Friday, July 17, 2009

horror and disbelief in Montreal


Even the waiters could tell the couple were very much in love. They were friendly with the staff, but they really had eyes only for each other. It had been her 33rd birthday last Monday, and they had reserved a table at this Japanese Sushi Bar to celebrate (last night - Thursday). The restaurant was in the atrium of a hotel in mid Montreal (Peel St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., if you know Montreal), an area replete with high-end hotels, boutiques and restaurants. Happily immersed in each other one minute - and the next - a concrete slab from 17 stories above crashes through the glass atrium ceiling landing directly on the 33 year old woman, killing her instantly. Staff and other diners, were not sure if a bomb had gone off, but it sounded like an explosion. They ran to the back of the restaurant and were paralyzed with fear. Only the young husband's cries, of "My wife! My wife! Stay with me!", brought the people in the restaurant out of their stunned paralysis and to the aid of the husband lying beside his wife on the floor. All I will describe of the rest of the scene is that it was evident the woman was dead - and the man had lost some fingers on one hand. Either he was touching her arm or her hand at the time of the accident, or he reached out to try and pull her out of harm's way . . . . I can only try to imagine the agony he must have experienced. He was taken away by ambulance, striken - looking to the spot where his wife lay dead pinned under a slab of concrete. (Since writing this post this morning, it has been reported that the couple had originally sat at another table in the restaurant, but had seen the empty table by the window and asked to move. Sadly, they moved to the fated spot.)

The immensity, horror and sadness of such a random, freak accident have Montrealers in a stunned state of sympathy and disbelief today. Everyone's heart goes out to this young man now in the Montreal General Hospital - and, of course, to their families. (This man and any witnesses in the area would be prime candidates for EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy in a few weeks or months from now. I mention this because EMDR was the subject of my last post.)

This tragedy has cast a pall over our city and certainly over my mind. I think I felt rattled about it because I have children that age. In fact, my two daughters were meeting at a restaurant in Montreal last night . . . and it could just as easily have been them. On the flip side of the coin, this kind of tragedy pushes me to treasure every moment, every connection, every breath I have today, knowing that in the blink of an eye everything can change.

I will hold that young man in my heart, praying that his friends and family love and support him through difficult days ahead of physical and emotional healing.

Again, we try to comprehend the fragility of life. The random events that kill humans and their dreams. Sometimes it really does feel like one big cosmic joke. We have hopes and dreams, we make plans, we create a life, we create children, we try to do good . . . and still . . . we find ourselves ever at the mercy of an unmerciful, capricious turn of events. And still . . . we go on . . . doing our best to create a meaningful life . . . soaking up the moments of joy, love and beauty offered to us . . . . what else can we do? As Seneca said, "Sometimes even to live is an act of courage".

15 comments:

  1. I heard this morning on the radio. What were the odds? The whole incident is mind boggling.

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  2. My heart goes out to the young man and the families of both him and his lost wife. How tragic.

    Yes, I learned last year when I was diagnosed that you never take life for granted. It is fragile - enjoy every moment that you are fortunate enough to have.

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  3. I had heard this story this morning - very tragic and sad. Fate can be so cruel.

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

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  4. Oh my. What a tragedy. It reminds me once again to treasure every moment with my own loved ones.

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  5. Oh my! I feel terrible for him! Talk about random deaths... how tragic! We've had a couple of accidents like that in ALicante, a few years ago a balcony fell on a crowd watching a parade, you're always left wondering "how could such a thing happen?!"

    I just stopped by to thank you for stopping by and commenting (and for being my newest follower! yay!). And to say that yes, travelling in Spain in the summer can be quite an ordeal! Most Spaniards avoid it (unless it's to head up to the mountains or towards the coastal areas).

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  6. oh how horrible! so tragic!

    my heart goes out to the families and to your beautiful city.
    thanks for the reminder to cherish our loved ones and our time on this planet.

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  7. That is horrifying. If just reinforces that fact that all we really know that we have is the present moment. Which is why we should always appreciate the very moment we are in and what we can bring to it. God bless that poor man!

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  8. Oh dear Lord... I can't even imagine it. My heart goes out to him and their families. Life is never so precious as it is when we hear about random things like this.

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  9. How horrific...I have not heard this story and my heart goes out to the young man as well as their families.

    The best advice my Father gave me was to live every moment and live IN the moment. It can change in a blink...we just never know.

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  10. Wow, oh wow. Life can be so capricious.

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  11. "Doing our best to create a meaningful life..." Your words are hitting a chord today. My heart goes out to that young man. How utterly sad.

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  12. I was just reading about this in the Toronto Star ... the shock of how quickly life changes. I do know that area and something like this happening would never enter your mind...it confirms my belief that when our time is up, it is up. We never know how we will die we can only know how we will live (that sentence is a paraphrase of a quote I read once and this is an instance where it really has meaning).

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  13. Thank you for the comments Nancy and sallymandy.

    Sherry Lee: Appreciate your paraphrase " . . . we can't know how we will die, we can only know how we will live . . . ". So true.

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  14. I echo Urban Junkie's comments along with others here. It is horrific, and for years to come, the young man will keep questioning the senselessness of it.

    But with this post and the death of his wife, I wonder how many will be living their tomorrows with more care, a little more gratitude?

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