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Old 06-21-2014, 05:44 PM   #1
schembr OP
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Need perspective: Friend killed on bike

ADVInmates. Sorry to throw such a question into an otherwise happy place, but I need some perspective.

Two days ago, on my way to the Airheads Rally at the Aerodrome in Milan, NY, I got word that my best friend was killed on his KLR by a left-turning vehicle. Five minutes from my house, a shity intersection I've ridden through a thousand times. When I took the call from my wife, my riding partner witnessed my full meltdown at the gas station where I got the news, got me calmed down and finally helped me think through what I needed to do. After an hour of processing, I headed back to be with my friends wife, their two girls and all of the family that was begining to get word. It was a long, long four hour ride back, and I found myself in an horribly tragic place where all I could do is watch grief pour out.

I have been riding for twenty years, accident free, and have lost no friends to bike wrecks (or otherwise, fortuntaely). It's been a hard two days with is widow, with their girls, with his parents...all of whom I'm close to and all distraught beyond words.

All of this to say this: I'd really like to hear from you guys. I know all about 'getting back on the horse; doing what you love; life is full of risks; could happen in a car. All of that shit I've heard and have said it myself plenty of times. But my adventure partner is dead, my wife is trying very hard time not seeing me out on the slab dead, and for the life of me I can't figure out what to think about my bike, about teh risks I'm wiling to take or the people I might effect.

Just let me know what the fuck I'm supposed to learn from this. You more than anyone know that a bike is more than transportation, but this is a heavy scene and I need your insight more than ever.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:00 PM   #2
VTphoneman
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I am very sorry for the loss of your friend and to his family deep condolences.

Time. Just take time, deal with the loss and don't worry about what you will do as to riding. Its a decision that can wait until you can look at the whole picture clearly. I'm not saying detach it from any of the emotions you are feeling now, save those and include them in the process. Celebrate your friend and honor his memory. That's is all we can do for those we love and have lost.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:02 PM   #3
No False Enthusiasm
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This is as difficult a first post as this forum has seen in some time....

Please accept my condolences. Perspective on this great a personal tragedy will take some time.

NFE
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:07 PM   #4
Mr. Magoo
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Don't worry about riding now. Hug your family; comfort your friend's family. My Condolences on your loss.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:11 PM   #5
Auto-X Fil
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I lost my best friend before I even bought my first bike. He'd been riding for a bit, and was swapping his 900RR for an R1. I was going to buy the Fireblade from him and start riding. He took it out one day, I guess prepping it for me, and somehow lost control.

It was easier to rationalize my decision to ride again in that case, because he rode way too hard on the street and it was obviously his fault. Even so, I dropped the bike thing for 4 years. The primary reason was that if I rode, my wife would have trouble not worrying every minute I was gone, and she's not a worrier.

Be with family, and accept the positive self-assessment that comes from these things. If other people (whom you love) are bothered by your riding, let it for for a while. Don't let the blame shift to the bike if you can help it, but be sensitive and don't press that point to anyone involved.

If you need to ride, start riding off-road only or MX or something. Start downhill mountain biking or something else. Whatever you can use as your release (which you need, I get that), but doesn't carry risk that bothers the wife.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:23 PM   #6
atomicalex
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I think you gave a lot of love in going home. Taking care of your family and your friend's family will be a great comfort to all involved.

Take care of yourself, too. Riding will come for you when it is time. Do not be ashamed or feel bad if that is sooner or later or never.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:24 PM   #7
TrashCan
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3 seconds faster or 3 seconds slower.
All of our lives are based on time and place.

Sorry for your and his family's loss.



Sometimes there are just no words.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:31 PM   #8
itlives
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I've lost a couple friends over the years -but it's been years.
Best advice I've seen here is give it time.
Family first.
Let the hurt go...away.
The road will be there when you're ready.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:35 PM   #9
mike
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Very sorry about your friend. I lost a good friend in a bike accident back in 82. A week before Christmas. He had a wife and 2 young kids. He was 22. Terribly sad.

Only you can make the decision to ride or not. If you have a family, make sure you have real good life insurance. All the best.
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:00 PM   #10
Cameleer
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My deepest condolences for your loss. I have two small kids myself and news like this really make me wonder.
Never had an experience like yours, but from the outside I can only agree with the common denominator above: park the bike for a while if you feel it's the best for yourself and your wife, and give it time.
One's own family is always first.
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:03 PM   #11
fast4d
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I am sorry for your loss.

take your timegetting back on the horse.

make sure your family is taken care of in case it happens. even if you are incapacitated without income.

you must be doing something right riding 20 years accident free.
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Old 06-21-2014, 07:23 PM   #12
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The grieving that you are doing is part of the process of dealing with a painful loss. It sounds like (maybe I am reading between the lines of your post) you are embracing the grieving and not trying to stifile it. I think that is a good thing.

I also think it says a lot about your character that you summoned the strength to be there for your friend's family. I am sure that was helpful to them beyond words. In the long run, you too will benefit from having the strength to be there for them.

I have lost a number of friends, far far too many, over the last 40+ years of riding motorcycles. The first one was when I was only 12 years old. One of my friends from school was riding down a dirt road and hit a washout at speed. He went over the bars and landed hard, head first. Another of our friends was with him and got help, but there was nothing that could be done. He had a helmet on, but the trauma was too much. I was not out riding with them that tragic day.

I was one of the only kids from school that went to the funeral home for the family visitation night. Most just could not bring themselves to deal with it. It was not easy for me either. I am glad that my folks let me make the decision on whether to go or not. I felt like it was the right thing to do. His family told me how much they appreciated me coming to see them and saying goodbye to him.

I had to decide way back then whether I was going to keep riding motorcycles or not. I chose to ride. None of the friends that I have lost since then were any easier to let go, but such things are beyond our control.

We like to think we are in control of everything, but we don't really have control over anything in our lives except our attitudes. Tragedy is going to befall us from time to time and it is our attitude that determines what we are going to do with such situations.

Personally, I know that worrying will not add one minute to my life, but it sure can worm it way in until it ruins everything if you let it. I believe that there is a purpose for each of us, but we don't always understand what that purpose is until much later in life, if ever. There are things that happen that do not make sense to us because we cannot see the big picture or the full plan for anyone's life. We only see through a glass darkly.

It is our task to do the best we can with what we have been blessed with, nothing more, nothing less. What you posted sure sounds like you are doing the best you can with what you have been given to deal with right now. My family will certainly be praying for you to continue to be strengthened during this terrible time of loss and we will pray for your friend's family as well.

You are not ready to think about how you will feel as time passes. But you will get through this and you will be able to enjoy life again. You just need to take the necessary time to grieve and remember the good times with your friend.

If you decide that riding is what you want to continue doing, that will be your choice. It won't mean that you have forgotten your friend. It just means that you are remembering him while choosing to live on in the face of tragic circimstances. That is just part of being human.

I have hosted some gatherings of riders over the years to remember friends that we have lost. While it is not something that I have ever really wanted to do, it is something that has been helpful to a lot of people and to me. You may even get to a point where you decide that having a gathering of riders that knew your friend to share a meal and remember the good times is something worth doing, for you and for them.

You will be in my prayers this evening.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:00 PM   #13
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Condolences on your loss and to your friend's family.

I occasionally worry about leaving my wife alone if something goes wrong, but I can't see giving up riding. Someday the old injuries will force it, but for now I keep riding.

I don't think there's necessarily something to learn from this. Motorcycling is more dangerous than driving a car? That's not news. That cars aren't paying attention?

Only you--and your wife--can decide if you should get back on the bike. You've got plenty of time to make that decision.

In the meantime, be proud of doing what is right even though it must be very hard for you. Sometimes it's easier to run and you're not doing that.

Good thoughts going your way.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:05 PM   #14
shelion
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I am so sorry for your loss.

I'll just echo what others have said. Right now you're still emotionally shocked at losing your friend. Give yourself the time and space to grieve and when, and if, it feels right to you to get back on the bike, then do so. There is no hard and fast rule for this situation and you are the only person that can decide whether you should ride again and when.

You asked what you're supposed to learn from this. My takeaway would be that life is fleeting and any random day could be your last for any number of reasons. Tell your wife and kids that you love them, everyday, and give lots of hugs. Make spending time with people you care about a priority-cutting the lawn can wait. Don't postpone happiness and joy. Don't sweat the small stuff; and most of it is small stuff.
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Old 06-21-2014, 11:15 PM   #15
High Country Herb
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Terrible news, man.

I've lost 2 friends to bike accidents. In both cases, they were at fault, so maybe that's makes it easier to justify continuing to ride. Actually, I didn't even have a bike during those times.

You've already been back on the horse; it isn't like you had much choice. Like some of the others have said, make sure you have life insurance.

Time will not erase the pain of loss, but it will put it in context.
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