This website is dedicated to two special people. My brother-in-law David Tagliaferri and Albert De Beer (whom I never actually had the pleasure of meeting)…
It was a beautiful sunny day on the 3rd of February 2011. David, a registered nurse, had finished work for the day and while driving home got a flat tyre. He pulled off to the side of the road, and still dressed in his work uniform, started to change the tyre. At the same time, a total stranger and Good Samaritan, Albert De Beer, stopped to lend a hand. While they were changing the punctured tyre a fully loaded semi-trailer truck, whose driver had been dozing off to sleep, drifted into the emergency lane and slammed into both men. Albert died at the scene while David died on the way to the hospital.
I can still remember that shocking day like it was yesterday. I received a phone call from my wife while I was at work. She said David was “missing” and wasn’t answering his mobile phone. My sister-in-law and two nieces were extremely worried as David phoned them at 1 o'clock in the afternoon to say he was on his way home.
It was now 9 o'clock at night!
The one thing about David is he always let his family know if he was going to be late home, so this was completely out of character for him. I told my wife not to worry, that David would be "somewhere" and there was a logical answer to all of this. I didn't know what else to say and I guess I was just trying to use some good old fashioned logic to calm her thoughts, and mine.
About half an hour later I received another phone call from my wife. This time she was so hysterical that I couldn’t even understand her at first. Eventually I heard “David’s been killed in a car accident”. That was all we had been told at that stage by the Police. I left work immediately and had to drive an hour home. It was the longest hour of my life. When I got home we found out more details about the accident and discovered there was another person who was also deceased.
We had to drive another hour down south to Bunbury where David lived (and actually pass through the accident site). We went straight to his house to see his wife and daughters. I still remember seeing my sister-in-law and the look on her face. She was shattered beyond belief. Their two girls (who were 8 and 10 at the time) just wanted their daddy to come home. And as hard as it was for us, we knew there was also another family going through what we were going through (Albert was married with two teenage boys).
The most frustrating part is it took so long for us to be informed. I know the Police had to do their job but my sister-in-law didn't receive the dreaded knock at the door until 9:30pm. Can you imagine how distraught you would be by that time? The accident was even on the 6 o'clock news but thank god none of us saw it!
Looking back now, it really was one of those nightmare experiences I hope I never have to go through again. Even thinking about it now still brings a tear to my eye. I guess, unless you've experienced something like that you really don't know what it's like. I know I didn't before. I would see people on the news grieving after a tragic accident and I would sympathize with them, but I really didn't know what they were going through until it happened to us.
It's now been two years (already) since the accident and I’m so amazed at just how well my sister-in-law and nieces are coping with life on their own.
They really are an inspiration!
And I suppose one of the positives to come out of all of this is both families have become good friends today. It’s just a pity we couldn’t have met under better circumstances.
I guess what we would like you to take away from our story is this…
None of us know exactly what’s around the corner. Every now and then life throws us a huge curve ball. There’s nothing we can do about it and we just have to deal with it the best way we can. At the same time, there are things we can control in our lives... to a point anyway. We can still control our attitude to life. We can still control what we put into our bodies. We can still control how well we look after ourselves.
Yes, some people die early in life in tragic circumstances. Accidents really do happen. But this doesn’t mean we should give up hope and go out and take unnecessary risks. This doesn’t mean we should treat our bodies like garbage just because “we could be dead tomorrow”. A lot of people think like this and it’s a lame attitude in my opinion.
So I would like to leave you with these final thoughts…
Yes, it’s important to live life to the fullest. Yes, it’s important to treat each day as if it were your last (because it may well be). Yes, it’s important to enjoy life.
But for goodness sake, don’t throw it away prematurely!
Don’t treat your body like crap... look after it. Give it every chance to last its full amount of years. The odds are still high that you can live to a ripe old age. So be sure to keep the odds stacked in your favor.