We are all going to die. Hopefully later rather than sooner. Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that brings us face to face with our mortality. Sometimes through this realisation people take on a whole new outlook on their life – doing things they never had, but always wanted to, because you never know when your time is up.
I don’t think that is the case with us, but after Thursday just gone, with the situation we faced, some things will change. In regards to our motorbike.
It was one of those days where the signs were all out – little things that in hindsight were pointers it wasn’t all going well.
This was going to be the last ride before the bike went into hibernation for winter. Only now that hibernation will be a few months longer.
Those who know us, know we like a bit of speed. And yes that can dangerous. It wasn’t a factor in this case. And for the vehicle we ran into. It wasn’t their fault either.
This was quite simply an accident. If we had been in a car it would have still happened, only we would have been face palmed by an airbag rather than the ground.
A friend told me of a saying she had heard “you’re not a real bike rider til you’ve come off”. Always the pillion never the rider but I sure as hell hope I never come off again.
Just the act of us riding together on the same bike and having everything go wrong has one result – instant orphans for our 3 kids. I think of this every time we have gone out. Though there is a fine line between wrapping yourself in cotton wool and getting out there and living.
This has scared me. A lot. Not quite enough to never get back on again. But just enough to make me cautious. That old saying about getting back on the horse is true. I love riding enough that I am still eager to keep going. Being scared is not a bad thing. It makes us a little warier, giving us a better understanding of what is at stake. In real-time. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?
There is a moment when you see the scene unfolding in front of you that the ‘oh fuck, this is going to be close’ turns to a scared as shit ‘Oh FUCK!’. You know what is going to happen, and you have no way to stop it. My husband was in evasive action mode, I was hanging on, not really conscious of what the hell was about to happen. I knew we would connect, but my memory is a blur of those few seconds before impact. The feeling of ‘holy shit’ is about all I remember of that.
I know the bike flicked one way, then the other as we swerved to come round behind the car.
I didn’t see the windows of the car. I didn’t hear the thud as we connected. I didn’t feel the vehicle at all. But I felt the pain. In the instant before I blacked out.
Feeling the bike to my left falling onto me. Feeling of landing on my husband ‘oh fuck, I’ve squashed him!’. Seeing the bank rushing up to meet me with my hands out stretched ‘nooo, not my head’.
I came to, a split second later ‘wow, nothing hurts…what the hell happened…where am I…I’ve got to get out of here…’ and trying to push backwards off my stomach. Seeing the vehicle parked in the driveway. ‘what just happened…I thought that car was on the road…” Then the pain. My leg!! ‘fuck, noo, my leg, my leg…’ A flurry of activity as my husband was jumping up from somewhere on my left and calling my name.
Realising my leg was all good I giggled nervously, being close to tears as I was. Ripped off my gloves and helmet as fast as my shaking fingers would let me. I needed to breath. The bike was upside down in the drain. Looking rough, but ok.
And then it hit me. I sat on the bank. And shook. Holding my leg. Hubby was in shock. Sweat pouring down his face. Tears threatening to fall.
It’s been played back every time someone has been told.
A split second either way. Either of us going faster or slower and the result could have been a whole lot different.
Although I am pretty calm when I talk about it, this will play with me for some time to come.
My son rides a bike. All his friends ride bikes. I worry.
There is profound change in how we will now ride and what we do. My husband has come off dirt bikes before but this will change his thought process in a whole different way.
Facing your mortality, no matter the circumstances is a scary thing.
It brings everything you believe in to the fore.
Facing your mortality changes who you are. In subtle and not so subtle ways.
You take stock of more than just yourself when mortality slaps you in the face.
We are both ok, with a few new battle scars to show off. A few hours were spent in the emergency department getting checked over and patched up.
I have a corker of a bruise on my right shin at the point of impact, a great rectangular shaped one, one on each knee, and my left thigh where I may have connected with some part/s of the bike.
Hubby has at least another week at home – his right hand was centre stage on the bike at impact, with the brake lever being snapped off – severely bruised hand, broken pinky, sore ribs, gouge out of knee to make sure he is fit for work and the swelling isn’t hiding anything more serious.
Somehow my husband saw it all in slow motion, reaching out to grab me so I didn’t fly too far and be more injured.
I aim to learn something new everyday, no matter how small. That lesson? Bike gear does what it’s supposed to do. Our jackets prevented shoulders, elbows, back and chests from being damaged. Boots made sure ankles were safe and took the brunt of the impact. Helmets..yeah, our heads are still in one piece.