The Tony-award winning actress Natasha Richardson was flown from Canada to New York City on Tuesday afternoon in serious condition with head injuries suffered the day before in a skiing accident north of Montreal, according to two people close to her family.
The people, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters, declined to describe Ms. Richardson’s condition before or during the flight, other than to say it was very serious and that her family was highly distressed.
Other reports describe Ms. Richardson as brain-dead and on life support.
Lighting a candle for hope:
I am thinking of Natasha Richardson tonight because our first daffodils bloomed today and because the first daffodils always remind me of the fragile distance between hope and despair. They were in bloom on the day that my precious nephew died, twenty years ago last weekend.
Ms. Richardson has led what many of us would view as a charmed life. She is the beautiful and talented daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson, the adored wife of Liam Neeson, the lovely mother of two sweet children. She is an acclaimed actress.
And yet, yesterday, despite all the gifts with which she has been blessed, she fell during a happy skiing lesson and may now be near death.
Lyne Lortie, a spokeswoman for the Mont Tremblant ski resort in the Laurentian Hills north of Montreal, said Ms. Richardson had fallen during a beginner’s lesson. She was not wearing a helmet at the time, she said.
"It was a normal fall; she didn’t hit anyone or anything," Ms. Lortie said. "She didn’t show any signs of injury; she was talking and she seemed all right."
As a precaution, when she left the slopes, Ms. Richardson was accompanied by a member of the resort’s ski patrol and her instructor, who then remained with her at a hotel.
When she started having headaches about an hour later, she was taken by ambulance to a hospital in Ste. Agathe, Quebec, about 20 minutes from the resort. Ms. Lortie said that Ms. Richardson was transferred to the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal later in the afternoon.
All of this despite wealth and, certainly, the best care such wealth could provide.
I posted a prayer for Ms. Richardson tonight on Open Thread, and Happy Texan posted this in response:
Every time I see a story like this, I am reminded that life is fragile and precious. And that it may change drastically (or end) at any moment.
There are so many people who have known that small sliver between this moment and the next.
I thought, tonight, of Christopher and Dana Reeve, and of that sliver of time between when Chris began his jump over the fence at the steeplechase in Virginia, and of the minute thereafter, when their lives were both turned upside down.
I thought of my Mom, who flew home to California with my Dad after he had received excellent news from his doctors in Texas. They spent the flight discussing their plans to go to my Dad’s 50th reunion at the Naval Academy and, perhaps, a 50th wedding anniversary with me and my brother and his family in Europe. They got in late, and didn’t call me (the family worry-wart) -- because of the time difference.
Two hours (or so, no one knows) later, my beloved Dad went into the bathroom, flicked on the light, and, in the nanosecond it takes for the signal to travel and the flourescence to burn, dropped dead from an aneurysm.
Life is fragile and precious.
There are so many things to be worried about tonight. There is so much hardship facing so many of us: economic hardship, worries about jobs and the future. Worries about tomorrow, and what it will bring.
Tonight, let us all hope that tomorrow, at least, brings life and love. Let us forget the worries about the economy and everything else just for a few minutes, and celebrate life and family and friends -- and the great gift it is to be here at Daily Kos, to be at home, wherever that home is, with family and friends, to have had this day. And, hopefully, to be blessed with another one.