As I sit and write this post about what happened in my city yesterday, it continues to resonate in my mind that life is simply a series of consequences and the tiniest decisions can change your life in a heartbeat. I was supposed to be at the site of bomb #1 and bomb #2 yesterday. My plans changed when I took my eleven year old cousin along with me and I stopped for frozen yogurt. We were delayed getting to the finish line. I do not believe that this is a unique thing- I am sure that countless others have similar stories. But the fragility of life is profound and my heart breaks for those whose lives have been taken, unspeakably altered, and irrevocably changed.
Marathon Monday is sacred here and for many, like myself, attendance is a tradition. I had a friend volunteering at the finish line and the sheer terror of not being able to reach her for over half an hour is not something I will forget anytime soon. Friends and family members who knew where I was supposed to be were frantically calling, texting, emailing, facebook messaging, and I am feeling shaken how easily I could have been there. However, I am trying not to dwell on what COULD have been as I try to process what WAS and still is- on every news outlet, on the internet, and now, in giant waves of solidarity through social media, etc. Boston is the birthplace of the United States of America and the compassion, kindess, love and support I have witnessed both in the city and to those immediately around us, across the country and even the world gives me hope that good truly does outweigh the bad. In times of such darkness, the light must shine the brightest.
I woke up this morning with a sense of loss, but incredibly thankful. The images of yesterday are emblazoned on my mind. Boston has changed. After 9/11, I think many of us probably knew something like this could happen, but there is NOTHING that prepares you for something like this hitting your home. Nothing. I walk Boylston Street on nearly a daily basis and right now I am trying to cope. When the image of the bloody sidewalk comes into my head, I focus on reports of marathoners who had just run 26.2 miles continuing to run to Mass General Hospital to donate Blood. When I see pictures of the crowds fleeing, I think of the doctors, police, and volunteers that ran TOWARDS the scene, with no thought to their own safety. When I hear of the many many people with nowhere to go, I think of the spreadsheet on the Boston Globe website and eventually Google, with thousands of people offering up their homes to runners and their families. I have heard of restaurants giving out free food, hotels opening their doors for free, and other immeasurable acts of kindness. Everywhere I look, I see hope that the good in humanity prevails.
In the coming days it is important to focus not on the monsters who did this. That is the job of the FBI and other authorities who are working around the clock to bring us answers and justice. We must instead rally around each other and begin to process and heal as we offer support and kindness to those who need it. And we must do our best not to be afraid- bombs were not the only weapons deployed yesterday, for it is fear that reverberates long after the bombs explode. In this, we cannot let the perpetrators win. The many people pledging to run Boston next year know this and deep down, so do I.
My heart lies with the victims and their families, but also with those who witnessed firsthand these unspeakable atrocities- so many lives were irreversibly altered when those bombs went off. Right now we all want answers, but that does not change the reality of what has happened. Truly, is there any rational, sane answer for an act of madness and evil? I love you Boston. You’re my home, sweet home. And to those of you sending love, light and countless messages of hope and healing- thank you. It means more than you know.