIVE. And probably feeling very much so.
A million things ran through my head after seeing him. I thought about my aunt and uncle who were killed on their motorcycle by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. That was them at one point. Heartbreaking. I thought about my dad, who has a similar bike. He drives that route regularly. That could have been him. I thought about so many of my family members that have motorcycles who are out there on the roads every chance they get. It could have been them. I felt selfish for grumbling at the most minor inconveniences at work because I was in fact, alive, when a man had just lost his life.
I don't want to make assumptions about the person that caused this loss by turning into him. Oh, how I feel for them. They'll have to live with this every single day. I won't throw stones - because that driver could easily have been any one of us. On our phone. Lost in our thoughts. Taking a turn we always take, but on autopilot. Some form of distraction taking place, taking us out of the present, our eyes failing to see what is immediately in front of us.
A terrible situation all around. For every single person involved or affected by this loss.
Because of what I saw today, and what it made me feel, I felt compelled to issue a reminder:
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Take a few moments to learn about these observances and think about how you can help prevent tragedy from happening when you get behind the wheel.
Something else that this event made me think about is what should I have done if I had left for work minutes earlier and witnessed this happen? I found a great resource here that talks about what to do if you are the first person on the scene of an accident. Another good thing to think about and have a plan for in case you're ever in this position.
Tonight, I'm thinking of the man I saw. Of his family. His friends. The motorist that ran into him. Their family. I'm sending thoughts of solidarity - I know what this type of pain feels like - of comfort, peace and strength.
I'll end the way I began: Please, Please, Please - I'm Begging You - Be Aware.