This event occurred while driving down the road in a rural area of l'Ange-Gardien (Guardian Angel), in the Outaouais region of Quebec, Canada.
My cousins, Paul and Charlie, had just lost their friend, Mireille, who was only 30 years old and the single mother of a young child. Mireille's husband had drowned in a boating accident the previous spring and she had inherited her husband's Harley Davidson motorcycle when he passed away.
Sadly, on the evening of June 1st, 2000, Mireille died in a very violent collision while riding home with two female friends. As she rode her motorcycle down a dip in the road with her two friends following behind her, a farmer, who was driving his tractor and pulling a hay wagon, had pulled out onto the road in front of her at the last second. According to her two friends, it happened so quickly, Mireille didn't have time to react and she couldn't avoid the fatal collision. I'll skip the details regarding her injuries because they are just too horrifying to recount. Mireille was rushed to the nearest hospital by ambulance where she passed away about an hour after the accident occurred. Her orphaned child went to live with her aunt, Sylvie.
About a week later, I was in l'Ange-Gardien when Paul and I decided to go for a drive. As we passed the cemetery where Mireille's remains were finally laid to rest, we noticed her grave was covered with dozens of bright yellow daffodils. I commented on how beautiful her flowers were and Paul replied that daffodils were her favorite. (I loved daffodils too - but not so much anymore.)
We drove around for a little while and at one point we reached a dip in the road and Paul said, "This is where Mireille's accident happened." The scent of daffodils permeated the air and right on cue we both said, "Can you smell that?!" and we replied in unison, "YES!" But then the sweet and pungent aroma of the daffodils became so overpowering and nauseating that I gagged as I struggled to catch my breath. The temperature dropped very quickly and we could almost see our breath as the icy cold air came creeping into the car. Paul looked at me with the most horrified look on his face and he said, "Sue, it feels like someone's hand is on the back of my neck." A few seconds later he added, "Do you think it's her?" I had goose-bumps all over my body and I could feel her energy getting stronger and stronger. I knew that we were in for one hell of a ride and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening. So, I looked at Paul and replied, "It's not polite to talk about someone in the 3rd person when they are present." Paul turned pale as a ghost and kept driving. I felt the hair on the back of my neck stand straight up. Then, from the back seat of the car, I heard her...
She was inhaling deeply between each heart-wrenching sob as she cried out and repeated over and over again in Quebecois French (which I have conveniently translated for you) "NO! It can't be! This isn't possible! What about my child?" Paul couldn't hear Mireille but he could still feel her icy cold hand on the back of his neck and he started to panic. "Why is she here? Is she trying to tell us we are going to die in an accident too?" Suddenly, Mireille stopped crying and she answered Paul's question, "No! No!" but Paul couldn't hear her reply. I looked at Paul and repeated exactly what she said, "Mireille said, No! No!" Then Mireille added, "I just wanted to say thank you! I didn't get the chance to say goodbye to you the last time I saw you at so and so's restaurant." Once again, I repeated everything she said to my cousin.
I had never met Mireille before she passed away. I had no idea that Paul had seen her at that restaurant a few weeks earlier until I heard it from Mireille as she rode along with us in the car that day. Paul has been riding and racing motorcycles for years so he had given her some tips about riding her Harley safely and he had also shared some defensive driving techniques with her (such a cruel twist of fate).
I told Mireille that her child was safe and was going to live with her sister, Sylvie. I tried my best to reassure her that everything was going to be okay. Finally, the overwhelming odor of daffodils started to dissipate and the temperature in the car returned to normal. Paul looked at me and said, "I think she's gone now." I nodded silently while choking back tears of my own.
Paul parked the car on the shoulder of the road before he frantically searched everywhere inside the vehicle for a perfume bottle, flowers, or any other evidence of what we had just experienced. There was nothing left but the lingering scent of daffodils and the haunting memory of an anguished mother's cries for her young, orphaned child.
Rest in peace, Mireille.