Last week I was out of the country, and I didn’t post a ‘What to Watch’ or ‘Meet the Author.’ I’d like to tell you what I’ve been up to. I turned fifty not so long ago, so I spent two days with my twin sister on Texel in the Netherlands before meeting up with some other family I hadn’t seen in years, next to spending some time with my Mom of course. Fifty is quite an age. I wondered if I was halfway or whether most of my time was up already.
Then I witnessed a horrible accident last Monday. I was walking with my Mom and a friend through The Hague. We came to a crossing with trams going both ways. Not at that moment, but it was a busy street with cars in the outside lanes and trams and cars on the inside lanes. There were two elderly people crossing the road on the zebra path. The man was using a walking stick, the woman was carrying shopping bags. I recall the man sticking his hand up toward an approaching car. The car didn’t stop. Next thing I saw was the two pensioners being thrown into the air, over the car like they were doing cartwheels, their bodies skidding over the tarmac for several meters before finally coming to a halt more than ten meters from where they were scooped up.
I can’t tell you what went through my mind right then. You just can’t believe that what you saw really happened. You can’t believe someone could survive such a hit. There were croissants strewn over the road as well as oranges and bananas. There were also the walking stick of the man, both shoes of the woman, and her sock. Her sock. How fast must she have been flung through the air if even her sock came off? The woman was as white as a ghost, and we feared she was dead on impact. The man was heavier and had come to a halt about two meters earlier than the woman. We had seen his head bouncing off the edge of the pavement. Both of them didn’t move at all once the kinetic force of the hit was gone. It appeared later that they were both still alive, but the woman died before she could be taken to a hospital. The man died after being taken away.
I thought again about my lifespan. The average age doesn’t mean anything. It’s a statistic and has absolutely no meaning to an individual. You could live twenty years longer than the average age or get hit by a car before you get home from doing your shopping. What the experience did stress was that life is too short to be unhappy. I had brain surgery in 2009 and had realized this there and then already. I was able to quit my job and do the things I like. It took me another six years to find out I really enjoy writing. I have tried to make the most of my life ever since. I make an effort to spend as much time with my children as possible, before they leave the parental nest. I moved from Australia back to Europe to be able to spend more time with the rest of my family. The accident made me realize I need to take even more time to love my loved ones. Life is short. Make the most of it. No regrets!