Picture 2Saturday, August 27, 2005 – Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada

Raindrops began to speckle the scorched pavement as Mike swung his leg over the gleaming tank of his new Electra Glide Harley-Davidson and carefully adjusted the wing mirror for the hour and a half ride home. Mike Kruger (58) and his wife Sharon (56) had been up at the marina working on their boat which they christened “Lady Cameron” – a little grand for an old house cruiser— a classic case of beauty in the eye of the beholder. They had worked on her for three days and were satisfied that, although there was still restoration work to do, there was no immediate rush.  They would always have next summer.

Climbing on the back, Sharon tightened her chinstrap, and rehearsed her usual checklist of boat lock-up, keys, purse. Satisfied, she nodded the all clear to Mike for take-off.  At that moment an invisible clock timer that was set for twenty-two minutes began its backward count.

Sharon didn’t notice the tiny raindrops on Mike’s helmet, because the warm breeze diverted her thoughts to pleasant memories of that morning’s breakfast at the family cottage in Fenelon Falls, the “jewel” of Kawartha Lakes country. The combination of the picture-perfect day along with the progress they made on the boat, made Sharon utter a contented sigh, inaudible over the roar of the deep-throated engine.  20 minutes. 

Mike turned north onto Hwy. 35 and made the short jog over to the Glenarm Road in his usual meticulous way, keeping perfect symmetry with the white lines. You would think that after all these years of riding, he would ease up on the perfection a little.  After thirty-eight years of marriage, Sharon still found Mike’s predictable attention to detail amusing.

16 minutes. The intermittent drops progressed into a light rain now, releasing a welcome earthy aroma, and the sun eked out a few bold rays despite the increasing cloud cover. Visibility was still good as there were two hours to go before sunset, and Mike planned to be home before dark with no intention of getting the bike wet.

10 minutes.   Mike worshipped his bikes (even convincing Sharon to relegate a room on the main floor of their new home as a sort of showroom). He chose to ride only when the weather was right.  Tonight, however, was a rare exception because he had to get Sharon home to be with her Sunday school class the next morning. Even though stormy weather was in the forecast, it was not expected until much later. In any case, the bike could handle a little rain, and he certainly could handle the roads. No worries.  3 minutes.

Mike decelerated until he cleared the hamlet of Argyle, and then kept the throttle steady at 80 km/h traveling west on the wide-open straights and gentle curves of the two-lane highway.  60 seconds.  The Glenarm Road afforded them a typical rural Ontario view of quaint farmsteads and ripe cornfields.  30 seconds.  There was a familiar set of bends up ahead, so Mike geared down for the approach and leaned gently into the first.  10 seconds.  With perfect control, he took the bend routinely which was followed by a half-kilometre straight before the next. One easy curve after another.  7 seconds.  An oncoming eastbound vehicle emerged from the farther bend and came into full view.  No panic, he has lots of room. 6 seconds.

Suddenly, Mike’s ease erupted into unbelief. He’s in my lane!   His initial shock triggered experienced reflexes. Mike knew he had to take control of this potential nightmare, and get the bike out of the vehicle’s path. Mike banked an immediate hard left.  5 seconds.

In nearly forty years of riding, Mike had never had a serious accident, and certainly never caused one.  Driving was his livelihood as a veteran Toronto Transit Commission bus/subway/Rapid Transit operator; he couldn’t afford to be careless. Even in his younger days, he exhibited incredible skill at the amusement fairs when he rode “The Globe of Death” motorcycle stunt show before anxious spectators. Then there were the two years of riding instruction for the Ministry of Transportation and the many U.S. road trips, where he had encountered potentially dangerous situations before, and knew how to react.  While this one topped the list, it wasn’t beyond his ability even with a passenger on the back. Ability, skill – Mike had it all, but one thing he hadn’t factored in: it was August 27, 2005.  He was appointed to die. 4 seconds.

No negotiating, no rescheduling.  The appointment had been made. Death barters with no man. When Mike rode out of the Fenelon Falls Marina, he had no idea that he was on the last leg of the journey. Seize the day were among his last words at breakfast.  “You never know when your time is up,” he added lightheartedly.  Seven hours later, the day would not be seized but Mike would. But I’m not ready!  The boat’s only half done!  What about the grandkids! I want to see them grow up! I haven’t even retired yet.  I’m healthy! I can’t believe it would happen this way – no warning? So sudden, so…

Three. Two. One. The eastbound driver tried desperately to repair his loss of control with a hard right to regain his own lane, but in a sudden, horrific crash, the two collided.  Tragically, Mike Kruger was killed instantly.  His brand new bike became an unrecognizable heap of twisted metal. And silently, the clock struck zero.

The angel of Death rode off with its victim, and the other was left behind.  On impact, Sharon’s body became a human projectile, and was literally pulled apart by the force of collision.  Barely alive, she sustained massive injuries: liver, bladder, bowels, stomach, lungs; many broken bones including, ten ribs, both ankles, right hand, sternum and a severely broken pelvis; lacerations to limbs and face; large gaping wounds on her left leg and at the base of her spine.  Miraculously, Sharon had minimal head injuries, and hardly a scratch on her helmet.

A retired paramedic was the first on the scene, followed by emergency workers who tended to her, but believed that their urgent efforts were useless as she wouldn’t survive the night.  The approaching storm also prevented them from airlifting her to the Critical Care Unit of Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.  It would be five hours before she would arrive by ambulance with only a twenty percent chance of survival.

In twenty-four hours, Sharon received over one hundred units of blood, and she hung between life and death while her family kept vigil, praying.  Human odds were stacked against her.  To onlookers, she was a living corpse waiting for Death, but it did not come. Despite the doctors’ low estimates for survival, Sharon’s life was totally secure, not dependent on medical intervention.  Death was powerless, because a higher Power was in control: in fact, the highest Power.

Everyone must face the reality that Life does not belong to us. No self-preservation formula will save us from the final appointment with Death. It will come – silently and punctually and often without warning. We spend our years as a tale that is told.

[1] Death will close the chapter of this life, and open up to the next.  It’s tragic that people make elaborate retirement plans and even their own funeral arrangements, but make no plans for what lies beyond. The reason? Most people believe that all will be well when they “pass on.”  If there is a God, he will not turn me away since I’ve never killed anybody, and I’ve always tried to be a decent neighbour.    Sounds nice, but that thinking is not based on fact. Good deeds cannot save anyone.

A further tragedy exists today that every form of accessing how to prepare for the next life is available, but many choose to remain in contented ignorance.  Death and Eternity to them are just an irrelevant fog. Does this sound like you? Friend, don’t be caught off guard.  You must face reality.  You must prepare now, because the clock of your life is already counting down as you read.


1. Be aware that God allows only one way to Heaven through His Son Jesus Christ who said:

I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.[2] Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.[3]

2. Realize your danger. 

       All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.[4]

      The wages of sin is death [in Hell].[5]

3. Repent and ask for God’s forgiveness.

       Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish [in Hell].[6]

      If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to

cleanse us from all unrighteousness [sin].[7]

4. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His free offer of mercy.   

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved [from Hell].[8]

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in him should not perish [in Hell], but have everlasting life.[9]

5. Call on God from your heart.

He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee.[10]

Him [or her] that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.[11]      

If Mike Kruger could speak, he would urge you to consider these facts while you still have life. Mike knew the Way to God before the accident, and he certainly knows it now. His unexpected appointment with Death came right in the middle of health and cherished plans with Sharon, their three children, and twelve grandchildren.

What about you, friend? Prepare to meet thy God[12] is advice you cannot afford to ignore, because if you’re not right with God when your clock reaches zero, it will be too late.

(Sharon has made an amazing recovery from her serious injuries.  After much rehabilitation, she is now able to walk again and has begun to lead a fairly normal life.  Many prayers were offered on her behalf and God answered in a miraculous way.  Wisely, Sharon prepared to meet the Lord many years ago, which gave her great comfort as she faced this immense trial.)

Written by Jill Saunders
Lifeline Publications
1600 Neilson Road, Scarborough, Ontario

[1] Psalm 90:9
[2] John 14:6
[3] John 3:3
[4] Romans 3:23
[5] Romans 6:23
[6] Luke 13:3
[7] I John 1:9
[8] Romans 10:13
[9] John 3:16
[10] Isaiah 30:19
[11] John 6:37
[12] Amos 4:12