Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fear Didn't Win

Mel is sick today, so I am filling in for her and hoping she gets well soon! M

Me and my boys at the fourth annual Share the Road Ride

Yesterday we hosted the fourth annual Share the Road Ride. This is the only Soaring Spirits event that is dedicated to my Phil in any obvious way. Banners, flyers, t-shirts all bear his name. Friends from all areas of our shared lives come together, volunteers donate their time to support our Share the Road message, and Phil's love for a good, long ride up a tough hill is honored by every bike that heads out on the road.

Phil died in a cycling accident on August 31, 2005. I don't often repeat the brutal details of his death. Over the years I have found quieter ways to tell the story of how his life ended, utilizing vague details to shield whomever I am speaking to from that horrific images that once played in my brain on an endless loop. There was a time when passing a cyclist on the road took every ounce of will I possessed. Each of my three kids learned to drive after Phil's death, I will never forget the feeling in the car as each of them found the courage to pass that first bicycle on the road. We see Phil on the road, every day.

Which is why ride day is always a mix of terror and awe for me. When we send riders out on the road for the start of the ride, my heart pounds, my hands sweat, and I am often near tears. Since Phil's death I am more aware than ever that every helmet I see on the road is worn by a person who is loved by someone else. Every year on ride day I see someone's mom, dad, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend taking off to ride the roads next to the cars who have the power to take their precious life in a matter of seconds. And I am petrified.

But, fear can't win. Death can't win.

Life must win.

If Phil was fortunate enough to have survived his accident, I know without a doubt that he would have ridden his bike again. He would have told me that you only live once, and that he wasn't going to give up doing what he loved. I can almost hear him listing all the other ways he might die, and also expressing what a boring life he would lead if he let fear win. Then he would have continued living his life as large and loud as possible.

And I would have fretted, worried, imagined the worst, and then thrown my leg over my own bike to ride beside him onto our next adventure. So, yesterday's ride (in the worst weather we have ever had on ride day!) was MY way of "getting back on the bike." I will not allow fear to keep me from honoring my husband's life. I will not allow fear to steal precious moments of MY life by over-worrying and under-living. I will not spend the time I have left on earth limiting my dreams with what-ifs and maybes.

I will live, because he didn't. And in that living, I will carry his spirit with me into my next adventure, knowing he would be proud.


  1. My husband was killed in August of 2011 in a cycling collision. I found this site recently and was going to put a sign up for him in this ride, but I am still so distracted and forgetful I didn't get it done. But I hope I will next year. Had he lived through the collision he too would have also rode again. He was a detective and also rode a motorcycle, he would never have given in to fear. When he was alive I was the big cautious coward, afraid of so much. Since he has been gone I have forced myself to not be as afraid. I have been afraid and done whatever it was anyway. I hope he is proud of me.

    Thank you for the work you have done for the rest of us in this hell of a journey. I have found so much comfort in reading the words of others who have been through this. I feel hope from reading those ahead of me. I feel less crazy reading those that are where I am(two years from when it all went black)

    1. JSP, I am so sorry about your loss. I wish there was some trick I could share that would make this journey easier, but the only way I know do this is one day at a time. So please be good to yourself, take the time you need to make your way through this loss, and know that we will be here every step of the way. There is plenty of time to create a memorial mile for your husband, just let me know when you are ready.

      Thank you for your kind words, I am glad that you are finding hope here through the words of our awesome blog team. I adore them! Hang in there, and please, keep coming back here for that daily dose of hope, it matters.

  2. You are a beautiful soul, and you inspire me everyday, because you live. Love you xoxo

  3. Michele,

    What a great picture of you with your boys! And this entry brought tears to my eyes because it gives me hope to move forward knowing that my husband would be proud of me as well.

    Thank you,


    1. Hi Leslie,

      Thank you, I love this photo of us living our after and honoring our love for Phil. I feel certain that you will find your own unique way to move forward, and that in so doing your husband will definitely be proud. Just keep taking one step at a time!

    2. I got to hand it to you Michele,,,,You are like a god'es to us all in our difficult time in our lives. For all of us "THANK YOU"