How the Fort Collins Cyclist’s Death Grounded Me
I'm a firm believer that we all need a reality check once in a while, and the incident in which a Fort Collins cyclist passed away after hitting a parked truck over the weekend definitely grounded me.
It's one of those headlines that makes you scratch your head, and maybe even chuckle (albeit inappropriately): Fort Collins cyclist dies after hitting parked truck.
Questions run through your head like, How could he NOT have seen the parked truck? Or, How does this even happen?
That same headline also comes with questions we may not even ask ourselves like, Did he have a heart attack (or other health ailment) occur while riding the bike? Or, What could he have been distracted by, if anything?
Sunday night my mother and I took our dogs for a walk through the neighborhood, and my dad met up with us halfway through on his bicycle. Our rescue dog, Baxter, barked uncontrollably at my dad until he realized, "It's just Daddy." (Baxter hates bicyclists.)
It's almost 9 pm., and Dad got a phone call - something pretty unusual since only a select few people have his cell phone number (he's an old school landline user).
The phone call went on for quite some time.
"That must be a good phone call," my mom said to me as my dad stood to the side of a turn in the road. Just this past Friday, my dad had a successful presentation at work in front of a corporate bigwig, so we thought perhaps this is what that phone call was about.
My mother and I continued walking with the dogs, and my dad finally caught up to us.
"You guys, you'll never believe this, but the cyclist that died over the weekend was my boss," my dad said.
Woah. We weren't expecting that.
This revelation eerily connected with other dots, like the many occurrences throughout the weekend my dad told my mom and me that he really wanted to know who the cyclist was. I think he had a gut feeling that the victim was someone he knew personally.
Just a week before the accident, my mom and dad ran into the victim - my dad's boss - Coleman Cronan, 56, at Pablo's Pizza in the Front Range Village. My mom was impressed by how nice of a guy he was, to which my dad said he was one of the best managers he's ever worked with.
I don't know Coleman Cronan personally, and I really don't know a whole lot about him other than the fact that he worked with my dad. But just this bit of information is enough of a wake up call for me to realize that every death in the news affects someone, somewhere very personally.
This is so silly/dumb to think, Mollie. Duh, of course everyone that dies is a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, boss, etc.
Well, yea. It's easy to say that when you're reading a personal story like this. But be honest with yourself: do you really stop to think those same thoughts with each and every death that you hear about in the news? I'm gonna tell you no, you don't - because no one does. Not for every death you hear about in the news.
It's important to stop and remember this, though. You may not know victims directly, if at all, but someone out there is deeply affected by their death and is grieving. This is especially apparent when it's you or someone close to you who's coming to terms with a loss.
It's also important to remember that there is so much to every story than meets the eye. What caused this to happen? It could have been anything, but overall I think this incident was probably something of a freak accident. We shouldn't be so quick to judge the victim because of this, immediately dismissing them as "stupid" because they hit a parked vehicle. We don't know what happened, and maybe that's how it always will be: we won't know.
Note: The Larimer County Coroner released the victim's identity to the public after next of kin was notified. Cause of death was determined to be cervical neck injuries, and the manner was deemed accidental.