Life takes sudden sharp turns


It has been an unsettled and worried evening in our home. Doubtless you have all heard about the dreadful bombing attack in Boston today; well, among those injured were Raymond’s younger brother, his wife, and their daughter, who had been spectators at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Both my brother- and sister-in-law had to undergo emergency surgery tonight, and there may be more surgeries ahead. This is a shocking, and very scary, thing.

It reminds one of how utterly unpredictable and how terribly fragile life is. Perhaps we should all think about that a little bit more than we usually do.

As a minister’s child, I learned at an early age about the sudden sharp and shocking turns that life can take. I think I’ve written here before how one never knew what a knock at the door of the Manse, or the telephone ringing there, might bring. Too often it was frightening news, or even tragedy. Sudden critical illness. A terrible accident, and life in the balance. Suicide. People’s lives changed forever, in the twinkling of an eye.

That’s why ministers are there: to help in those terrible and frightening situations. My father was very good at that.

A few minutes ago Raymond and I watched as a young surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, who had been on the job since 8 this morning and had operated on several of today’s victims – and was about to head back to work – answered reporters’ questions about today’s devastation. He spoke honestly and calmly, not trying to cover up how bad it was. Most importantly, though, you could tell he was a caring person who was supremely good at his job – at helping. He was doing his very best, and his best was clearly very good indeed. He just made you feel better about this terrible, terrible thing.

It is a comfort to know that there are people like that doctor to help in an awful time like today has been in Boston. And like my dad always was at awful times in our little community in Queensborough.

I suspect that that doctor, and my father, are and were always more keenly aware of how precious and fragile life is than the rest of us are. Maybe we should try to be a bit more like them.

And my friends – I hope you will remember Ron, Karen and Krystara Brassard in your prayers tonight.

27 thoughts on “Life takes sudden sharp turns

  1. Katherine,

    I am so sorry to hear how this tragedy has impacted your family.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all with a special prayer to Ron, Karen and Krystara.

    You did not mention Krystara. Is she OK? She must be very scared and upset.

    Warmest wishes for great medical care and lots of prayers.

    Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
    Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

    • Thank you so much, Jo-Ann. Krystara, as far as we know, had lacerations but is okay. Her parents suffered more serious injuries and are in two different hospitals. She is a very smart and very brave young woman, but she must surely be in shock. Our nephew, her cousin, a fair bit older, is, fortunately, there with her and Karen at the hospital where Karen is. We thank you for your prayers.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Of course our prayers are with and for Raymond and his family and also with all others affected by this terrible tragedy. May God see fit to Bless each with a quick recovery and Bless those that passed on and accept them into His Home.

  3. I have been thinking of you two since I saw Raymond’s Facebook post. It never occurred to me how wide the connections were–as Yannick was getting his hair cut yesterday, the barber, a long-time acquaintance, confided his brother-in-law, who Bruce knew as a teenager, was in the marathon. In addition to the injured and the family of those killed, I’m praying for calm and restraint as we learn more about what happened and why.

  4. We often forget that frightening events such as this one are anything more than just news items until we, or someone we know, are touched directly by them. Best wishes to your family members for a quick recovery from both the visible and emotional trauma.

    • Thank you so much, Brenda. They are recovering okay from the physical trauma (though Raymond’s brother has two more surgeries ahead in the next few days), but I can only imagine what lasting emotional trauma there will be for all who were at that terrible scene.

  5. I’ve never met Ron, Karen or Krystara, but I feel like I have. I would like them, and all others affected by this senseless act, to know that we care about them and wish them a speedy recovery. Life’s full of cruelty and sadness, but there’s also love, and it’s the greatest healing ointment. Bon courage, Katherine and Raymond.

  6. Dear Katherine & Raymond,
    I just saw your brother being interviewed on TV
    My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
    I’m in Ottawa but Chuck called me. I’m so sorry to learn of this terrible tragedy and my God be with you and all those hurt in Boston.

    • Thank you so much, Ruth. Ron, Karen and Krystara were very fortunate not to be injured more severely than they were. We are so thankful, but always remembering those who died and those who suffered much worse injury.

  7. Jos & I also send out prayers and concern to your family. We often wake up each day without ever thinking what the day will bring. May you have peace of mind and gods blessing while you wait for good news and full recovery of your loved ones. We feel sorrow for the people who’s families have lost there lives and limbs. Life will never be the same for them because of this. And let us all gather at this time and ask for forgiveness and strength to not become bitter in this senseless tragedy! God Bless Katherine & Raymond. ❤

    • Thank you, Marykay and Jos. You are so right: we never know what each day will bring – and so often we forget to be thankful when the day ends with all our loved ones safe. Ron, Karen and Krystara will be fine, though the road back to full health may take time and be bumpy for a while. What is so much harder is to think of the other victims – two of whom we know well; they are close friends of Ron and Karen – who have lost limbs, or worse. What a stupid, senseless act of violence. But you are right: we must not become bitter, because that accomplishes nothing. We can rise above this.

  8. Dear Katherine & Raymond, I just saw your brother
    being interviewed on TV My thoughts and prayers are with you both.
    I’m in Ottawa but Chuck called me. I’m so sorry to learn of this
    terrible tragedy and my God be with you and all those hurt in
    Boston. Ruth (x2)

  9. Dear Katherine,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your brother- and sister-in-law and their daughter. I hope they’re on the mend.

    We had a near miss at this end. One of my daughter’s closest friends was at the finish line watching her father finish the marathon just ten minutes before the explosions. She won’t discuss it all; it is tough to see this through the eyes of ten year old girl. My wife Denise and I were on the tarmac at Logan when the bombs were exploding. The DirectTV images that came up when we got airborne were horrific of course. The motives of the perpetrators are incomprehensible to me.


    • Thank you for your good wishes, Tom (and to the many others who have extended them). Raymond’s brother Ron is still in hospital (where he apparently received a visit today from Stevan Ridley and Rob Gronkowski of the Patriots!) but if all goes well should be able to go home in the next few days. He has to stay off his injured leg for several weeks in the interest of helping the skin graft that he underwent to take. He has also suffered some nerve damage that is being watched. Karen, his wife, is out of hospital but her injured leg is still healing and I think she is using a wheelchair. Their daughter, Krystara, is on crutches but her injuries were the lightest – the pieces of shrapnel did not penetrate deeply. All were extremely fortunate not to have been more seriously injured. And then there is, as with your daughter’s friend, the lasting injury of having to see and go through that inexplicable – as you rightly say – violence and horror. How life can change in the twinkling of an eye…

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