And then, this horrifying picture hit social and traditional media.
The police almost immediately indicated that the accident didn’t involve a student. Big sigh of relief for the parents. But then the word came that the accident was a fatality. Everyone was stunned. While it wasn’t someone’s younger child, the person who died was someone’s *someone.*
It turns out that the bicycle was ridden by a 77-year-old man who failed to stop at the traffic signal and an oncoming car hit him. He died immediately on scene and several hours after the accident investigation, the intersection was reopened. Life moved on for everyone else except him.
I drove by the intersection yesterday, Mother’s Day, and saw that a Ghost Bike had been put up.
Ghost bikes are powerful imagery. They are, indeed, truly haunting and this particular one reminds me to always be on the alert when I am behind the wheel of a vehicle. One of my greatest fears is to hit someone with my car.
I didn’t know the man who died. His obituary was not made public so I know nothing other than his name and age. My heart breaks for his family and I prayed for them yesterday as the nation celebrated Mother’s Day.
His story is that of being hit by the proverbial bus. No, it wasn’t a bus that hit him, but the impact was just the same. He had no idea his life was going to end that day.
Many times, those of us living with terminal disease, fall into a well of despair, wondering if our lives really matter or if we are really making a difference in the world. One of the main characters of the book, The Fault in Our Stars, stated that he feared oblivion … of being forgotten. I think I fear that, too. But as each day goes on, I am more and more comfortable with being forgotten. I think about my grandfather from Russia … and the fact that I have no clue as to what his parents’ names were or what their lives were like. I know nothing about them and it’s most likely they are unknown to anyone in the 21st century.
But does that change the impact of their life? No. They lived, they loved, they died.
And that’s becoming good enough for me. I’m living the dash … the space between my birth and death … and I’m impacting those in my immediate world. I don’t have to impact the world for all time.
It’s okay to be a ghost bike … a memory. The bicyclist matters. His life makes a difference. If you are reading this blog, then his voice is being heard in places he never imagined.
Watch out for the people around you. They might not be paying attention to what’s happening (i.e. running a red light, both metaphorically and physically), and they need you to put on the brakes. Keep your eyes open for each and every opportunity to love someone else. Loving someone else doesn’t necessarily mean a big action … but can be any action done with big love.
And what does the Lord ask of me? To love mercy, practice justice and to walk humbly with him.