Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The reverse of serendipity is?

Tragedy struck our mountain valley community on Wednesday. It was an automobile accident that took a nice lady, community involved, mother, grandmother, and ended her life just as she was entering her middle years. In this community, she is not the first to go in a vehicle crash nor will she be the last. Always it's a shock and very upsetting.

This one had added elements to the upset as the woman's 16-year old son was driving when a head on collision took his mother's life. I only know what I read in the newspaper. But because of that and one other reason, I wanted to write about it here.

The youth said he fell asleep (odd given this was 4:09pm), drifted into the opposite lane, then corrected for it. As luck would have it, someone was already in that lane and approaching fast. That driver made a catastrophic error when instead of heading for the ditch, he went into the approaching lane. When the youth corrected his vehicle, it was all she wrote.

Who was at fault? Everybody made a mistake as I see it but that's the whole problem with driving-- easy to make mistakes. When an accident happens, everything moves way fast and what seems logical to do if you have more time to think, it's not what you might do when it suddenly is upon you. It is why I think people need to think about these situations and know what they will do it it suddenly does happen. Be prepared and always steer toward the ditch in that situation unless it would mean going over a cliff or into a river.

Every so often we have seen something like it when we were the ones driving. A driver passes right into us and we slam on the brakes, slow and move onto the shoulder if possible. That driver might then believe they had the room to pass. They didn't. Next time the approaching auto might not be paying attention at that moment. Really with driving, we have to pay attention all the time. It's not a relaxing activity but it is one that demands full awareness or somebody should not drive.

There are a lot of reasons people suddenly swerve-- reaching for their phone, changing CDs, etc. We have discussed what to do when a driver is coming straight to us in our lane, and it's basically go off the road even though it wouldn't have been our fault and we'd be the only ones having an accident. The thing is head on collisions are likely to kill people. Going off the road varies for what the result will be.

Anyway it happened, and it leaves a lot of people feeling sad when sudden death comes seemingly so meaninglessly. Even more so when it's a nice lady, one who has not always had it easy, but anytime I saw her, she was putting on a smile. They've had their tough times as have many out here, but they are the kind who have worked for all they have, with a good reputation for honesty and hard work.  I've never heard anything said against her. Not that it'd be okay if someone was killed that way who was a druggie or prostitute or thief etc. Either way premature sudden death is a tragedy. Having the son driving just adds onto the difficulty the family will face.

The thing is, and this is usually the case, few minutes either way and it'd not have happened. Timing is everything.

For those who want to make good out of everything-- that's not my way. I accept things that I don't like but never try to figure it was for the best or it will have a positive outcome for somebody. I simply accept it as yeah it's what happened but don't give it deeper meaning other than enjoy life while you have it as it can end real fast..

When I hear of something like this, my instinctive thought goes one other place-- where was I, what was I doing when something happened that changed the whole direction of a family's path, that ended the life of someone I knew? Sometimes I wouldn't know, not to the minute, but this time I did.

I had been writing and mostly working on trailers for my eBooks. That meant I had been playing with images. Farm Boss was outside disking a field for planting. When that accident was just happening, I had looked down at the time, realized I had missed the beginning of Chris Matthews and got up to turn on his show.

So when I was doing something totally mundane, someone else was facing a life and death situation, looking up to realize a vehicle was coming straight for them and there was no way to avoid the crash. Someone maybe even knew it was going to be the last moment of their life. Or maybe they didn't and they hoped.

It always goes a step further for me. Someday that person will be me. Hopefully not with an automobile accident, although when you drive these kind of country roads, you know that's not an unlikely end. I've been told and read of way too many of them during the years out here. The thing is, one reason or another, someday I'll be dying and everybody else will be going on as though nothing was wrong-- because in their world nothing is.

It is how life is. Mostly I don't think about it but sometimes something happens and I can't not think about it.

When I decided I wanted a photo here, something more upbeat, I remembered the foxglove were blooming down by the creek. I went down and had that kind of serendipitous happening that is just the opposite of what happened in that accident. I was there at just the right time to watch and photograph a butterfly sipping of the flower's nectar. We call that good timing and good luck. What do we call the other?


Tabor said...

In my long life, my husband and I have been in too many close calls with cars as others have drifted into our lane or lost control of the car! It has never resulted in us being in the resulting accident, but it has left my heart pounding for some time. I keep thinking our time may be up next time.

Lynn said...

The other is just called life. You have done an excellent job of noting an ordinary day with extraordinary happenings. On a routine shopping trip we were sideswiped by a teen on a cellphone. He was not cited.

Your timely reminder to head for the ditch leads me to add put your legal affairs in order. Rain,you just never know do you?

Rain Trueax said...

Yes, on the affairs in order. We drew up our first will when we had our daughter, did the last one with an online form we purchased and then had it notarized. Although it would still work, I want to update it again as things have changed some since then with my mother having passed on (tells you how long ago that was). Those estate forms you can buy are legal if they are purchased for the state in which you live but you do need to have them notarized to be on the safe side. Banks can do it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, one should do anything to avoid a head-on collision at highway speeds! Wise counsel.
Cop Car

robin andrea said...

It surprises us how often we see cars drifting in and out of their lanes. We are ever-vigilant when we are on the road, especially the few miles to the market and back on our winding country road. Good reminder, rain.

Rubye Jack said...

I am a big believer in luck, or fate, and really don't worry much about the future. However, I do drive very defensively. The mountain I have to cross over on a frequent basis is marked by crosses and flowers on pretty much every curve at the top. People trying to pass when they can't see what's coming. I never drive it after dark because so many people around here drink.

Dick said...

I really noticed when Annie died how my world turned upside down and yet everything was totally normal for all the other people I saw. It really emphasizes how insignificant we all are in the overall scheme of things. To a small circle of people we are important but beyond that circle, we are nothing and won't be missed. In a sense we achieve immortality through our descendants but how many generations of them will know anything about us?

la peregrina said...

I agree with Lynn it's called life and your being there when the butterfly was may be the universe letting you know that this is so and that life goes on. Peace be with you today, Rain.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Over my many years I have come close to dsasters, not of my making, in the car. And have known people who have perished in auto accidents in that split second thing where something happens that is completely unexpected. People drive so very crazily here in L.A.---texting, talking on their Bluetooth phones, eating lunch...on drugs---all of the above, and more.
The trouble is---sometimes there is not a ditch to drive into---it will be another lane filled with speeding cars on the freeway.

So very sad that this woman died this way....And so very sad for her son. He will never get over that. Never.