EDITOR – TODD LIHOU: Today has taught us we should hug our family and friends often

There’s an Internet meme that makes the rounds every now and then on Facebook, and suggests that you should hug your children, spouse, or parents as often as you can.

Life, it seems, can change in an instant – all you have to do is read the headlines today in Cornwall.

In a tragic case of getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, a woman in her 50s was trapped amidst the carnage of a two-vehicle collision on Brookdale Avenue at midday Friday.

The specific details are not yet known, but we can tell you the vehicles rocketed to the side of the road. The pickup truck involved in the accident, its front end smashed, came to a stop on the sidewalk.

The woman was found beneath one of the vehicles, clinging to life. She later died, police confirmed.

I’m reminded of another tragic story with similar circumstances. A few years ago a vehicle was backing out of a Second Street property and accidentally hit a pedestrian. The pedestrian, if memory serves, hit their head on the pavement during the incident and later died in hospital.

In both cases a seemingly innocent activity – like walking down the street – ended in tragedy.

We often think of people like paramedics, police officers, firefighters and others who deal with emergencies regularly as the type you might hug a little longer as they journey off to work.

But this latest tragedy in Cornwall shows that when we head out the door to go for a walk, grab some milk at the corner store or meet some friends we can never tell what is waiting for us around the corner.

Today it was a car accident that caught an unsuspecting woman who was just walking down the street.

And while our hearts undoubtedly go out to the woman who lost her life, we should remember that the tragedy extends to the drivers of those vehicles travelling on Brookdale Avenue. Police are still investigating the circumstances of this unfortunate calamity, but I think it’s fair to say that there will be weeks of sleepless nights in the homes of the people behind the wheel of those vehicles.

To make matters worse the news on this bleak Friday goes beyond municipal boundaries. We found out late today that Cornwall River Kings forward Alexandre Gauthier is fighting for his life in a Quebec hospital bed.

Gauthier was involved in a head-on collision while driving in Saint-Gédéon, Que. Word from the team is that he was severely injured and is in a coma. Photos of the accident scene, posted by a Saguenay-area radio station, show two vehicles that have been nearly obliterated.

Just hours ago both Gauthier, and that poor woman walking down Brookdale Avenue, hadn’t a care in the world. Now one of them is dead, and another might not survive.

Typically these kinds of stories happen in a vacuum. We read the headline, or take a passing glance at a story, and then move on to something else. These kinds of things don’t happen in Cornwall – and they certainly don’t happen to people connected with our region.

Sadly, today, that’s exactly what happened – twice.

So if we can learn anything from a day like today it is this…hug your children, spouse and parents as often as you can.

It’s painfully clear that tragedy can strike at a moment’s notice. We learned that today with painful conviction.

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