Yesterday, these pictures made me so happy.
Today, I can’t look at them without tears.
For anyone who has not heard, two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday while thousands of runners were still on the course, and thousands more were in the near vicinity cheering them on. So far I think there have been 3 confirmed deaths and over 100 reported injuries, many of them very, very serious.
Thank you to all who reached out to our family to see if we were ok yesterday amidst the chaos. I am so thankful to be able to say that we were safe away from the bombs and Owen was at home taking a nap when the blasts actually occurred. So thankful. Still, knowing that there were so many “If we hadn’t done X, we would have done Y”s that would have put us RIGHT THERE, RIGHT THEN, is harrowing. It’s totally surreal to see the video of the exact place where we watched a dear friend finish the marathon a few short years ago (and less than a block from my office) thick with smoke and covered in debris and bodies. And, of course, not everyone was as lucky as we were.
Marathon Monday is a holiday here in Massachusetts. It’s the unofficial start to spring. It’s the day when you walk down the street and everyone is a friend and neighbor. It’s the day when, no matter who you vote for or to whom you pray, you come out and clap and cheer and ring your cowbell for the amazing people participating in this historic event. If you are anything like me, tears stream down your face when you see those first wheelchairs whizzing past you. You are struck by the strength and power of the human body and spirit. Even if you are not running, no matter where on the route you watch, it feels like you are a part of a tradition so vast that you can’t help but be thankful to be a small part of it.
It is the innocence of carrying a red balloon around and reveling in the beauty of the season, the event, and love and pride for where you live.
Yesterday’s bombing shattered that innocence. At least for me. Owen has no idea what happened (and I will do my best to keep it that way), but it changed things for him, too.
The world that he is growing up in is so different from the one that I grew up in.
Social media has a strange effect on tragedy. On one hand, a friend commented on my Facebook page and told me to get Owen inside because of the bombs long before I ever turned on the tv to hear the awful news. If we HAD been downtown, that comment literally could have saved our lives. Or helped us get out of the city before all transportation was shut down. Or at least helped us answer questions of what just happened. On the other hand, constant information from Facebook and Twitter and news feeds so often means MISinformation. The many inaccurate things reported in the heat of the moments yesterday are both confusing and damaging to those seeking the truth. Horrible images circulated without permission that many of us can not get out of our heads. The way that tragedy unfolds with constant information updates (both true and untrue) is complicated and scary.
My heart is breaking for those who were downtown and were affected by the bombs. And also for those of us who feel violated by the way a tragedy like this, so close to home, changes everything about how we feel when we walk out our door.
Hug your loved ones extra close today and every day.