Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Friday, October 17, 2014

Do You Have Children?

"Do you have children? If you do, I don't have to tell you [what it's like to grieve in the rawness of a dreadful loss]."
"It's hardest on her mother. She hasn't eaten for 24 hours, hasn't slept for 24 hours."
Bereaved father, Cantley, Quebec
Maryse Beaulne 17, was killed in a hit-and-run while crossing a highway on her way to college near Cantley on Tuesday.     Facebook page / Ottawa Citizen

She was far too young to die. Not that it made any difference, since the hapenstance of circumstances that make such things occur represents indifference to human tragedy. We are born and as infants supported by our parents' love and attention to our needs. They do the best they can to arm us with the very same advice they received from their parents. All that advice is summed up in two words: be careful.

It's often been said that the young are too carefree to be careful. And while adults begin to have a sense of their own mortality, the young cannot see that far into the future, wouldn't care to, and don't believe they are anything but invincible; nothing will occur to them that will spin them out of their comfort zone of just being themselves. Their inability or unwillingness to have a care is sometimes their undoing.

Caution is no way to live, if you're a teenager, and the world has opened its portals to give you opportunities to venture where you will as you make your way into adulthood. Sometimes you think like an adult, but not too often, since it's tedious and stultifying. Best to linger between childhood and emerging independence.

Independence is being responsible for yourself in a manner not entirely consonant with the freedom of living on the verge of graduation into another life, when secondary school is left behind and other choices beckon. Whatever those choices are, they mean you've embarked into another life entirely, free to travel, to work, to pursue academic studies, to make new friends and acquaintances on your way to total independence.

And it's horribly sad when some don't make it to that fork in the road on their journey through life, because life has abandoned them. Not of their own volition, but due to matters beyond their control. Even if what they have chosen to do is partially responsible in that careless sense of being at one with life, of doing what you will, despite, or perhaps even in defiance of advice rejected.

So, early in the morning before day has completely dawned brightly, venturing your way along a highway very close to the home you live in with your family, preparing to get on the bus to take you to school, you're listening to music on your iPod, wearing the dark clothing that most teenage girls prefer, and there is nothing unusual about the day. At first.

In shouting distance of the brown brick bungalow in Cantley, Quebec where she lived with her parents, while walking along the highway, heading out to le CEGEP de l'Outaouais, Maryse Beaulne was swiped by a pick-up truck. Highway 307 that runs through Cantley is decribed as a busy, twisting road demanding a driver's full attention even when driving conditions are good.

According to Const. Martin Fournel of the MRC des Collines police, it was "pitch black" when Maryse was struck while crossing the highway when the northbound truck "clipped" her, throwing her into the oncoming lane. A witness described seeing the girl struggle to her feet and then being struck by a second vehicle heading in a southbound direction. The first vehicle stopped, the driver putting on emergency flashers to warn other vehicles; the second vehicle sped on.

"Obviously, she had severe injuries", said Const. Fournel. As it happened, off-duty police officers from MRC des Collines and Gatineau were close to the scene and among the first to arrive at the accident site. The girl was transported to Gatineau Hospital, then transferred to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa. Then she was pronounced dead at 9:10 a.m.

The intersection of the highway where Maryse Beaulne was fatally struck has a street light, but the visibility at that time was judged to be poor. The pick-up driver simply "couldn't see her", and will not be charged. "The driver saw that he hit something or somebody and pulled over right away", explained Const. Fournel.

And though he immediately turned on the orange flashing light on the roof of the company truck "Obviously, it was not quick enough", said Const. Fournel.

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