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Cyclist Death on Barkly Street
"I hope your journey of life was good."

I wrote the following reflection on my journey in life in 2016. The reason why I have left it here on my blog (now in 2024) though I have removed most of my older posts from before that time is because this event happened in the most pivotal year of self-transformation in my life. I have added an update with more recent reflections at the end. ~Christine

There was a tragedy back in June this year on Barkly Street, West Footscray, very near where I live.

It occurred while I was heavily reflecting on my own journey in life.

And affected me much more profoundly than I ever thought possible.

A 54-year old New Zealand man was riding his bike when he was struck by a speeding car and left to die on the side of the road. The driver was going so fast, he then hit a parked car, pushing it 80 meters down the road.

The driver then jumped from his car and ran off. Luckily, he was eventually caught and charged. 

The place the cyclist was struck happens to be right next to the post box where I walk to post my Hexotica orders every day.

Almost every day since June, I am reminded of the death of this man I never knew by all the flowers and notes left at the site.

Cyclist Death Barkly Street post box

The initial shock of hearing about his death in the local news struck me as extremely sad and senseless, and, as I am a regular cyclist myself in the area, made me much more cautious and wary of the traffic around here, especially on Barkly Street.

I found myself imagining scenarios of a sudden death--both that of myself and of those I loved.

How would I have felt if it had been my partner, or dad, or brother?

Or if it had been me--it could have been, easily--what would my life have meant?

What would my legacy have been? How would I be remembered?

Several times while walking to the post box, my sadness overwhelmed me.

I was grateful to have grabbed a pair of sunglasses to hide my tears, though it was a short walk.

Cyclist Death Barkly Street memorial flowers

You see the thing is, this year has been an extremely difficult one for me.

One of the most emotionally difficult in my life.

I was suffering mild heartbreak at the beginning of this year when I moved into this neighborhood to live alone. That then morphed into wretched heartbreak when my ex and I agreed to stop seeing and contacting each other, even as friends, around March.

Then I lost my job in April, and spiralled down into a "what-am-I-doing-with-my-life!" kind of crisis.

It was not helped by a wee too-much reliance on wine and friends who were going through their own heartbreaks and crises.

Sadness can make you very numb to many things and highly sensitive to others.

One day, not long after the accident when there were a lot of flower bouquets being placed at the post box every other day, I saw a note written in a child's hand that read, "I hope your journey in life was good", with a little heart at the bottom.

The sweetness of these strangers placing so much love in a usually desolate spot by the side of the road for the senseless loss of a man they never knew put my own grief in bittersweet relief.

Every day it became a fresh reminder,  making me feel a reluctant  pang of gratitude for my own journey in life.

Despite my frustration and sadness, I was alive

My journey in life had been good, and it will get better, I thought to myself.

It always does.

The pendulum always swings back, and no period of grief lasts forever. There are always respites and new experiences that lift us back up so that we can look back and smugly grimace on the darker periods of life.

Remembering this is often the only thing that can help us get through these dark times.

Time heals.

The 'journey in life' continues, dragging us along, willfully or begrudgingly, regardless...

A couple of weeks after the accident, someone chained a bicycle to a nearby post.

Maybe it was the cyclist's own bike. I am not sure.

But it's still there today, covered in flowers and love.

This is what it looks like right now, in December:

Cyclist Death Barkly Street bicycle memorial

Though I am very sorry that this tragedy happened, the stupidity and meaninglessness of it has become, for me, deeply meaningful, as this beautiful, colorful memorial has helped me overcome many moments of despair this year.

While many people are hating on 2016 like they haven't hated any year, ever, I'm actually extremely grateful for it. It's been a year of intense personal growth and profound healing.

I am happy to say, I am content with my journey in life once again, and good things are on the horizon once more.

And though this bicycle memorial on Barkly Street still makes me sad, it still reminds me that I am alive.

And that I need to make sure I make my 'journey in life' a good one.

Because that life can be easily taken from me in an instant of tragedy.

I hope you can remember to make your 'journey in life' a good one too...

2024 Relections: My journey in life since writing this post...

A lot happened that year back in 2016...

I lost two close friendships of nearly a decade...

One was going through a heartbreaking divorce after trying to have a baby...

Another was reliving traumatic childhood memories that had resurfaced and shortly after, a close friend's sudden death.

Because I was going through so much of my own at the time, I couldn't give them the attention and support they needed.

I spent many days sitting in a big armchair staring out my window, watching birds.

And I did a lot of reading, writing in my diary, and reflecting on my life.

But here's the thing..and the reason why I've left this very sad personal post here on the blog...

I want you who are reading this to know that if you're going through anything chaotic, traumatic, and transformative in your journey in life, you WILL get through it.

Nothing ever remains the same.

I may have lost close friends, my job, and my first business, but by the end of 2016 I had:

  • Started my second business as a social media manager
  • Became fully self-employed for the first time within just four months
  • Discovered that one reason I'd always struggled with relationships was that I had developed Avoidant Attachment due to emotional neglect and verbal abuse growing up
  • Met the love of my life at a mutual friend's birthday party (and am still with him 8 years later today!)
  • Began to actively heal my Avoidant Attachment with my new partner
  • Packed up all of my belongings and realized a long-held dream of becoming a pet-sitting digital nomad!

In essence, the worst year of my life became the best year in my life!

This is how your journey in life can radically change, too.

Nothing ever remains the same except change itself...

So hang onto life while you can, no matter how hard it gets.

Whatever you are going through - remember - it too, shall pass. 🪄💫

Christine_of_Hexotica