(File photo)

Rickter Scale: Goodbye in the blink of an eye

Funny the impact a text can have — in more ways than one

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

This email from my niece in response to a recent Rickter Scale really touched a nerve and got me thinking.

She wrote:

Thanks for sharing the column honouring Tom, firefighters and first response teams. Your article prompted me to share this with you.

Strange how we’re so solid and fragile at the same time … Strange that this is the theme, as I was the victim of a car accident last week where I thought that was it for me.

Didn’t see anything coming, driving home on Autoroute 15 on the most perfect night of the winter – no snow, no ice, no wind or cold. A sudden smash on my driver’s front side sent me and my car flying to the right to what I thought was heaven. All was white and my face was burning. Just when I thought that I would smash into something at 100 km/h or go barrelling down a Laurentian hill, phase two of the ride kicked in and I was propelled to the left of the three lanes, totally out of control driving with an airbag in my face.

F**k! I never took airbag driving lessons!

Somehow my reflexes got the better of me and I managed to avoid smashing into obstacles and eventually regained straightforwardness in the right lane and slowed down. I managed to pull over and got out of my smoking car without getting hit by oncoming vehicles.

I was in one shaking piece, wow! What happened? I still don’t know exactly.

The couple who stopped didn’t see anything except an out of control car. First response team, then the ambulance strapping me down with a collar and the police taking care of the rest … Straight to the hospital’s corridors for a few hours wait. Gave me the opportunity to think about a whole spectrum of thoughts I don’t usually ponder… As I hoped, my spine was fine and I just need a couple of visits to the osteopath.

The guy from the ambulance had stopped to see the person who hit me, the young 17-year-old was alright. He confided in me that he believed she was texting. I’ll know for sure when I get the police report.

My car is dead, but not me! I’m thankful for my luck considering the odds.

Take care uncle and a nice hello to funky Joan!

-Kim Stiebel XXX

I can’t read that email without hearing the slight Gallic lilt of Kim’s accente a Quebecois and remembering the first time I held the littlest version of her days after her birth on July 8, 1966. My brother Max’s daughter will always lease a special place in my heart.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

She was the first to bestow the official title of ‘uncle’ on me, in both official languages. Kim is not just a treasured gift in her own right, but a living document, a timeless testament to my older brother no longer with us.

Max was a guiding light who nurtured my efforts to be creative in ways that become more precious with each year since his passing in 2006. Every moment, every word shared with Kim is a living, breathing document, a testament to the kind of father, brother and accomplished artist Max was.

To think that Kim, my extraordinary, exceptionally sweet and talented niece, was nearly snatched away forever makes me shudder with uncontrollable dread.

Please, please, if there’s anyone in your life that makes you feel that way, I implore you to think about them long enough to leave your fricking phone alone when you’re driving.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Northbound lanes re-open along Malahat after small rockslide near Goldstream

Drivers asked to use caution, clean-up crews have finished on-site

Nearly 80 incredible artists, one extraordinary Vancouver Island tree

Bateman gallery’s OneTree 2019 honours the life of a single, tree salvaged from the Chemainus Valley

Flyers hockey program inducted into Sports Wall of Fame

Junior B teams attracted huge crowds in the early days of Fuller Lake Arena

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district starting from scratch on testing water for lead

Health Canada changed acceptable levels to 0.005 mg/L in March, prompting re-testing at schools

49th Parallel invests in their employees leadership potential

49th has sponsored 22 employees to go through the Leadership Vancouver Island program

Teen with cancer whose viral video urged Canadians to vote has died, uncle tweets

Maddison Yetman had been looking forward to voting in her first federal election since junior high school

Rowing Canada, UVic investigate celebrated coach for harassment, abuse

Lily Copeland says she felt intimidated and trapped by Williams

Cleanup in the works after tanker truck fire leads to oil spill in B.C.’s Peace region

The province said the majority of the spilled oil likely burned away in the fire.

Fisherman missing near Lake Cowichan’s Shaw Creek

Family is asking for everyone and anyone to keep their eyes open,… Continue reading

BC VIEWS: Action needed on healthcare workplace violence

While we’ve been talking about it, the number of B.C. victims has only grown

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Most Read