Someone died just a few feet away from us last night. There are things you can't prevent or control.

As a parent you spend most of your time negotiating fears of death or risk of injury to your loved ones. But last night I realized how little we can plan or control against random factors.
  1. I took my beauties for supper Friday night
    Fried chicken sammies
  2. A new tiny restaurant right on the park
    It felt like a magic spot from a dream had opened up just for us.
  3. My boy wanted to have a picnic on the grass. I was in a dress and wanted to sit at a table.
  4. I promised we could play on the park after we ate.
  5. While the first picture was being taken, as we finished our supper, a few feet away there was a loud crack.
  6. Some minutes later we said goodbye to the owner and walked deeper Into the park to play a family game of pétanque
    Like bocce but French
  7. And saw a massive group of people gathered. At first we thought it was a hipster happening. Friday nights, esp in the past few years, young hipsters with tall cans gather around to slack line or DJ or picnic in the middle of circles of bikes resting on their sides.
  8. And then we heard an ambulance. It stopped at the gathering. A young punk-attired couple walking past told me there had been someone climbing a tree and the branch broke. That a person had been doing chest compressions and then stopped. Blonde girls with tennis racquets said someone had just been walking their bike and a branch fell on him
  9. (Photo: Canada day, just ahead of that fateful spot. 5 years ago.)
  10. I left our game and walked closer. The ambulance was still there. Not a good sign when the ambulance stays. I saw a fallen branch — not that huge except it had fallen from so high. It had been windy on Thursday but Friday was so still and hot. No climbing daredevils or gusts of wind. It had simply been, scientifically, that branch's time to fall.
    It had not been, scientifically or deservedly, that man's time to die. But he did. And that moment and his fate had been tied up in windstorms and nesting animals and a thousand other factors and decisions that were invisible to him.
  11. I was so glad my boy was still back by the playground because then I saw a body. Covered in an orange blanket. Not a large person, this form, but so still.
  12. There was a bike trapped under the branch. I know that spot. have sat right there before. On mat leave with my baby on a blanket. Eating supper on a summer night. When this happened We had been just feet away. Eating our meal on the patio because I'd worn a dress that day.
  13. (Same spot on 9 years ago. Picnic w friends and babies)
    Tickling his feet with dandelions
  14. A paramedic was in tears, face red, trying to hold it in. I looked around and faces were stunned. Just a small field away people were still playing and drinking and laughing.
  15. I later heard a French man and his wife had been sitting under the tree, having a picnic. When the branch broke he moved to protect her.
  16. I also found out she had been screaming "I am pregnant!" As they tried to resuscitate her partner.
  17. I did not tell my son that part.
  18. Because I told him it's important to know that no matter how careful you are, random and tragic things can still happen. That there is nothing you can prepare for or learn from this sad moment. But they are also really, really rare so don't fear them either. Just remember to tell people you love them. And to cherish your life.
  19. But I'll keep the extra the sad part I learned to myself.
  20. Does everything have to be a teachable moment?
  21. (G's favourite tree just behind where it happened)
    A lovely low branch that creaked and swayed hypnotically, since removed by officials