• Athanasia Houvarda

I had a choice but I had no voice

Updated: Mar 19

August 5, 2001.

-"Why don't you just let go and forget?"

For me the aswer is simple. I can never let go, because every time I see my reflection in the mirror, I am reminded of that day that changed my life forever.

But on days when I feel as if everything is going wrong, on days when I am struggling, on days that I forget the fight I gave to be where I am today, I need that reminder. When I catch a glimpse of my self in the mirror I am reminded of what I lost. It's not my beauty that I lost, it's not my healthy skin, it's not the full range of movements in my hands, it's not even years off my youth.

I lost my friends.

And I don't want them to be forgotten.

This is why I allow my self to be reminded and this is the reason I remind other people the results of unsafe driving. I don't want anyone to lose someone they love to an accident that is preventable.

I often wonder if what I am feeling is survivor's guilt. And maybe it is!

I had a sense of deep guilt for surviving our horrific accident. The man behind the wheel was an aggresive driver. I could see the signs but I couldn't recognize them. I trusted him like I trusted every other driver behind a steering wheel. I never questioned my safety. Even on that day, seeing his aggressive behavior, tailgating and overtaking other vehicles, I only spoke once. I asked him to slow down but I didn't demand it. I know I was wrong to trust him and the results of our accident, the reminder of my reflection in the mirror, prove how wrong I was.

I had a choice that day but I had no voice to demand my safety.

To this day, I am grieving and still mourning for the loss of my friends but I try to do it in a meaningful way. Raising road safety awareness is a meaningful way to honor their memory and possibly impact in a positive way the life of others.

Recognize the signs of unsafe driving and demand your safety before it is too late.

We have a choice and we have a voice!

My latest project to raise awareness on the importance of road safety is a podcast called Crash Victim Life Survivor. The last episode of season one went live 2 days before my 20th road accident anniversary. It has been an interesting ride so far. I learned a lot through the stories that my guests shared with me. I am looking forward to launching season two in the future.

In memory of my dear friends Sotiri and Effie.

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