Did you read about the woman and her children who burned to death in the wildfires at Artemida, Greece? It’s a story about fate and its mysterious role in our lives. According to the Associated Press and MSNBC, Athanasia Paraskevopoulou was a 37 year old teacher who was at the family vacation home with her husband and their three daughters ages 15, 12 and 10 along with a 5 year old son. Wildfires started breaking out in the area. While her husband was away, approaching fires came towards the village of Artemida with about 100 residents where their vacation home was located. The area is a heavily forested mountain area and the village was surrounded by olive groves that were the village’s main source of income. So, as fires rapidly swept in towards the village, people gathered in the town square. Anthanasia, along with her four children and others decided to leave the village in cars. The convoy sped out of the village and down the hill on the narrow road. When they came to a fork in the road they had to chose between taking the road up the hill or down the hill. They decided to head down to the village of Zaharo about six miles away. But, as the cars hurried down the road through heavy smoke, the lead car hit a fire truck speeding up towards the village. The overturned truck blocked the road and the following cars ran into the wreckage which was obscured by the smoke. Anthanasia and her four children survived the crash and decided to continue on foot.
After the fires were put out, firefighters found the burned remains of the mother and children. Her arms were wrapped tightly around the children. Sixty Three people from the village died in the fires. It turned out that at the fork in the road if Anthanasia and the others had decided to take the road up the hill instead of down, they would have survived. Not only that, but her vacation home didn’t suffer any fire damage at all. Her house was one of the few that escaped the fires. Others, in the villiage who had decided to remain survived the fires as well. The survivors say that had Athanasia decided to remain instead of leaving she and her children would have survived just as they did. Fate is a mysterious thing. There is a poem about a man seeing death in one town and fleeing to the next town to hide. But, it turns out death had scheduled to meet him in that town anyway. One needs to accept the fact that when it’s your time, it’s your time.