Why I never leave without saying a goodbye. (- and why you probably never got a reply on your happy new year, christmas or other message around 2022/2023..might got lost down the road of this story, like a lot more. But he this is life too.)
…When I leave the Netherlands I always say goodbye, to my family and loved ones. A smile and wave until I can’t see them anymore behind the security gates. Wave until I am a 100 % sure they don`t see me anymore around that corner in the street and still continue waving. A wet nose, kiss and a paw from the dogs. A hug to say goodbye, a goodnight kiss for everyone. It all means I love you, and see you soon! 😊 I send a message nearly every day, take them with me on my journey. Little things that mean a lot. And after this story it means the world…
You have ever been left behind without a goodbye? Wondering what you did wrong..? You ever left someone without saying anything? Or you got tired from saying I love you.. it normalised?
Left the house in the middle of a fight, and rushed to work? A stupid meaningless, fight about nothing but unnecessary words. Send a message after it, that your sorry, but never got a reply?
I leave home entirely carefree, ready for a new adventure, competition or training. I always assume I come back safe and so the ones around me. Sure I will miss them and they do miss me 😊 But I know we will be reunited with some new stories to tell. Anything can happen at any time and anywhere with one of your loved ones (or ourselves). Some people head to work in the morning and never come home again or some just pass during their sleep….while others go on dangerous adventures, do the most exciting sports and nothing happens. Moral of the story you never know.
Never travel without saying goodbye to your loved ones, I always make sure I leave home in peace – always. Say , I love you, thank you! Even though it is for something small. Never leave the house in a fight or send a message behind ; I will make up later…..Because you know..? you might not have that chance anymore. You might never get the chance anymore to set it right. To say the “thankyou” you were supposed to say. And you will regret it. Life will lose all its meaning in a split second. The last memories you have will be a fight… and the most painful goodbyes (thank you`s) are the ones that are never said and never explained.
…Wish that you could go back in time? And make the “ I will make up for it” message reality? Say; “I love you”, “I will miss you”, “see you soon”, right in front of your loved ones ?
Now let`s head to the point of this story.
A lot of times I write about my journeys, going away, coming back and leaving again. Writing about competitions, destinations, travel, but never about something personal, family. Might be because I indeed spend a lot of time on the road discovering new places, competing or training.
Last year I drove around to Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain and a lot of other destinations, a lot of hours on the road. More than a 10 000 kilometres. In countries where everyone would tell you; “ don`t do it, it is not safe” or “You shouldn’t go there”. I did it anyway; I survived the most exciting roads, mountains, drives in the snow and roads through the most difficult countries to drive in – with ease, on my own. Aswell as the days back home, where I do spent a lot of time on the road for my sport and passion, trainings, university, work. From beach to beach, north to south of the Netherlands, wherever the wind will take me.
2nd Christmas day 2022: Driving down the road behind our house. Driving back home from I believe sports to go for a shower and head to some family. Just like any other normal day. It is a two line road one line for one way, the other for the other direction. No rail or bush in the middle. We drive this road every day, more times a day – without thinking.
Well, not this time. Talking about what time we should leave again, someone got other plans. And I must say after driving all the way down to Greece for 6-7000 kilometres, this was something unexpected. So close by home, the road you drive daily. Suddenly a red car appeared on our half of the road (80 > kilometres an hour). The man on the drivers seat got a stroke (we now know) and that made the steering wheel turn our direction. The car faced straight at our car, on our side of the road. In a split second the only option is turn the steering wheel of our car. Everything BUT frontal. So the car hit us in the side. And then it was just a ride -with a lot of noise, nobody could do anything, we were passengers of our own car tossed over the road, airbags popping out, glas springing around – destination unknown. Something like a rollercoaster in the dark.
We didn`t get much time to think or react, because it happened al too fast. We went sideways after being hit on the left side of the car. Get thrown back to the light pole with the right side of the car. That made us go straight through the gras and end up several meters further. Luckily the pole broke and luckily we got thrown towards the pole. That made us stand straight again, otherwise we would have been ending up in the ditch….. maybe even upside down.
Like the end of a rollercoaster, during the ride a lot of noise and suddenly you stop, your hair flown forward and its quiet. Until you look around and turn around. Behind us the car which hit us, hit some other cars too, a bit more gently because we took the full load already. We looked at each other and where really surprised nothing serious happened, we are still alive. Felt like a dream after asking a 10 times; “Did that car really faced us on our side of the road..?’ – I still didn`t believe it.
Not too much time, the next challenge was to get out of the car, away from the smoking airbags, out of the glass. The front doors couldn’t open anymore (even after kicking them) so we had to climb through what’s left over of the car…. ready to step into reality and discover that outside it was a big mess too. Cars dailing 112, sirenes, a trauma heli, the fireman, ambulances, police…While the whole road was covered with pieces of cars. Seeing the light pole and the damage, we quickly realized the car did a good job protecting us. Thanks mum and dad for the advice to always drive in a “real” car. Within seconds after it happened the road was closed.
A memory I will never forget. The first words the policeman told me when he came to check me while I was sitting on the back of the car still wondering what happened – if this was for real; “you are lucky, a few years ago we stood (the same ambulance & policeman) here with two dead bodies”. That impressed me till the day of today. Seeing the new lightpole and the leaning sign, every time I drive the road nowadays, I remember that we are lucky. Gratefull nothing to serious happened and we could skate away from this one, living a few meters away. I can tell you its a strange feeling to leave your car and come home without (just with the pieces of glass still in my hair).
Doing all crazy sports, pushing the limit, crossing borders, looking for the scary challenges on the water every day… this nobody has fore-seen. If something happens in my sport, I know I am the one to blame nobody else, I took the risk, for me that’s easy to accept. But now it was out of my hands… and that made me super angry until the date of today. Why..? But he we got another chance to live, the world is not done with us … So I will keep making the most of every day! Because in life there are no rewinds, only flashbacks.
Road accidents happen in a blink of an eye. An accident can change the fate of a family. Drive safe. It is the first car accident I had ever been in. That shakens you up a little bit … We are a live, but it could be waaaay different. That was a huge reminder to appreciate what you have & be grateful for today and..whatever comes. Forgive and be nice. Love always wins, forgiveness sets you free.
Never leave the house without saying goodbye: In one moment your entire life could change! No Olympic medal, world championship, podium place or whatsoever can pay the prize and time you lost back. Let this be your message – always say goodbey!
Well and if you see the new shiny light pole on the n203 by Castricum, say hello for me! (and maybe put the leaning sign straight again 😉 )