03.22.09

Beth’s Shooting

Posted in Excerpts at 01:39 pm by admin

Excerpt – Prologue – Beth’s Shooting

Beth and Matt Rohde

Beth and Matt Rohde

For the past fourteen years, I have relived the phone ringing in my kitchen in Minneapolis, and hearing the voice of my grown daughter, Beth, coming ever so softly over the line from Brazil. “Mommy, I’ve been shot.”  My daughter’s trauma, as it unfolded, became an uncanny metaphor for my own past.  Beth’s blood and pain, and the prevailing grace that marked the months of her healing, became the first seeds for writing this memoir of faith’s recovery.

            On the evening of Beth’s shooting, the air outside was clear and oppressively hot.  From a nearby construction site arose a steady cacophony of clanging hammers, along with a succession of fireworks, irregular and arrhythmic, like the first kernels of popping corn.  Beth and Carmem sat in a corner, practicing Portuguese. —

      A sharper, louder bang exploded outside-gunfire?  More fireworks?  Beth and Carmem went on with their language lesson. In the corner, the television droned to no one. .

       A second shot was fired just after the first.  As the noise broke, Beth cupped her hand to her mouth to capture eruptions of warm blood and sand. But the blood splattered through her fingers to stain the walls, the furniture, and the beautiful Persian rug.  The “sand” in Beth’s mouth was shattered tooth and bone from her jaw, and also from her ring finger, which had rested upon her smooth cheek, directly in the bullet’s path.

       It was a little after six in the evening in Minneapolis when my daughter called me.  Five thousand miles away, all I could do was pray-both in desperation for my daughter’s well-being and in utter gratitude for her life.  The margin was inches.  If Beth had been leaning forward a bit more-perhaps setting her cup upon the table, or distracted by something surprising on the television-she would have been gone.,,,

Graceann’s Comments:

       A frequently asked question is,”How is Beth doing?”  “What effect has this tragedy had on her life?

      Most people who know Beth and read this prologue will be shocked because they have never heard about this incidence.  Beth lost the bones in the upper ridge, under her nose and with it six teeth.  She has had a multitude of surgeries in the past years to build up bone in this area to hold dental transplants.  Today you cannot tell she has these implants.  But most important, Beth has never been “about her accident.”  She is not a victim and has gone on with life as if nothing ever happened.

      Beth graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and received her master’s degree in Jazz Studies from USC .She married Matt Rohde and they have two sons.  During this time she opened a School of music in Hermosa Beach California, Coast Music Conservatory( www.coastmusicconservatory.com ) , a very successful school that teaches voice, piano, guitar and many other instruments. In the meanwhile she has been the soloist for Les Brown and the Band of Renown.  Her Dad refers to this as her Doris Day’s gig as Miss Day was discovered by and sang for Les Brown.  The band now has moved to Branson, but Beth still sings with them when they perform on the West Coast.  Her husband, Matt is a well known pianist who has played with many celebrities, just to name a few; Jenifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Prince, Alanis Morrisette, Jane’s Addiction and many others.  At the present time Matt is an Associate Musical Director  for “American Idol.”

       I am so grateful that Beth is alive and making a real difference in her world.

17 Responses to “Beth’s Shooting”

  1. Eileen Peterson Says:

    I remember those days–I remember the shooting, and how it changed your daughter’s perspective forever. I didn’t know, however, the stories of how it affected you and your whole family, and I really appreciate hearing about it. Beth and I were not parents then, but it changed our perspective on the portrayal of guns and violence in the media. I couldn’t even watch a movie with a gun in it for awhile, and of course Beth couldn’t either, because now guns were “real” things that could kill and maim. Now that Beth and I are parents, we have even more reason to be concerned about the portrayal of violence in entertainment media, and we’ve talked about it a lot.

    Blessings, eileen

  2. Jeniffer Thompson Says:

    Grace – this story brought tears to my eyes – what a wonderfully inspiring story, reminding us just how precious each moment in our life really is and grateful we should be for each moment! I do have a question: where did the shots come from that shot her – I assume it was an accident – what happened?

  3. Graceann Deters Says:

    Jeniffer: It was a ramdom shooting. A young man high on drugs in another condomimium a block away, just started shooting. The first shot hit the condominium under where Beth was, it belonged to a judge. The second shot hit Beth and the third was never found. The young man was never prosecuted because he was the son of a politician.

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