Boston Marathon and Family Time

I was about due for a family update here, of sorts.  Just didn’t think this would be the scenario I would be writing about.  I just returned from visiting with my folks in South Carolina this past weekend, which was the same weekend the Master’s was held. (First of four golf majors for you non-golf folks)

I hadn’t planned on being there  this soon but sometimes things just override your original plans.  I had it on my mind to fly out and visit my parents this summer but when Dad had a slight stroke a couple of weeks ago, I felt prompted to go visit sooner than later.  In fact, I suggested to my two brothers, Steve and John, that maybe we were due for another get-together for this annual golf tournament our whole family loves to watch.

Steve, who actually lives just down the road from my folks, welcomed the idea of John and I being there for that weekend as he had already committed to running in this year’s Boston Marathon which he qualified for this past spring.  So I made arrangements to fly out last Friday and just by ‘chance’ John’s work had him up in the same area for that weekend.  (John lives in Birmingham, AL)  So it was great for all three of us boys to have a nice dinner with Mom and Dad before Steve flew out the next morning with his wife, Mary, to Boston.

It really was such a special time to be with family for the extended weekend.  Dad had Chex Mix waiting for John and I to devour. Mom made sure we lacked for nothing and we just so enjoyed watching the golf tournament and sharing laughs the whole time we were there.

John had to head out late Sunday and my flight was scheduled to leave the following day, late in the afternoon.  We had been keeping up with Steve’s progress in the race on Monday as Mary sent text messages with his times at various locations.

People always seem to remember what they were doing at the moment there is a ‘national tragedy’ and I for one, will never forget the sequence of events that unfolded on that fateful day as the bombs went off in downtown Boston.

I was sitting on the couch, packed, and had about 45 minutes to kill before heading out to the airport.  We flipped the news on at 3 (ET) and saw the very first reports of some chaos at the finish line in Boston.  It was confusing  at first and yet, very alarming at the same time.  Steve had been finished his run about 35-40 minutes earlier and we were uncertain as to his whereabouts.

Initial news reports were describing the bloody scene there and probable deaths amidst the pandemonium.   At 3:05, I sent a text to both Steve and Mary telling them what I was seeing on the news and we stayed glued to the TV for the next 45 minutes, simply aghast, as so many around the country were as well.   Within the next ten minutes, we received word that Steve and Mary were safe…back in their hotel room  just a few blocks from where the bombs went off.  They had heard the blasts and then the ensuing sirens but like so many there, were not quite sure what was happening until they got back to their room and turned on their TV.

Needless to say, we were all relieved to know they were safe, yet horribly sad for the tragedy that had befallen so many innocent people still down at the finish line.

Now it was time for me to make my way to the airport to catch my flight.  I had the most precious time of prayer with my mom and dad before leaving.  We expressed our thanks for Steve and Mary’s safety, asking for mercies upon the injured…and then just a warm-hearted and tearful embrace as we said our goodbyes.

At this stage of life, every time I say goodbye to my folks, and especially my dad, who is 86 and ailing, you just never know if/when you’ll see each other again.  But I have to say this last minute, ‘unplanned’ visit with them was a gift.  And I’m feeling even so much more thankful for my family today.

Life can be so frail and unpredictable.  And I was once again reminded this past weekend, that it sure is temporal.

Posting just a few shots I got this weekend…with my iPhone, of all things. 🙂