Another marathon tale of tragedy has taken a feel-good turn as a couple severely wounded in the April 15 bombings has gotten engaged for Christmas, the Dig has learned.
Paul Norden, one of the Stoneham brothers who lost a leg in the terror attack, and his girlfriend, Jacqui Webb, who was also seriously injured, got engaged yesterday, just hours after Jacqui returned from a trip to France. Jacqui and her twin sister, Janel, were both on a “Boston Heroes” cruise down the Rhone River in France but the sisters left the emotional trip early.
Back in Stoneham, Paul Norden popped the question to Jacqui and they are now engaged. The news was posted on the brothers’ Facebook page by Liz Norden, the mother of Paul and his brother J.P., who also lost a leg in the blast.
“After three months of planning and having everything just perfect with help from both families, Paul asked Jacqui to marry him . . . in front of a wedding themed Christmas tree,” Liz Norden wrote. “I am pleased to announce to the world that Paul and Jacqui are engaged, and I wish them a lifetime of happiness. I will be so proud to see my son WALK down the aisle with the girl of his dreams.”
The couple were at the marathon together outside Forum when the second bomb exploded. Jacqui suffered severe leg injuries that have required several surgeries, as well as burns to her hands.
Jacqui and Janel Webb were among 100 marathon survivors and their families who took part in an emotional, 10-day “healing voyage” last week in France donated by Boston-based Vantage Travel. Another engagement occurred on board the ship when the Norden brothers’ friend, James Costello proposed to his girlfriend, Krista D’Agostino. Krista was James’ nurse at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center and treated him for the serious burns and wounds he suffered in the explosions.
In her post, Liz Norden detailed the emotional moments and uncertainty that her son had after he awoke from a coma six days after the attack.
“The first words he asked were ‘Where’s Jacqui and JP?’” she wrote. “Paul looked over at me and said ‘Mom, Jacqui isn’t going to want me with one leg.”
“I remember fighting back tears and feeling so awful for him and saying, ‘Paul are you kidding me?’” she continued. “As Janel walks into his hospital room, the first thing he said was ‘Janel, Jacqui isn’t going to want me with one leg.’ As a tear rolls down Janel’s cheek, she said, ‘Paul, Jacqui loves you with all her heart. She sent me over here to tell you that you better get moving. She wants to see you.”
And now they’re planning their wedding. Amazing stuff.