Remembering: Ghost Bikes
This weekend I drove from Phoenix, Arizona to Las Vegas, NV to return my daughter and grand daughter to their home. Always the consummate curiosity seeker, I see out of the corner of my eye a bicycle by the side of the road.
“Oh my God, did you see that? Someone left their bike by the side of the road and it is all white!” I said to my daughter.
A ghost bike, is a memorial for individuals who where hit by cars; reminding cars to be awake to all road activity. For me, it was a reminder of how quickly and suddenly we can leave this earth. One moment I could be rocking my grand child, hiking in the mountains, sleeping in bed, or riding a bike; the next moment my physical life is complete.
With no cars in sight, I pull to the side of the road to get a good look at the bike. It bears the name of the gentleman who passed on the frame along with his birth and death date. It is held anchored with white PVC pipe and a bike chain.
My daughter and I take a moment of silence after which we talk about life and death. It is my wish for her to have an even greater life after I die, not a diminished one. The passing of a parent is difficult, especially a single parent. Much of life with my daughter is shared living. However, I tell my daughter, I want her to allow grief to pass through her while not taking up permanent residency within her.
“Should I die first,” I say, “please promise me to continue living, and more, not less fully.”
“My life will be complete and I will move on to my next Soulful evolution. It would sadden me to think you were smaller some how without my physical presence. Please, don’t do this to yourself. Love is expansive.” I say.
We speak about life transitions, ghosts, faith, as the grand baby is asleep in the back of the car. I am aware of three generations of love in this blue rental car. I mark this moment as Holy within my memory.
Upon returning home, I discover the website for ghost bikes. Five hundred bikers are listed on this site by country. I click on Wickenburg, AZ to learn the man representing this bike, Charles “Chuck” Peterson was 80 years old when he was fatally hit on September 18, 2007. A smile crosses my face imagining at his age, he was in shape and doing what he loved. I give him a shout out and begin writing this blog post.