we can be heroes, forever and ever

Het was even slikken deze morgen, kippenvel ook, toen ik het nieuws vernam over David Bowie. Ik zat nog maar goed en wel in de wagen en ik hoorde respectievelijk ‘ziek’ en ‘Bowie’. Geen haar op mijn hoofd die dacht dat de man overleden was, maar tien kilometer verder was het in de nieuwsupdate harde realiteit.

Ik kan de muziek van de man erg appreciëren, vooral de oudere nummers, maar ook zijn laatste albums. Geen idee waarom, maar gisterenavond besloot ik toch maar om even zijn nieuwe plaat te beluisteren want ik was er het voorbije weekend nog niet toe gekomen. Na het verschrikkelijke nieuws deze morgen toch een ietwat bevreemdend gevoel.

Onderweg naar het werk, na het horen van het nieuws, bleef iets in mijn gedachten hangen. Even later deze morgen gaf Jan Hautekiet tijdens zijn programma Hautekiet op Radio 1 die gedachte vorm. Er staat ons immers een gitzwart decennium te wachten, hoe pessimistisch het ook mag klinken.
Zij die in één adem genoemd worden met Bowie, ik denk maar aan The Rolling Stones of The Beatles, hebben ondertussen ook een leeftijd bereikt waarbij een overlijdensbericht hoe dan ook niet zo onverwacht meer is als pakweg tien, twintig jaar geleden.

Die gedachte voelt beangstigend aan. Onze helden die ook maar van vlees en bloed blijken te zijn. Gelukkig leeft hun muziek eeuwig voort…

Rest in peace, uncle Gilbert

On Saturday morning I had a 10am date with my cousin, his girlfriend and their kids at the Mote playground in Koekelare, a small neighbouring town. My mom was born in Koekelare and most family members of her side (the few that we have) live there as well.

Around 11.30am we headed to the terrace to cool off and have a drink, since it was almost noon and started getting pretty hot. Half an hour later we got a rather disturbing phone call from my cousin’s mom (my aunt) about my uncle being in an accident. She didn’t give any specifics, but did say it was serious and that the police were already at the scene of the accident. My cousin left to go see his dad and I went home but did call my mom to tell her that her brother was in a (car) accident. I passed an ambulance on the way home and started to have a pretty bad feeling about it.
My cousin’s girlfriend told me she would have my cousin call me as soon as they got any details, but no phone call came in. So either everything was ok and he forgot about it, or things were really serious.

An hour later the phone rang and I immediately felt something was terribly wrong when I got my other cousin on the phone. He broke the news that his dad passed away after a terrible crash with his quad bike. He must have been unwell which caused him to speed up and instead of turning on the road, he went straight from the field across his house towards the wall of his garage. He must have died instantly and did not suffer. The 5 year-old kid of his neighbours was also with him, but the boy survived the crash and was only mildly injured.

Our family is, of course, really devastated by the news, especially since it all happened unexpectedly. My parents aren’t that much younger than my uncle and I can only hope I can have them around for a long time to come…

Later that afternoon it turned out that the ambulance I crossed on my way home was on its way to another accident in the area. This accident was in a way related to my uncle’s accident. A young girl was distracted by the emergency helicopter on its way to the scene of my uncle’s accident and hit another car. Luckily, nobody was severely injured in this crash.

For those of you who understand Dutch, here’s a link to the article about my uncle’s accident as featured in Belgian newspaper De Standaard.