Your life is cruising along nicely. Things are in their place, and all has the appearance of normalcy. Finally, you can relax. You intend to lie down and read, or watch television, or just watch your wife fall asleep, and your kids are safely ensconced in their beds. All that hard work is paying off.

And then the phone rings. And life turns on a dime.

After the call is finished, you try to breathe, and think, and process. What do I do now? Who should I call? Where can we go for help? All good questions to be sure. You turn to your partner, if you happen to be fortunate enough to have one such as I do, look them in the eyes, then hold each other, collectively understanding that, no matter what, we‘ll get through this together.

My wife’s brother, Luc St Louis, had the misfortune to have a stroke last Thursday, and is now beginning the long road to recovery. At 48 years old, Luc is far too young to have suffered such a setback as this. A better brother-in-law I cannot imagine. He has been a rock in our lives, and in his parents’ lives. He has never asked for anything. We count ourselves lucky to know him.

I was struck, sitting there wondering just what role I had to act in this play, by those around us who were enduring their own events. We were in the ICU unit in Sudbury; there are plenty of seats, mostly occupied. There are bunches of families, huddling with each other as they try to cope. If you spend enough time in this room, you see that these groups change like the comings and goings of the tide. There’s wave after wave of people who are at various stages of their own plays. Perhaps, instead of an ebb and flow of tides, it’s more apt to describe it as continuous tsunamis, each one carrying in its wake a wave of despair.

As the weekend progressed, as we dealt with all the details of what was to come, something wonderful happened. The love and support Luc has always given his family, friends and students began to come back to him in bunches. A Facebook page called ‘Get Better Soon St. Louis’ was made, as a portal for his students and friends to not only get news about Luc, but to offer their own support as well. And what emerged was an outpouring of emotion and devotion for a man who is so obviously loved and respected. It is humbling.

While Luc’s road to recovery will certainly be a test of endurance, for him as well as his family, there is one certainty: the time he invested in being the best friend and teacher and brother and son he could be is going to reap a dividend that is a lesson to us all. If you give, you will surely receive.

Humanity is what’s happening here, in all its beauty and horror. We are the only species to gather in such a fashion. And we do so because we can, because we refuse to let random events control us. It is one of the truly unique things we do that helps us unite as one when necessary.

Luc…just know that you are not alone, that the sun will rise again, and your family and friends love you. And that’s a pretty good dividend by all accounts.

  1. macintosh98 says:

    I hope everything works out for you….keep us all posted!

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