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Riding after the loss of a loved one

Discussion in 'Motorcycle Talk' started by Candiya, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. I’m interested in hearing your stories about how the loss of someone dear to you (family member, friend, mentor, etc.) affected your riding. Did you quit riding or continue? Did you take a take a break? If so, what brought you back to riding? How did you make your decision to quit or to continue? What factors did you take into consideration?

    Also, how has your riding changed since the loss? For instance, do you ride more cautiously or with greater abandon?

    Here’s my experience:

    After losing my boyfriend, mikefsu, in a motorcycle accident a month ago, I wasn’t sure if I’d continue riding. At first, I was in too much of a fog to make decisions about anything. I figured I’d wait and let things settle out a bit. Would I find motorcycles repulsive? Repugnant? Well, no… I felt the same affection for my little red Honda that I’ve always felt.

    About a week ago, I tried riding for the first time since the accident. Put on my most protective gear and my silly florescent vest and asked a friend to follow along. I gave myself permission to turn around and head home for any reason – if I was too emotional, uncoordinated, or just wasn’t feeling it. Not going to lie – I was nervous when I started out. But it went well enough that I went a little farther, then a little farther still. Ended up doing about 70 miles that day. By the end I finally loosened up and started to have fun. I went riding again last weekend, and it was really nice.

    So…at the moment, I guess I’ve decided to continue. During these two rides, I had moments of peace and just normalcy that are rare and precious these days. Mike would have wanted me to continue riding, but he also wouldn’t have pressured me, as he never pressured me to ride while he was here. If I get to the point where riding doesn’t feel good, I’ll take a break.

    As to how my riding has changed, I actually think I’m riding better now than I ever did before. My Achilles’ heel has always been that I was too much of a scaredy cat. Now, that fear is gone, and I’m much more relaxed. It’s odd; you’d think it’d be the opposite.

    Now, enough about me. Do you have some stories to share?
    Darvax and Anastasia like this.
  2. I lost my brother, and also a friend. My parents took my street bike when my brother was killed, I was 17. I was allowed to still ride dirt bikes. I would occasionally still sneak out on my bike however. Once I moved out, I was right back on them. With my friend, I crashed the same evening and broke 3 ribs. As soon as I was healed however, I was riding again. I love riding, its the only thing that keeps me sane, and relieves stress. Until I'm incapable I'll be riding.

  3. we lost our buddy lostscruz a few years back. ive noticed since our circle has drifted more towards the track. they say its the safest place to ride, yet people at the track are always going faster and faster. at some point something bad will happen to a friend, its just a waiting game.

    if you love riding motorcycles keep doing it. its a dangerous hobby all around. might as well have fun doing it :)
  4. I've lost quit a few friends and family members over the years due to MC crashes and I've always just kept on riding . I did it for them because it's what they would have wanted me to do . I did rebuild one buddies zx7 that he crashed with and died . After rebuilding it and going for the 1st ride it was pretty emotional but life does go on .

    It really wasn't until my near fatal motorcycle crash that I've really questioned why am I still wanting to ride . My thought would be if I would have died doing what I love to do I sure wouldn't want my family or Friends to not keep on doing what they loved . I often thought of the what IF and if I was to have found myself floating away , what would I have really missed the most from my life on this earth besides being with my wife , family & friends ?? Being on 2 wheels comes to mind !

    Just breathe and live everyday to it's best cause thats what I really think those that have left us would want us to do ......... maybe toss in a few wheelies and blackies out of the corners too :thumbup:
  5. My dads brother died riding. My dad collects stamps. I ride. One day I too will leave this earth. I won't be sorting through stamps when it happens. That I know for sure. You got to just do what makes you happy I guess.
  6. I'm very sorry for your loss.

    That said, too many people live their lives worrying about "what if?" What if I take that job and I can't do it well? What if I ask that girl out and she says no? What if I ride a motorcycle today and something happens?

    Yes, it's foolhardy to take foolhardy risks. But it's also a life unlived if at age 80, you're filled with regrets for all the things you didn't try.

    Live your life.
  7. Texasl

    Texasl Totally Charming Retired Moderator Staff Member


    You know my recent history, and let it suffice to say there have been others in the past. Once the fog clears I just continue to go forward, knowing that to do anything else would be untrue to what brought us together.

    I'm glad to know that you are getting back out there. Any time you want to head out on a mellow paced ride rattle my cage or post it up on the public side. I'm sure that there are quite a few folks around the area who would be proud to follow your tail light, and there are a lot of good places to eat in Port Townsend. (hint :roll:)
  8. I think for any of us that have ridden for any significant ammount of time, we understand the risks. We know absolutely that we could die. But we all accept those risks and mitigate them as best we can.
    After a while we come to know that this sport has become a large part of what it means to be "us".
    I wouldn't ride, or not ride, because a lost loved one would have wanted me to. I ride because I have to. It's simply a part of what makes up "Me".
    Take your time. ride when you are moved to.
    It's all really just an adventure.
    You've still got miles to go.
    mjn, ninjaofdoom and Darvax like this.
  9. shelbyguy

    shelbyguy Picture Whore

    couldnt have been put better.

    thanks Jim.
  10. When I ride, I often feel as if I've got ghosts along with me. It's not as bad as it might sound.
  11. My brother was in a terrible bike head-on and still suffers greatly from it, although his perseverance is astounding. But his wreck caused me to delay getting back into riding for about ten years. I ride again, and it's wonderful, and almost every time I get back on two wheels I regret the almost three decades I didn't ride. I understand the risks, and apply the large dose of denial, as we all do, but I do ride much more slowly than I might have if I didn't have a family member who was injured.

    It's trite, but you really do only get one life, so you might as well make the most of it.
  12. I too have lost a lot of people over the years. That, in itself, didn't have a real impact on my riding. When I crashed ... I did take some time off and reflected on the folks that were gone and if this was a good time to stop riding ... even for a while (of course it took a year for me to recover). Nah. I did quit drinking and riding. I quit all the other illegal shit. I slowed down, for a while. Didn't attack corners and all that bullshit. I started taking riding more seriously. I found I enjoyed it a lot more. I like the solitude.

    Sorry for your loss. Ride safe.
  13. I have lost many over the years as well from riding, driving, climbing, and a host of other ways. My beliefs on death obviously effect my views on life.
    I believe life is meant for sensations of everything from pleasure to pain. Life as human is nothing more nothing less. Death is just beginning of the rest of your existence. The loss of your Earthly life is the continuation of existence without the physical pains and pleasures of the flesh. So to me, aside from my pain of losing a loved one or close friend, the people I care for have no pain or suffering after they pass on. They still exist, and move on without the pain I feel for losing physical contact with them, and I certainly think they are happy, care free, and wish the same for me over their change.

    To me if you celebrate feelings of life to it's fullest, hurting no others while your here, your golden. Carry on and enjoy yourself, wouldnt you want that for the ones you left behind? My riding style has changed over the years as my reaction time has. In ten more years it will change again assuming a perfectly bbq'ed ribeye steak doesnt kill me 1st :mrgreen: (food and my gene pool is probably going to kill me...I already know that crackup:)
  14. Candiya I am so sorry for your loss. I lost my boyfriend 3 years ago in a car accident, but we met at a motorcycle rally and used to ride together a lot, so I can kinda empathize with you. Even now I miss him. If you need anyone (else) to talk to, you have my number on the Lady Riders Meetup (or PM me). Though losing him didn’t stop me from riding, it changed who I rode with. It made it extremely difficult for me to ride with couples especially and even men. I threw myself into developing and growing the Lady Riders Meetup group (which was started a few months before he got killed). Motorcycle riding is such a part of me, it’s been healing and cathartic. When I suffered lower back soft tissue injury from being rear ended in a car accident, riding my bike relaxed me and helped me heal. When my sister passed away and the airlines were being so cold, I rode to Stockton from the Seattle area in one day and just helped me deal with the grief. I found out the day I hit a deer and survived, my grandmother had passed away that same day – I swear it was her as a guardian angel that helped me not even drop the bike on that solo trip. Unfortunately over the last 6 years it seems I’ve lost about 3 friends/family a year, including 3 at the beginning of this year and 2 this month only so it seems I’m constantly dealing with loss. Riding sets me free, helps me to escape my woes and makes me enjoy the moment. Some days I ride more cautiously or can’t ride at all, others I just let go and ride without a care or worry.

    All in all, do what’s best for you and what makes you feel good/comfortable. And again, I’m there for you if you want to talk.
    Darvax likes this.
  15. I was riding with a friend that I had known since I was in grade school I was 35 years old and we had known each other for 27 years. We were riding outside Madras when he lost control after hitting rock slide debris in the road. He went off the road and lost his life while I watched. I had a friend with a truck and trailer come get me and my bike that day. I was too shaken to ride it home to Portland. I did not ride for about two weeks and was unsure if I would ride again. I was talking to my friends father when he said the happiest he had seen his son was on the days we rode together. He also told me my friend had planned on his ashes being put into the wind from a motorcycle on the Mckenzie scenic route. We were 16 when we started riding together that was our favorite road. I took my friend for one last ride the day I spread his ashes along the road side on my way from the scenic highway to Sisters. Everytime I ride up there I feel as if we are still riding together. I know if I had been the one to go he would have still been on two wheels he loved to ride as much as I do.
  16. I lost a friend earlier this year. I realize though 1 day, our cards will be punched wether it's tomorrow due to a cager, or 70 years of a heart attack. I have no idea, so might as well enjoy everyday. I love being on 2 wheels, and will continue to ride until either I can't ride anymore, or I move on from this earth.
  17. Candiya, The loss of Mike was taken hard by both Emily & I. I can still picture the smile on her face after she rode on his bike when all of us were out on Easter Sunday this year. I have seen up close the aftermath of accidents, I have lost friends, & I have crashed on the street & track... but none affected me like the time my front brakes locked up on I5 & the first vehicle behind me was a semi. I am still amazed at how I was not hit or even clipped by the semi or any subsequent vehicles that had to stop to get me & my bike out of the center of I5. What upset me the most was knowing I hadn't kissed Emily goodbye that morning & not remembering if I told her "I love you baby girl". I almost stopped riding then - March 23, 2011. (It was also my mom & step dad's 10yr anniversary.) I hopped back on with her encouragement... freaking out at almost every vibration in the bikes front end. August 26, 2011 - Emily was 12 & holding her daddy's hand as he took his last breath. I am all she has left. I still ride because of her encouragement. We are now to the point of trying to get her a lil 250 so she can ride the track. The twinkle in her eyes when we talk about that, melts my heart. My daughter knows what riding means to me & I have shared & passed that passion on to her. I would hope she didn't stop riding if I were to pass in a bike accident.

    Regarding riders & the track & why we ride, my daughter once told my mom... but grandma, "These are my people!"

    I ride for myself ~ I ride for her

    Pic was taken tonight - rode up to Alki for dinner & to watch the sunset. She took my pnwriders shirt one time & refuses to give it back...

    dizzle and Lone Rider like this.
  18. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Streetfighter

    Just did a 1500 mile ride to Montana. Mike was on my mind often. He passed while I was in Alaska and reading all all the threads was heartbreaking. I definitely passed on bezerking a lot of twisty mountain roads. Instead I choose to watch all the gorgeous countryside roll by. Was enjoying just being alive and doing what we love to do.....,ride.

    Was a emotional trip for my sweety as she wanted to show Me the area her folks have a 2nd home in. First time she has been back since her Momma passed away there (Troy Mt.)
    So we talked quite a bit on all the feelings and ended up having a great ride back home because we were so much more aware of how precious life is.
    I got back into riding to help recover from the loss of my wife of 25 yrs. Being on a bike was our bliss when we were dating and my first few rides solo as a widower were very bittersweet. I can only imagine how you feel....,
    As time passes (and the raw pain of grief) I have often reflected on our great times together on rides and it makes my rides today better as I feel somehow connected to her when I am in the moment that only riding in the countryside can produce. My Sweety has also commented that she can feel her presence too. (they had met long ago) No weird spooky stuff. Just a feeling of connection.
    As you heal from your loss I can only pray that your future holds something similar. And hopefully you get as lucky as I am and you have someone who loves you and understands your feelings for Mike.
    But this all will take take time. Its been almost 10 years since I lost my wife. I have gotten to a much better place with her passing. I pray that kind of peace comes to you too.

    Ride safe 8), Tom
  19. erickb

    erickb Mr. PNW Riders 2007

    I have lost many friends and have known many people who have passed from ridding. Every time this has happened I have thought about stopping, but would get back on the bike. Now about 2 years ago or so I was in a very bad dirtbike crash, 6hrs later I was in the ER waiting to be seen, while sitting in a wheelchair I was talking to a nurse and coded (yup no pulse) mid sentence. I woke up with a full trauma team around me, lines, tubes, etc all coming out of me. I rode one of my street bikes about a month later, parked it sold it and have not ridden since. It’s not about me, it’s what would my family go through if I did not make it. Never once have I though well if would have died at least it was doing something I loved, I love my family a hell of a lot more then I have ever loved ridding, so for me the decision was easy.

    We still have a lot of motorcycles, both my kids raced and my wife was ridding but all the bikes are parked at an airplane hangar and I never really get the urge to ride and that is after ridding for 20+ years (started at 10 and I am 38)
    Lone Rider likes this.
  20. Thank you all for sharing your deeply personal stories and for the words of encouragement. When I posted this thread, I wasn't sure if it was too personal and candid for a motorcycle forum, but I figured that I couldn't be the only person who has wrestled with these questions. Hearing your experiences helped me. Thank you.
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