We are home – we are safe – but we will never be quite the same again. My head and my heart have been all over the place since Monday at 2:50pm.
I’ve run the full range of emotions, from the top all the way down to the bottom. I’ve been scared. Well, terrified actually. I’ve been sad. Well, heartbroken actually. I’ve been relieved. I’ve been guilty. I’ve been angry. So very angry. I’ve been peaceful. I’ve been distraught. I’ve finally settled on “resolved”. Resolved to never forget; to hold onto the beautiful times and memories of the day right there along with the painful, heartbreaking ones, but to not be afraid anymore. To not let them win.
I don’t want to get into too much detail about what happened on Monday. We were walking along Boylston Avenue when the explosions went off. We were about 100 metres from the first blast, and maybe a little less than 100 metres from the second. We were caught right in the middle. When I close my eyes I can still see the smoke, the terror on people’s faces, the chaos that went on. But the sounds are what seem to be the most permanently burned into my brain. If you have ever been anywhere near a bomb when it went off (and I pray to God that you haven’t), tell me, does that sound ever really leave you? Can you ever hear loud noises again without a shockwave of terror going through your body? I’m hoping that eventually, the answer will be yes.
Thanks to the cool head of Matt’s mom Dianne (I would have withered into a puddle right there on the sidewalk without her!), we made it out of the downtown core unscathed. We weren’t able to connect with our runners until about 2 hours later at the hotel, but we later learned that this was because they were waiting to meet up with us about one block further on at the meeting point that we had assigned before the race started. That was a long two hours. Everyone was okay, both Matt and his Dad (and his brother Neil who was guiding his Dad through the race) finished the race, got their medals and ended up walking about 5 kilometres back to our hotel in soaking wet tank tops and shorts after just running the Boston Marathon. I should add that prior to all of this, Matt absolutely crushed his Personal Best of 3:03 with a blistering time of 2:57, and Roy avenged his previous Boston experience and ran the ENTIRE way up Heartbreak Hill to finish in just under 4 hours. We are so very proud of them.
At a time when it would be really easy to say “there is so much evil in our world, what is happening to us?” I think of it a little bit differently. On a street where over one hundred thousand people had passed that day, there were only two evil ones. Two.
There were thousands of first responders who when everyone else was running for their lives, were running as fast as they could straight into the heart of the danger to pull fences off of people, to rip their own shirts off their backs and make bandages, to stop the bleeding with their bare hands. Maybe even just to hold people’s hands, look them in the eyes and tell them that they were going to be okay until help could arrive, even if it wasn’t true.
There isn’t “so much evil” in our world. There is so much good in our world.
For the very few evil ones – you don’t need to wish them any pain or suffering. They live in a world of nothing but pain and suffering already. They have never known and will never know what it is like to love, or to be loved in return. To have someone laugh at their jokes, to hold someone’s hand, or laugh from their bellies. They have probably never received a hug from anyone in their entire life. Their souls are black, tarnished, and incapable of love and happiness. And that is the worst pain that anyone could ever endure. Much worse than anything that a crudely made bomb could inflict.
Love is stronger than hate. And it always will be. And that means that the evil ones lose. No matter how many people they terrorize, no matter how many innocent lives are lost, beautiful families ripped apart, they still lose. For every two evil souls on a crowded street, there are one hundred thousand good ones. For every act of hate, there are one hundred thousand acts of love and kindness.
I choose right now to let go of anger and spite and bitterness. I choose instead to love. And in doing so, I feel that we have won.