Making Sense from Senseless.

April 16, 2013 at 10:15 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Heartbreak | 9 Comments

Lucky and I came out of family swim time, him chattering away about swimming and how high he could jump; how well he swam all by himself yesterday. I helped him into his carseat, handed him his juice and snack, and casually checked my phone as I walked around to the driver’s side of the car.

Four texts, two calls, and a voicemail. And a CNN alert.

The texts: “Where are you?”

“You’re not running Boston today, are you?”

“Been watching the coverage and now 2 confirmed dead & 22 injured. Is everyone you know safe? My god!”

The panic I felt for my all my running friends, in that moment, was overwhelming. I couldn’t get Charlie on the phone. My running friend Jen, the one who was tracking the progress of so many, wasn’t answering her phone either. My MIL picked up the phone, but she didn’t have anything in the way of comfort to offer me. My SIL told me the details of what happened – the time and facts.

And when I was in between calls, Lucky requested, “Mommy, please tell me what happened.”

In the moment, I told him that there had been two explosions at a race – the race we watched that morning. That the explosion was something called a bomb, and it had hurt a lot of people – even killed some people. And that I was really worried for all my friends who were running in that race, and I didn’t know if they were okay.

I didn’t really think. I just reacted.

And over the next few hours, when I was on Facebook and my running board, breathing deeply with relief as all of my friends checked in and reported they were safe, I answered question after question from my son about what happened. He requested to see pictures of the bomb, and I showed him as much as I felt comfortable with.

Which, in retrospect, was too much.

At dinner last night, we focused on the helpers, like Mr. Rogers said. We talked about how amazing it was that people ran towards the smoke and pulled down the barricades to help people that were hurt. We talked about how Bear was GREAT at finding bombs and would help everyone he saw. We talked about how the police and the FBI have people who are called bomb technicians who are so smart that they know how to make sure that bombs don’t go off.

And he went to sleep just fine and slept through the night.

Charlie and I, however, did not.

It’s impossible to make sense out of something so senseless. I can’t even try.

This one hit so close to home, to my heart and soul, that I can’t breathe.

I am a runner.

And the people that were killed, injured yesterday? Were the SUPPORT for every runner out there. I wouldn’t have made it to the start of my own marathon if it weren’t for Charlie, my friends, my family.

And my son and husband could have easily been there; been part of the crowds cheering me onto the finish… been part of the chaos and terror inflicted yesterday.

They HAVE been part of my races. They were there when I ran my first half marathon; where Lucky drank my water after the finish.

They were there when I ran the Marine Corps Marathon; where, right after Charlie took his picture, Lucky stole my medal and wore it himself.

The fear, for me, is all consuming today. And I know, I KNOW, that this is the very definition of terrorism. Because, really – the term “terrorism” comes from Latin: ‘terror’, “great fear”, “dread”, related to the Latin verb terrere, “to frighten.”

Dread. Fear.


The only thing that makes sense, for me, today, is to see my son and husband home, safely.

And then go for a run. A run where I can honor not only all the people in my life who have been my support system, the very foundation in my life, but also the others: the parents, the children, the brothers and sisters, the friends – everyone who was affected by yesterday’s events.

And maybe then I can start to make sense of it all.



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  1. xo

  2. I am struggling to wrap my brain, really wrap my brain around the fact that THIS is the world we live in. A world where spectators and competitors can’t cheer or compete without fear. A world where children can’t go to school to learn and always be protected. A world where commuters can’t board a train for work without wondering if THIS will be the day. A world where planes fly into sky scrapers forever changing the landscape of thousands of lives. A world where, when explosions happen we no longer think gas leak but terrorism and we are right.

    I know, Know, KNOW that fear cannot win, but that is so much harder to do when one is parenting young children. It’s not just that they can’t walk or ride their bikes to school anymore. It’s not just that evil may lurk inside an ice cream truck. It’s not just that their school could become a war zone at the hands of a crazy gunman. It’s that none of us can easily move about our lives any more without wondering, what if.

  3. There was a comment last night about the Boston Marathon being the only “un-secured” major sports event left, and I hope that this doesn’t change it. Because making it a public event is so, so important for us. And if we can never be safe, we at least need to be able to hold on to each other.

  4. xoxo

    I have been thinking non-stop about you ever since it happened.

  5. It makes no sense. There’s just no way to make sense of it. I think that’s why the FBI is having a hard time figuring out who did it – who the hell would target a marathon? Why? As I watched the news yesterday, I just kept thinking, people worked SO HARD for this day. Why ruin something that’s supposed to be such an accomplishment for so many people? I just don’t know.

    I love those pictures, though. He looks so little!

  6. I don’t know if there’s any way to make sense of something like this. It’s just so sad and terrible. 😦 I’m glad you and your family are okay and weren’t anywhere near the event.

  7. Running is the perfect way to cope with this. It eases the stress, honors the victims, and makes you strong. It was what saved me on 9/11 and what helped me survive the months that followed. I ran because I couldn’t breathe if I didn’t. The stress was crippling otherwise.

    As parents, our fear for our kids can be overwhelming. Whatever we can do to ease it, we must. I remember thinking that every person I heard from that awful day was one more victory for hope.

  8. The same things went through my mind- my mom, husband and daughter have met me at many a finish line over the years. It never, ever occurred to me that being there might be dangerous. So awful…

  9. I’m so glad that the Mister Rogers quote has been circulating in the aftermath of the bombing. It’s such an important concept, one I’d never heard before but certainly hope to share with my daughter someday. Sadly, in this world we live in, I know there will be many opportunities.

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