A Painful Reminder that Life is Short

This past weekend I was home from traveling and it had been one of the most incredible. On Friday night, the husband and I had attended one of our best friends weddings. Not only did we witness true love, but we slowed dance so closely that after 17 years I felt butterflies.

The next morning we headed to Sacramento so Peter could participate in the Spartan Race. He completed in 8.2 hilly miles and 23 obstacle courses in just over two hours.

Yes, he is a total bad ass and I couldn’t have been prouder.
Annette White

By Sunday, we were on a total high, reminiscing about the prior two days. It was such a memorable weekend and in just one week we would be heading to Vietnam, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Life was good. Really good.

Mid-morning on Sunday I was at our restaurant in Northern California enjoying a cappuccino and ogling how many ‘likes’ my Spartan race photos got on Facebook when the phone call rang. It was my mother.Peter White at the Spartan Race

“Your brother is in the hospital. He had a motorcycle accident.”

My heart stopped. Motorcycle accidents are never good. Are they? My mind went faster than my mouth. Where? How? When?

“He went off the freeway, down a 3o foot embankment and landed in a creek where, thankfully, someone pulled him from the water or he could have drowned.” She had just returned from the hospital.

Selfishly, I wondered why she hadn’t called me the minute she heard. That was until I learned the story about what her morning was like. My brother hadn’t shown up to work and she spent the a.m. hours calling all the police stations and hospitals until finally one said, by chance, that he was in transit to the hospital by ambulance after a motorcycle accident on the freeway.

Can you imagine being a mother and hearing that, especially without being told his actual condition?

She said that she was shaking the entire time she drove to the hospital. Nothing can prepare you for that.

About three hours later, I walked into the ICU to see the kid whom I remember changing diapers for. Every year in-between didn’t really register. I tried to prepare myself, knowing that there would be tubes and medical stuff that were going to cause me an immense amount of anxiety.

He laid there motionless, with a neck brace holding him still, a breathing tube coming out of his mouth and numerous tubes pushing blood around. He was completely sedated and though I was grateful that he wouldn’t feel the pain, tears welled up in my eyes.

The super-nurse who was there, immediately made me feel at ease by explaining every single device that was attached to his body. He had suffered from many abrasions, but also had a bleeding spleen and bruised lungs. Those injuries were actually a blessing after falling thirty feet down an embankment.

Angels must have been surrounding him.

The most important part was that she said he was going to be okay. I had to remind myself of that the entire visit, ignoring everything medical surrounding him, because that truly was the important part.

After a bit of urging from the nurse who confirmed that he would definitely be sedated until the morning, I decided to go home.

But before leaving, I grabbed a paper towel and a sharpie and wrote a note that I hung to the right of his bed. If he did wake up unexpectedly I wanted him to know that I had been there. Then I grabbed his foot, a place I knew wouldn’t hurt him, and told him I loved him.

That evening, I couldn’t help but wonder what his goals in life were and how many had he achieved? And what future he sees his son. Thankfully, in this case, I will be able to ask him.

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11 thoughts on “A Painful Reminder that Life is Short”

  1. Annette, I’m so glad your brother’s injuries are less than one would have expected giving the accident — I remember the day I got a phone call that my dad was in the hospital after a terrible accident, and he too suffered only a fraction of what he could have (he says “should have”). It was terrifying walking into the ER, and I can only imagine how you felt! So glad he’s safe and being well taken care of. I’m sure Peter is taking good care of you!

  2. so sorry to hear! what a horrible expereince to go through. Glad his doing okay. Certainly makes you remember how short life is!

  3. Hi Annette,

    Wow, what a shock this must have been. So happy he is on the road to recovery, and I’m thinking of you and your family at this difficult time.

    I’m thankful in that I genuinely live each day like it’s my last; I had been shocked enough into waking up when I was younger so now, I seize the day, every day.

    Sending thoughts and prayers Annette.



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Hey Bucket Listers!
I'm Annette.

I’m a goal obsessed mid-lifer, traveler, experience collector, fear crusher, digital marketer and author with big bucket list dreams. Let's Connect!

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